Archive for April, 2019

After yesterday’s wood duck egg disappointment, I have a hopeful life-filled poem today in response to what happened this morning in our classroom.  I decided to try a Sedoka form.  Matt Forrest Esenwine shared one on Friday and linked to this resource. 

I looked up monarch information on this site and found two wonderful vocabulary words, eclose (emerge as an adult from the pupa stage) and hemolymph (a fluid like blood in most invertebrates).


From a chrysalis
monarch wings eclose
pump hemolymph of color

Watching miracles
with the wonder of a child
classroom butterfly garden

–Margaret Simon



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See more posts at Two Writing Teachers Slice of Life

If you’ve been following our wood duck house, there is sad news.  None of the eggs hatched.  After nearly 40 days, we thought it was time to give up, even though the hen was still sitting on them.  What do you do with such a life lesson?  Write a poem about it.

Nature can be a cruel teacher.
Eggs in a nest box,
how a silly duck hen

will sit for days and days.
Could she smell the rotting?
Did she see the gray shadow growing

cold? Some days nature is so violent
whole trees fall.  They block the road.
They tell us we don’t belong.

Why on earth are we all here?
When birth is so random,
so dependent on the stars

sprinkling miracle dust,
declaring life.
Not today.  When we take the eggs

out of the box, I forget to count.
Toss them into the water,
an afternoon snack for an evil snake

grabbing anything it can for survival.
Survival is not for everything
God makes. Some days

you just have to clean out the box,
add new shavings in,
Begin again.

— Margaret Simon, draft, 2019




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NPM19 Day 22 Earth Day

Over the weekend I bought a new magnetic poetry kit, The Edgar Allan Poe version. Lots of words spread out on a cookie sheet. I created an Earth Day haiku.

A discovery walk near our hotel led to a path along Purple Creek, the very creek that ran behind my childhood home. Along the shore were two Canada Geese with 5 little goslings, an Easter morning miracle.

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In January I taught a workshop about combining poetry and art with Marla Kristicevich at the Acadiana Center for the Arts. This week Marla posted on Facebook her installation for an art show for PACE artists.  She explained that she gathered material around the Bayou Teche.  Her inspiration for the piece combined the nostalgia for place as well as meditation on nature in art.  The image does not show the scale of the work.  Imagine the height of the walls are the size of a person. Today I’m sharing an ekphrastic poem, a poem inspired by art.  You can see the exhibit at the ACA through June 8th.

Nest by Marla Kristicevich


An Invitation

Come into my nest.
Enter on a woven path.
Stop for a sip of living water.

Leave nothing
Just pause,

Then move on
so someone else
can move in.

–Margaret Simon (draft) 2019


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Poetry Friday round-up is with Amy at The Poem Farm.

Part of playing with poetry is finding poetry everywhere in every way.  I was reading The Writer’s Almanac on Eudora Welty’s birthday, April 13th.  In the article, there was a list of the seasonal flowers that bloom in Eudora’s garden that was diligently tended by her mother, Chestina.  I collected the flower names and crafted a poem around them.


Photo from Calla Lily Dialogues

Walking in Eudora’s Garden

For Eudora Welty, 1909-2001

The optimist’s daughter steps into a garden
of larkspur, writes stories among hollyhocks,
gathers courage from snapdragons.

When summer comes, she celebrates phlox
and zinnias and blue salvia.
Even in autumn, her garden blooms

with asters and chrysanthemums–
a name that rolls from her southern drawl
like creamy froth on café au lait.

Her garden never dies. Winters charm
with camellias and pansies.
The sounds of birds rejoice all year long.

–Margaret Simon (draft) 2019

Author’s note: I grew up in Jackson, MS during Eudora Welty’s lifetime. I once heard her read and was given the opportunity to interview her for a high school project.  She was an elegant, kind woman.

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Happy Poem in your Pocket Day!  I am staying close to home today as huge storms are expected, so I will celebrate quietly this year.  I usually carry with me two favorite poems, Kindness by Naomi Shihab Nye and Wild Geese by Mary Oliver.

Yesterday I settled into a corner at Fair Grinds coffee in Mid City New Orleans with a vanilla latte and my journal.  Christie Wyman is playing along with poetry this month.  She’d noticed that I often label my poems with the word “draft” and a friend of hers thought that made the poem seem alive.  Working with a stolen line, some paint chips, and that alive poem draft idea, I wrote this draft.

A Draft

Poems are alive
lapping at the sandy shore*
of my notebook.
Splashing in the waves
of hot sauce
sprinkled on my furious fingers.

Out of quarry depths
a draft

–Margaret Simon (draft) 2019

*line from Christie Wyman


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My friend Dani Burtsfield teaches kindergarten in Montana. She asked me how she could use the paint chips with her little ones.  I suggested a color poem.  The idea is simple.  Each line begins with the color name.  This is a way for young students to learn about metaphor in a concrete way.  I wrote a poem for her to use as a model for her students.  The pattern is Green is ______ followed by an action.


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