Archive for June, 2021

Summer is hot, no matter where you live, and the best way to beat the heat is to play in the water. This photo is sure to cool you off. It’s from Lisa Davis’s Instagram feed. Lisa was the site director for the National Writing Project at Northwestern State University in Natchitoches, LA. (pronounced Nak-a-dish) She is currently retired (I think) and enjoying being a grandmother. I couldn’t resist her post of her granddaughter dancing in the sprinkler.

Dancing Girl, photo by Lisa Davis

Is it possible
to fall in love with a day?
catches me in its spray!

Margaret Simon, draft

Add your flash draft of a small poem in the comments. Return to give feedback to others who write. Thanks for stopping by!

Read Full Post »

Thank you to Two Writing Teachers for creating an amazing community of writers and a safe, welcoming space to write and share.

Every summer I look forward to Kate Messner’s Teachers Write virtual writing camp. The first week is this week. Kate invites us to go outside and reflect on a time when we felt fully whole. I went outside and ended up weeding a flower bed. It wasn’t too hot, and for a minute, it wasn’t raining. I had a “clunker” line from Linda Mitchell to work with. “August was long of light.” There was a time when we didn’t start school in August, and it felt like summer would go on and on.

Mississippi Heat Wave

August was long of light
in a Mississippi heat wave that summer of ‘72.
On the path to Purple Creek,
my flip-flops kept the stickers away
and mosquitos preferred Missy’s freckle-juice.
Covered in Off and Coppertone, we’d hold hands
to cross the waterfall, tip-toe trickle over a concrete slab.
On the other side was an endless pine forest. We’d walk
the path of dirt bikes, side-stepping ruts in the muddy red clay.
Avoiding under-the-bridge where the smoking kids hung out,
we’d wander to the stables, pick out a favorite horse, pretend they were ours.
Endless summer days
stretched out like a Gulf Coast beach
burned our tender noses,
streaked our blonde hair,
became a backdrop to childhood memories.

Margaret Simon, draft
Pine forest in Mississippi, photo by Margaret Simon

Read Full Post »

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

    Today I am posting with the “Poetry Sisters” (Tricia Stohr-Hunt, Sara Lewis Holmes, Kelly Ramsdell, Laura Purdie-Salas, Liz Garton Scanlon, and Andi Sibley) who challenged the Poetry Friday community to write zentangle poems. If you are unfamiliar with this form, check out this post by Kat Apel.

I have done zentangle before but I’ve never been satisfied with the results. I got a card in the mail from Jone MacCulloch along with a plaque print of her amazing collage response for our Spark exchange. Jone’s card inspired me to try again with a mentor to emulate.

Zentangle by Jone MacCulloch
From Preservation, Spring 2021
Object Lesson
a tea bowl

This week I received a wonderful summer poem swap gift from Michelle Kogan. Michelle is a watercolor artist in Chicago. She saw posts from me about our wood duck nest boxes and “Jump Day.” I admit to teary eyes when I saw her painting and poem. So special. She sent me a print as well as a homemade notebook with the painting on the cover and poem on the back. I have been writing poems about the wood duck experience and now I have a special place to write them. Thanks. Thanks. Thanks!

I love how Michelle’s poem captures the essence of Joy we feel when we see the ducks jump from their nest box.

Summer Poem Swap is organized by Tabatha Yeatts

Read Full Post »

The summer solstice makes it officially summer. What’s more summery than the ocean? Following Kim Douillard on Instagram takes me to the Pacific Ocean. She lives near San Diego, California. During the school year, she teaches third grade. Her happy place is taking photos at the beach. On her blog, Thinking through my Lens, she writes poetry, shares writing lessons, and posts amazing photographs. Last night I saw this picture which totally took me to a new place. Let’s see if we can make this photo come more alive with poetry offerings. Join me in the comments by writing your own small poem.

San Clemente, California by Kim Douillard

How to be an Ocean Wave

Rise up with grit.
Roar with spirit.
Open your heart and hands.
Make life grand!

Margaret Simon, draft

Read Full Post »

Thank you to Two Writing Teachers for creating an amazing community of writers and a safe, welcoming space to write and share.

Last weekend with grandkids in tow, my daughters and I traveled to Mississippi to see my parents. Mom celebrated her 85th birthday on Friday. We had an amazing dinner together, all four generations.

Pop with great grandchild, Stella, 6 months.

Over at Ethical ELA, it’s Open Write time. Denise Krebs posted a prompt that pushed me to write a poem for my father. Her poem prompt was based on Langston Hughes’s poem I Dream a World.

He Dreams a World
(for my father, John Gibson)

He dreamed a world where hope
would be our North Star guide,
a world where we could care,
embrace each other’s side.

But dreams read daily news
on print as small as stars.
His weathered hands held fast
so futures could be ours.

Today he watches them
and wonders where they’ll go,
more treasures to be found
and promises of hope.

Margaret Simon, after Langston Hughes
John Gibson, Pop, watches toddler artists Leo and Thomas.

Read Full Post »

Last week I took both of my grandsons to a local farm. See this post. They were cautiously curious. While we walked around, multiple young cats circled and rubbed up against us. Leo has a cat at home, but I think this was his first experience with this gentle, yet intrusive cat behavior. I found this photo in my phone and made it black and white. Don’t you love how you can do that with a slide of your finger?

Photo by Margaret Simon

I don’t want to touch you.
Would you please go away?
Your gentle mew
invites me.
Can we be friends?

Margaret Simon, draft

Write your own small poem in the comments and please come back to read and comment on other writers. Happy Summer!

Read Full Post »

Thank you to Two Writing Teachers for creating an amazing community of writers and a safe, welcoming space to write and share.
Text from Susan Edmunds

When I married Jeff almost 39 years ago, I did not know everything about him, but I did know that he had had a boa constrictor for a pet at one time during his wild childhood. Jeff has a brother who is only 18 months younger. The Simon boys spent a lot of time out in the woods along the bayou. Stories include the time they fished out a shark from the bayou. (Little did they know as young boys that sharks don’t live in the bayou; obviously someone’s throw back from fishing in the Gulf.) But that story is not the one I want to tell today.

Calm in every situation would aptly describe this hero. He sat next to me for hours and hours during natural childbirth…3 times…and never lost his cool calm demeanor.

Susan may not know this about him, but she does know that he cares about reptiles. Susan and Jeff go way back to days when she lead summer library programs, and Jeff would collaborate on ones on canoeing and camping and fishing all through the local Optimist Club. And she may remember (she sent me a photograph once) of a library workshop he brought our middle daughter Katherine to when she was four-years-old, and how Jeff showed particular interest in the snakes. Nevertheless, she texted on Sunday morning, and I sent my hero away to save the day.

Jeff and Susan patiently released 3 tangled rat snakes. photo by Mary Tutwiler.

I am deathly afraid of snakes. Jeff has tried many times to get me over my phobia, and often I’ve become the source of a snake joke. Needless to say I did not personally attend this snake rescue. In fact, I’m having trouble posting the pictures. I refuse to post the one of the three rescued snakes happily wriggling in the bottom of a trash can.

My calm hero was able to patiently cut away the mesh entrapment while Susan held the snakes’ heads. I don’t know which was braver, but combined these two people should win a prize. The snakes were not released in our backyard, thank you very much. They are happily in someone else’s yard.

Here is the text of a thank you email from Susan:

“Thanks again for coming to the rescue yesterday-I don’t think I could have done the extraction solo, the task needed experienced snake rangers comfortable with very close contact!  Certainly you handled the snipping far better than I could have, didn’t see any fresh blood! Excellent work.”

Instagram photo by Susan’s husband, James. Those hero hands are mighty close to that snake tongue!

Read Full Post »

Poetry Friday round-up is with Carol at Carol’s Corner.

As I prepared this PF post, I had to go through new steps in WordPress that annoyed me. It seems once you get a sense of comfort with a platform, someone thinks it’s a good idea to change it up. Is anyone else struggling with the new way to insert an image? What a rigamarole!

I subscribe to Merriam-Webster’s word of the day. On June 4th, the WOD was Rigmarole, not rigamarole as I had always used. My curiosity got hold as well as my inner poet. I turned to a form that my Swagger partner, poet-teacher friend, Heidi Mordhorst invented–the definito.

The rules are a free verse poem of 8-12 lines that ends in the word being defined. Heidi being Heidi usually includes word play aspects as well.

A list of verse, ragman roll
to mean foolish roll of tongue,
rattling-on-confusing set of directions,
steps here
then there
rambling forward to a destination,
required mouse-trap of a rat-race
ending in the achievement of a goal–

Margaret Simon, definito draft
Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

Challenge: Today’s word is poignant. Want to try a definito? Post in the comments.

Read Full Post »

This week’s photo comes from Bonne Terre Louisiana, studio, retreat, and farm stay in Breaux Bridge, LA. My friend Jen Gray owns this farm and retreat center. I haven’t been in a few years due to the pandemic, but it’s on my list for this summer. Her Instagram feed is creative and artistic.

Elder flowers are in full bloom. They grow wild and free and scent the early summer air. I found that elder flowers have medicinal qualities that I did not know about. There is always more to learn about Mother Nature and her miracles.

Elderflowers by Jen Gray

as summer
sunshine brightens.
Elder flowers wake,
flare up the forest lair,
offer scented medicine.
Buds to blooms to berries to wine–
Like rainbow gold, a treasure to find.

Margaret Simon, nonet draft

Please join in with your own small poem draft in the comments. Encourage other writers with comments. Thanks for stopping by.

Read Full Post »

Thank you to Two Writing Teachers for creating an amazing community of writers and a safe, welcoming space to write and share.

Recently I listened to the podcast “We Can Do Hard Things” with Glennon Doyle. The theme was Fun. Their definition of fun came from Abby Wombach who said that fun is when you enter into an activity without knowing the outcome. That is the definition of every day for a toddler.

Monday was the first day of Camp Mamoo. (Thomas (21 months) calls me “Mamoo”) He and his mother, daughter Katherine, are visiting and cousin Leo, 2 1/2, spent the night. Leo has come to know that when Mamére takes him someplace, it will be fun. “Going to ‘nother fun place.”

“Today we are going to a farm.”


When we passed a horse, Leo yelled, “I saw a horse. That’s great!”

The farm is in nearby St. Martinville. Belle Ècorce Farms sells goat cheese in a small portable using the honor system, a locked money box. A small town luxury.

When we got to the farm, we walked around to see some of the animals. The boys were mesmerized. Or scared.

The loose animals, rooster, chickens, and geese were particularly frightening. A billy goat in a fence came up and climbed onto the fence, expecting something good to eat.

“You don’t have to get close. Just watch.” The boys stood still as statues to watch the billy goat.

I haven’t decided yet if this was a fun experience. The boys were easy. They stayed close to us, no run and chase games. We talked on the way home.

“What did we see at the farm?”

“Moo,” says Thomas.

“Umm, rooster!” says Leo.

All I know for sure is that a day with toddlers is a day of Fun.

Read Full Post »

Older Posts »