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Archive for October, 2020

Poetry Friday round-up is with Bridget at wee words for wee ones.

Pablo Neruda was the master at writing odes, skinny poems of praise that would go on and on, metaphor after metaphor, describing the most ordinary thing. With my student Chloe, we read Neruda’s Ode to My Socks. We discussed metaphor. Then I asked her to write a skinny ode about something she cares about. Gymnastics came to mind right away. She made the connection between the uneven bars and a tree, and off she went.

Ode to the Uneven Bars

A high twig
it holds me. I’m
a feather. 
Cartwheels
on air
that bring
me higher,
my hands
are explorers
that discovered
a path
to the
wonderful
world of
magic.

I hold up
my invisible
hands
that reach
from island
to island.
My hands
are telescopes
that help me
see the world.
My arms 
wrapping
around trees,
my hands
out of
control
going everywhere.
Suddenly
they fly
high,
higher than
the trees
that wait
for me.

Chloe, 5th grade
2018 Summer Youth Olympics
Sandro Halank, Wikimedia Commons, CC BY-SA 4.0

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When we write poems to a photo, we enter a process of collaboration. A meeting between the photographer and the poet, the image and the words. In collaboration, one can have a conversation, an inquiry, or a conviction. Do your beliefs about the world come through in your poems? Are you communicating or responding? Are you participating or letting the muse take control?

I invite you to reflect on your process today as you write. Leave a small poem in the comments as well as a reflection of your thoughts. 

photograph by Molly Hogan

Perspective

The tracks rise to a point
on the horizon
disappearing into a mist.

We know
beyond the page,
the path goes on
and on.

Margaret Simon, draft

My reflection: Perspective is something an artist has to learn. If you draw two parallel lines, they must converge to give the impression of a continuing road. Our horizon line is not a finite place. The earth is round. When I think about this in a spiritual, metaphorical sense, I think of our own path through life. There is a mirage of an end, but there is always another turn to make.

Note to my readers: We are in the path of Hurricane Delta. School has been cancelled for today and tomorrow. We are preparing. We have a strong house (and a friendly generator named Sparky). I appreciate your thoughts and prayers.

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Poetry Friday round-up is with Tabatha at The Opposite of Indifference

I have become enamored of the duplex poetry form, a modern take on a ghazal + sonnet + blues poem invented by Jericho Brown, the Pulitzer Prize Poetry Winner for 2020. I’ve read the description in this article over and over, and every time I see something new. In other words, it’s complicated.

Here are the boundaries:

Write a ghazal that is also a sonnet that is also a blues poem of 14 lines, giving each line 9 to 11 syllables.

The first line is echoed in the last line.

The second line of the poem should change our impression of the first line in an unexpected way.

The second line is echoed and becomes the third line.

The fourth line of the poem should change our impression of the third line in an unexpected way.

This continues until the penultimate line becomes the first line of the couplet that leads to the final (and first) line.

For the variations of repeated lines, it is useful to think of the a a’ b scheme of the blues form.   

Jericho Brown

I decided to challenge my writing group, The Sunday Night Swaggers, with the form. Challenges help to get us moving. (I hope my partners aren’t throwing eggs at this blog post.) I enjoyed this process. The repetition with the permission to vary it led to new discoveries.

To see more duplex poems from our group:

Catherine at Reading to the Core

Molly at Nix the Comfort Zone

Heidi at My Juicy Little Universe

Linda at A Word Edgewise

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Old barn between Kalispell and White Fish, Montana by Jan Risher

How many of us have wanderlust? After pandemic shut downs have kept us homebound with theaters, museums, and art galleries closed, many of us have suffered from the strong desire to go somewhere else. My friend, journalist Jan Risher, hit the road a few weeks ago with her husband. Finding travel somewhat doable again, she posted picture after picture of our amazing country.

I was drawn in by her pictures of Montana. We were there only a few summers ago and enjoyed a train ride from Seattle to White Fish. To see more of Jan’s pictures, follow her on Instagram. To read her article about her trip, click The Advocate.

If the spirit moves, write a small poem in the comments. Please encourage other writers with kind comments. I’m sorry this post is late today. I discovered that I can access my blog on my school computer, but I can’t edit or publish the post.

Here where land
reaches up to sky
with a hand on the heart
of America…
We see
sacred space.

Margaret Simon, draft

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I am hosting the link up of Spiritual Journey First Thursday posts. Link up with Inlinkz.

In Holy Love, our sense of separateness dissolves, and we know ourselves as arising from the brilliant light of Divine Love that creates and sustains the universe.

Understanding the Enneagram, 62

I carry around bits and pieces of poems in my head. Today I was working with a student on the vocabulary word tempest. I said to her, “It’s in a poem or song or something. Tempest-tossed.” Right then and there I had to Google it. Ah, yes, The New Colossus:

Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me,
I lift my lamp beside the golden door!

Emma Lazarus

And when I read the opening quote about Divine Love, I thought:

Whoever you are, no matter how lonely,
the world offers itself to your imagination,
calls to you like the wild geese, harsh and exciting-
over and over announcing your place
in the family of things.
Mary Oliver, Wild Geese

I want to keep these thoughts of peace, of belonging, of being a part of the whole. I feel it most when I am in nature, but lately, I feel it when I am teaching. I was away from teaching for a long time. I thought I was doing fine without it. I was, but sometimes, a calling is unexplainable. Sometimes I feel myself unworthy of the calling. Sometimes a calling is holy.

The wild geese are my students, on screen and off. They call to me every day and announce my place in this crazy world.

Rylee painting a Dot Day mask.

If you wrote a Spiritual Thursday post, link below.

You are invited to the Inlinkz link party!Click here to enter

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