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Archive for June, 2019

Poetry Friday round-up is with Buffy.

Divination drawing pairs improvisational drawing with rationalized writing as a method of discovering layered meanings in thoughts.

John F. Simon
3/12/18 Divination Drawing by John F. Simon

Divination

He fell in love with
the smooth flow
of a pencil
drawing beauty
in lines
becoming shapes
becoming a feminine body
on a 3×5 card.

I fell in love, too.
Her face 
my child Self,
that tender one I lost
and seek to touch again.
I hold her in my hand
like a shell
from an endless shore.

She knows how to love me.
I am slowly learning
how to be loved.

(draft) Margaret Simon, June 22, 2019
ekphrasis on drawings by John F. Simon

I wrote this poem at a writing workshop around John F. Simon’s art show at the Hilliard Museum. The first line was borrowed from Barbara Crooker’s ekphrastic poem on Van Gogh’s Field with Wheat Stacks published on The Writer’s Almanac on June 22, 2019.

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See more posts at Two Writing Teachers Slice of Life
Sculpture by John F. Simon, “Moment of Release”

The empty calendar of my summer has filled up leaving less time for writing. The cure for not getting exercise is to sign up for a class. So the cure for my lack of time to write was to sign up for a class.

At a local museum, The Hilliard, my friend Clare was offering a 3 hour writing workshop. I know from experience with Clare that she offers lots of empty space for real writing. We discussed our writing practices and our familiarity with ekphrastic writing (writing to an image). Then she sent us into the museum to the show of John F. Simon’s work.

I was immediately drawn to the piece in the photo above. It’s large, probably 5-6 feet across by 3-4 feet in width. The title of the work is Moment of Release. I love how the title really doesn’t dictate the interpretation. I gave in to this freedom to explore and released a poem.

Moment of Release

This collection
of energy
stored and sealed
into a protective sheaf
will one day open
the well
spilling contents
of a life–
rain it down
like a delta flood
releasing
to a renewable
Source.

Margaret Simon, (c) 2019

My advice to you is don’t wait for a workshop. Grab a writing buddy and head out to the nearest museum or gallery. If you take pictures, ask permission first. Gather words, images, sounds on the page to transform into a poem or prose. The poem I shared is only one of four I wrote in the hour we were given. I plan to give myself permission to take another artist date this summer. What about you?

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Poetry Friday round-up is with Linda at A Word Edgewise.

We’ve been watching our wood duck nest box for months. The first clutch did not hatch. Overcoming our disappointment, we set out new wood shavings and hoped for the best. By and by, another wood duck hen came in and laid 18 or so eggs. (Maybe it was two hens?) Nevertheless, we watched again. She seemed to be doing it all right, turning the eggs, covering them in down before leaving to feed, and sitting, sitting, sitting.

Yesterday morning my husband texted and said, “Look in the house.” (I am away from home this week.) When I looked at the video on my phone sent from the camera in the nesting box, I saw three dark blobs. At first I was afraid they were dead, but eventually realized that hatching is hard work, so they lay still.

We are both proud parents of 12 wood ducklings. Today was Jump Day. At 7:30 AM, Momma went out and called her babies. They climbed the wire mesh my husband had nailed into the wall nearest the hole. One by one they reached the hole and jumped out.

A poem will come, I’m sure. Yesterday, Laura Purdie Salas posted her 15 Words or Less image and I wrote this little ditty.

Ripple Effect

One egg hatches
then another.
Soon the whole nest
is chattering.

Margaret Simon, draft, 2019

Jump Day! Photo by Danny Womack

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Poetry Friday round-up is with Laura Shovan.

Lucretius just presents this marvelous and important idea that what we are made of will make something else, which to me is very important. There is no nothingness — with these little atoms that run around too little for us to see. But, put together, they make something. And that to me is a miracle. Where it came from, I don’t know. But it’s a miracle, and I think it’s enough to keep a person afloat.

Mary Oliver in an interview with Krista Tippet of On Being.

I was listening to On Being with Krista Tippet, an old podcast of an interview with Mary Oliver from 2015. The episode repeated the week of Mary Oliver’s death in January of this year. Listening to Mary Oliver makes me feel I am in the presence of a wise yogi.

The practice of writing poetry, I am learning, is an exercise in mindfulness. To be open to the universe of words and to put them down on a page is a gift. Then there is the renewing of the words as you revise, reorder, read aloud to a writing group, and go at it all again.

This poem came from all this listening and doing the work of the morning.

Residing

If we could make of everything
a sacred movement–

Digging in the deep mud
watching the earthworm squirm.

Painting on of pale eyeshadow,
touching my face with gentleness.

The cat is purring a prayer.

Wind chimes are ringing a hymn,

And here I am,
lifting my coffee mug to my lips

Even the cicadas are laughing.

Margaret Simon, draft 2019
Image by Ravi Kant

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Poetry Friday round-up is with Michelle Kogan

Water Breaks

Floods begin as a drop,
rain from upstream flowing–
overflowing–Breaks.
No control over Water’s
strength or where it wants to go.

Knock out soggy walls,
Strip muddy carpet,
Dig through disaster.
Survive.
Stronger.
Healthier.
Build again.

At birth, water breaks,
baptizes an infant wrapped
in woven cloth.
Mother bathes her son
in warm water, rubs his clean skin.

Tears break as a single drop
washing my face,
bathing me in warm water,
where he kisses me,
says, “I love you.”
This is all I need.

Margaret Simon, draft 2019

On Tuesday, I attended a mini writer’s retreat at the Teche Center for the Arts. Clare led us through brainstorming a list of water words. Then we circled ones that stood out to us or told a story. I wrote this poem draft. It’s still a work in progress. I wonder if it contains too much.

In 1979, my childhood home flooded. I was a senior in high school with so much more on my mind than loss and rebuilding. My mother was the stronghold. She handled an amazing amount of mess and muck and insurance claims. There is a story, a bigger story than this poem could contain. After 40 years, that disaster still influences me. Maybe it’s finally time to write about it.

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See more Spiritual Thursday posts with
Ramona at Pleasures from the Page.

Today, Spiritual Journey First Thursday is celebrating connections at Ramona’s site, Pleasures from the Page.

Tuesday was a tough day. I sang in the choir for a good friend’s funeral, gone way too soon after a brave battle with breast cancer. As I was talking to her best friend, the friend who had been by her side and the friend who kept me updated, I mentioned that I had sung in a community choir with the soloist. Juliet said, “My mother sang in that choir. Her name was JoEllen.”

I lost it. Tears flowed. I held onto Juliet. I had known her mother.

Connections are multi-faceted. You may connect to someone once or over a period of time. JoEllen and I sat next to each other in the community choir every fall for a few years. Once we went to a musical concert together, but we rarely got together outside of choir rehearsals. One December, she stopped coming to rehearsal. Someone said she lost her voice. It wasn’t until later that I found out that JoEllen was sick with cancer. I never saw her again.

And here was Juliet, someone I had connected with over a mutual friend’s illness. After we took a long hug, I told her, “I don’t want to lose touch.” We both loved our friend Amy. We both loved her mother JoEllen. Now we needed each other. Connections are essential, magical, and meaningful. May we all find meaningful, loving, and God-filled connections. Peace!

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