Archive for July, 2022

My summer is winding down quickly. I start back to school next Friday. But the Summer Poem Swap is in full swing. Tabatha Yeatts organized pairings of poets to exchange creativity, gifts, and poetry. My third swap was with Carol Varsalona. (Note: I still owe her my end of the bargain.) Carol is a digital master. If you visit her website, you can find pages of inspirational digital creations. She used this prowess to create for me a Google slide show. She also sent me a print form. You can view the whole slideshow here.

The poem that Molly Hogan sent me had a similar theme of peace and tranquility. Are these poets trying to tell me something? Or do they recognize something in me that I am struggling to find within myself? Poetry is a profound and powerful presence in my life. Thanks Carol for your creative and sensitive expression of love.

Marcie Atkins has the round up today.

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Welcome to my weekly musing. Leave a small poem in the comments and share encouraging support to other writers.

The last five days I was with my mother at her retirement home. I have so many mixed emotions when I visit. I miss Dad who died in April. I have gotten to know many of the residents and staff and enjoy spending time with them. I worry about Mom who has early Alzheimer’s. I am surrounded by childhood memories.

This weekend I was helping to move Mom down the hall to a smaller apartment. My girls and their spouses and toddlers came in on Saturday to help. It was chaos that was efficient. The men moved the big furniture pieces with ease. The toddlers bounced on the bed mattress and played with a basket full of toys and generally screamed as toddlers do. I was grateful for the help. After they left I worked on organizing, culling, and hanging paintings and photographs. By the time I left yesterday, Mom was settled and happy in her new space.

All that is really beside the point of the photo today. In the midst of mayhem and moving, I walked with Mom to Dad’s tree. We had a sycamore tree planted on the grounds. Mom loves going out to visit the tree. It has already grown about 2 feet in three months. It’s not even close to the height of the surrounding pines, but there is something serene and strong about it.

Have you ever planted a memorial tree?

Sycamore Tree in memory of John Gibson, 11/11/33-4/22/22
Summerhouse Beaux Ridge Independent Living

In the face of storms and sun,
you stand, grow, reach
for the heavenly space
where God is good.

Margaret Simon, draft

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Poetry Friday is with Mary Lee at A(nother) Year of Reading.
Sloth video from my phone. Turn sound down or off. The guide explains the different kinds of sloths near the end. This is a two-toed sloth.

Slow Sloth

I am to you
scribbles of God.
My two toes
touch the heavens 
on leaves like tea
left behind for someone to read,
a lie between sun and moon.
I am blind to you.
As I slowly pass through
parting seas of green,
only the fruit follows me.
I know heaven is green
as all sorrow in amorphous shape.
I neglect symbols,
and drink from mud.
I stop and sleep
because you are always there.

Margaret Simon, 2022

I wrote this poem after Swift Hummingbird by Ray Bradbury. On Ethical ELA, Jennifer Guyor Jowett introduced antonymic translation in this week’s Open Write. Ray Bradbury wrote of the hummingbird which immediately made me think of the sloth we saw in Costa Rica last week. It was fun to write a poem about it.

Two-Toed Sloth, Wikimedia Commons

Molly Hogan, fellow Inkling, sent me a Summer Poem Swap. Her tranquil poem sent me the blessing I needed along with some homemade (by Molly) strawberry jam and other goodies. Thanks, Molly, for the full-of-care package.

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This week is Ethical ELA’s Open Write. If you haven’t tried it out, you should. The prompts are good and the community is supportive. It’s a great place to try on a poem.

On my morning walk earlier this week after a rain, I saw the reflection of the clouds in puddles. I thought it would make a good photo prompt. And then over at Ethical ELA, I used Jennifer’s prompt to write about this photo. Today I share both with you. I hope you find inspiration here. Write your own small poem in the comments and support other writers with comments.

Puddle reflection by Margaret Simon

Summer Morning

I walk after the rain soaked
grass to cool green, steam rising.
I walk in the air soaked
in sweat of summer.

I remember the bobwhite singing
in the pine forest beyond Purple Creek.
I remember building forts, skipping rocks
singing, “Easy come, easy go, little high, little low.”

I see reflection of sky
in asphalt puddles. I am
a reflection of that child,
dancing through puddles,
watching clouds roll by.

Margaret Simon, draft

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

Last week, my husband and I traveled to Costa Rica for an amazing week of adventures. Generally speaking, I have a fear of snakes that goes back to my childhood living near a creek in Mississippi. Through the years living near the Bayou Teche, I’ve come to appreciate that there are good snakes and bad snakes. That is to say, venomous and nonvenomous, as my naturalist friend corrects me.

While in Costa Rica, we took a fearful walk through the rainforest. It was frightening on many levels, the highest one being that we walked over numerous hanging bridges while rain poured down and thunder rolled in the distance. I did not feel safe. I took it slowly while our guide did not. She rushed us along, thus leaving me and a few other slowpokes behind.

At one point in our rainforest trek, the guide stopped us all to point out a small yellow flower. Yet it was not an exotic flower; it was a venomous snake known as the eyelash viper. I had hoped to see a poison dart frog, but this snake was not on my “want to see” list. I did not take the picture. I stood at a safe distance. The guide took the photo with someone’s iphone and we later airdropped it to everyone.

Eyelash viper, rainforest of Costa Rica

A Google fact search turned up this frightening fact: “Since they can be bold shades of green and yellow, they’ve accidentally been transported to other countries with exported bananas.” Yikes! Can you imagine finding this in your bananas?

Now I am home and on my morning walk, I nearly stepped on this little guy.

Innocent ribbon snake, New Iberia, Louisiana

This small striped ribbon snake is more my speed when it comes to accepting that there are snakes in this world. He’s actually kinda cute, don’t you think? And totally harmless.

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Jan has the round up today at Book Seed Studio

My friend, poet Buffy Silverman is releasing a new word-blooming picture book, On a Gold-Blooming Day coming September 6, 2022. This rhythmic, rhyming, all-about-fall book is enchanting from start to finish. You will be transported to the season through words and images.

From On a Gold-Blooming Day, photos by Buffy Silverman

I asked Buffy to tell us how she is inspired to write.

I have been fascinated with the natural world for as long as I can remember. When I was six I collected a jar full of grasshoppers from an empty lot to keep as pets in the garage. I learned the hard way that insects need oxygen! I spent hours perched in the branches of our maple tree as a kid, watching the world below.

I still search out the small animals that share our habitat. We are lucky to live at the swampy end of a small lake, with frogs, turtles, birds, and woods as neighbors. We stopped mowing most of our backyard about twenty years ago, and a meadow has grown in its place, attracting a variety of insects. Now I collect critters with my camera instead of in a jar, and try to share what I see through my writing.  My hound keeps me walking every day, no matter what the weather or season, so I get plenty of opportunity to make new discoveries!

I hope that my words might inspire a young person to look more closely at and fall in love with the world around them. The world desperately needs a generation of environmentalists, and I think that is most likely to happen if children spend time outdoors, make their own discoveries, and fall in love as I did with nature.

Buffy Silverman
From On A Gold-Blooming Day by Buffy Silverman

This golden glowing book is for preschool through 3rd graders. The back matter provides more information about the animals and plants mentioned in the text and images. A glossary of new words helps developing readers. Add this book to your fall reading list. Buffy’s website is here.

On Wednesday, Buffy responded with a very Buffy-styled poem to This Photo Wants to be a Poem.

Fishing Expedition

Long legs.
Long beak.
Step right.
Cool creek.
Step left.
Trout streak.
Stoop low.
Sneak peek.
Fast jab–
full cheek!
–Buffy Silverman

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Spiritual Thursday Round up is here today.

Close to midnight when the darkness is darkest, I was sleeping next to Leo, my 3 year-old grandson. He woke up startled on his first night staying with us last week. “Mamère, what’s that?” he asked.

“That’s an owl. Can you hear it? Who, who, who!”

“Is it in the house?”

“No, no, it’s across the bayou way up high in the trees.”



“Don’t worry, I’m here. The owl is far away.”

“Far away? Outside? In the trees?”

We talked for a while about owls, how they live in trees, hunt at night, call to their friends. The questions went on and on until I sleepily said, “It’s time to be quiet now and go back to sleep.”

I turned on the sound machine and the ocean waves calmed us both back to sleep. But Leo talked about the owl for days. Who knew that his 3 year-old brain would be so curious and so afraid of owls?

Our fears, our worries, especially in the darkness of the night are unreasonable. We know this, but nevertheless, the threat feels real.

How do you listen to the owls?

My presence will go with you and I will give you rest.

Exodus 33:14
Leo makes play-doh cookies.

Enter your Spiritual Thursday blog posts here: https://fresh.inlinkz.com/p/7ce77be0aa2142e583f84dd128d477e7


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Egret by Kim Douillard

Today’s photo is a steal from Kim Douillard’s Instagram. She posted another photo of this bird on her blog for Silent Sunday. The bird is in full dance mode with wings extended. Who is he/she showing off for? Do the cool waves inspire dance? What inspires you?

Write a small poem in the comments. If you are able, return to comment on other writers. I am off to yoga class to give this pose my best effort.

Balance Pose

Give yourself grace
and time to stand still
with wings tucked tightly in
or extended wind-wide.

You are the master of your flight.

Margaret Simon, flash draft

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Poetry Friday is hosted today by Janice Scully at Salt City Verse

This month’s Inkling challenge comes from Heidi Mordhorst: I’m looking out at my yard, my garden, and no matter what’s happening outside or in, THE PLANTS KEEP GROWING. They rarely give up. There are so many ways in which we’ve all (but especially as women, as educators) had to be persistent, despite our weariness. Write a poem (for kids or adults) about PERSISTENCE.

Heidi suggested a model poem by Tony Hoagland, Please Don’t. I borrowed a few lines and the word swobtoggle.

Dandelion Garden 

Hello, dandelions
in the ditch,

You pop forth
taller than I’ve ever seen,
reaching higher
for a taste of the sun

before the storm comes
to swobtoggle*
your seeds away.

You look at me
with a wispy wink
waiting for a child to hold
& blow.

Persistent in your volunteer work
someday soon,
you will fly. 

*from Tony Hoagland, “Please Don’t” 

Margaret Simon, draft
Dandelions in a ditch, photo by Margaret Simon

See what other Inklings did with this prompt.

Linda@A Word Edgewise
Heidi @my juicy little universe
Molly@Nix the Comfort Zone
Catherine@Reading to the Core
Mary Lee @ A(nother) Year of Reading

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