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Archive for the ‘Photography’ Category

I don’t live in a cold climate, and with our lows in the early 30’s last week, I was grateful for sweaters and scarves and hats. I don’t love cold, but I love photos of snow and ice. Amanda Potts lives in Ottawa, Canada. She walks every day (making me feel like a wimp when I don’t want to walk in the cold). She posts wonderful photos on Instagram. Most of her photos are close up. This one was so close that you can make out little ice sculptures in the branches. There’s a whole fairy tale world right there in the photo.

On the Merriam-Webster website, there is a quiz about words for snow and ice. I failed miserably. Perhaps if you want to challenge your knowledge, as well as gather words for your poem, take a chance: Words for Snow and Ice Quiz.

Join me in writing a small poem. Leave it in the comments. Be sure to support other writers with encouraging words.

Glimmer*

Ice birds
peck at thorns
finding the silver lining.

*ice newly formed in cracks, holes, or surface puddles of other ice

Margaret Simon, draft

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So much can happen in a week. I took a photo last Wednesday, January 6th in the early morning before the sunrise. Capturing the moon peeking between the arms of an old oak tree, I was in a good mood. The week was going well, back to school after the holidays, and my spirits were lifted to the sky. Since that morning, my country that felt safe became unsettled and moving in a violent direction, attacked by American citizens, our own people, our neighbors. I’m struggling with how to feel, how to move forward, how to teach.

But today, I was looking for a photo to post, a photo that wants to be a poem. Maybe you are, too. Please join me by writing a small soul-searching poem, only 15 words, maybe fewer. Leave your poem in the comments and respond to others. Thanks for giving me hope, the thing with feathers…

Moon and Live Oak, photo by Margaret Simon

An acorn buried long ago
reaches out
toward the moon
hopeful
to shelter
another day.

Margaret Simon, draft

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Last weekend we toasted in the new year with some friends around our fire pit. I had taken down the tree ornaments earlier in the day, and my husband usually carries the dry fir tree out to the curb, but this year, it seemed appropriate somehow to burn it.

A new year also brings about changes in my teaching routine. For whatever reason, I hadn’t used photo prompts with my students yet this year. So this week I posted my photo on our Kidblog and directed them to respond. In Paula Bourque’s book Spark, she encourages teachers to use their own photos because it helps kids get to know you a little better. It was fun to hear my students’ questions and connections to this photo. I think I’ll do this with them every week. Click on the Kidblog link above to read their responses.

Fire sizzles flames
Christmas fir tree
forever skyfree

Margaret Simon

Please write your own small poem response in the comments. Leave encouraging comments to other writers.

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Poetry Friday round-up is with Ruth in Haiti.

Happy New Year! If you are looking for a way to feed your writing life, subscribe to Poets & Writers’ The Time is Now. I do not do their prompt every week, but this week when I was feeling out of touch with writing, I opened it to find a prompt that worked well for me.

“Mars Being Red” by the late poet Marvin Bell lyrically explores the color red as a state of being, likening it to a list of images that both physically resemble the color and provide memories, such as that of youth. In this compact, twelve-line poem, Bell begins what seems to be a portrait of the planet Mars and then delves into a series of digressions that find resolve in a meditation on the possibility of change: “You will not be this quick-to-redden / forever. You will be green again, again and again.” Inspired by Bell, write a poem that serves as a portrait of a color. Use physical descriptions to begin and then personal memories to develop a transformation in this study of hue.
From The Time is Now

Bayou Being Green

Being green is the color of an amaryllis
bud before blooming. Color of time lost
in growth, of soul lost inside
meditation. Green of grassy meadows
we walked with the dog, while our steps
made time disappear for a moment.
Contemplation becomes green in your eyes,
emerald of stars, early light reflects
sage from the bayou surface where green
water darkens as we stroll west toward
sunset, away from dawn into an age
of white on white on white. 

Margaret Simon, draft after Marvin Bell “Mars Being Red”
Bayou Teche in November, Margaret Simon

If you are looking for a weekly photo writing prompt, subscribe to my blog, I am posting a photo each week on Thursdays and invite you to write a small poem response. This Photo Wants to be a Poem.

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I took last week off of blogging to be with family for Christmas, but Christmas hasn’t let go of me yet. This slower week I’ve enjoyed looking at the tree, crocheting on the sofa, and watching Christmas movies on Netflix. I think the slow down was good for me, but I worry that the routine of writing will leave and never come back. So, I am committing to this weekly prompt for me and for you.

Ann Sutton is one of those friends who feeds my spiritual life. She is a Methodist minister, watercolor artist, and has a beautiful mezzo-soprano voice. (We met in a community choir years ago.) Christmas worship looked different this year. In her wisdom, Ann didn’t forego the candle lighting on Christmas Eve. She reinvented it. With a variety of candles in buckets of sand, families lit their own candle as they entered her church.

Christmas Eve, by Ann Sutton

What we carry
is heavy; lighten it
with match to flame
then blow.

Margaret Simon, draft

Write your own small poem in the comments. Read and encourage other writers by responding.

Happy New Year! May the peace that passes all understanding keep your hearts and minds on the love of Christ.

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One of the bloggers I follow is Kim Douillard who lives on the west coast of California. She takes beautiful photographs and posts a “Silent Sunday” photo each week on her blog, Thinking Through My Lens. Last Sunday I was fascinated by the beach labyrinth in her photo. I thought about the impermanence of it, how the ocean will eventually wash it away. Like the Tibetan monks who create sand mandalas. The creation is the prayer.

Image by Kim Douillard

Please write a small poem reflecting on the photograph. Write encouraging comments to other writers.

Footsteps mark
lines….
…..eternity

Margaret Simon, a pi-ku

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This week was a sad one for my friend, poet-author Laura Shovan. Her beagle Rudy had a condition known as bloat. Bloat is a serious condition that few dogs survive. To learn more, please click this link to AKC information on bloat. If you own a dog, you need to know the warning signs.

Rudy fought but lost the fight. Laura posted multiple pictures of her beloved pet on social media. I was especially taken with this photo. A dreamy quality that reminds me that our pets know more than we think they know.

Laura and Rudy view the sky.

Leave a poem in the comments. I hope our poems will comfort Laura in some small way. Leave encouraging comments for other writers.

If we could see through
the eyes of a dog,
we’d know the secret
to unconditional love.

Margaret Simon, 2020

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On my daily walks, I try to be alert to changes in nature. This photo is of a mushroom that randomly popped up in a field of grass. The next day the head was completely gone. I suppose some creature of the night dined out on a mushroom meal. Looks like it was working on it before I took this picture. Tap into your imagination today. Write a small poem that captures something unique.

Mushroom by Margaret Simon, 2020

Fairies fancy
a canopy draping,
safe place to dance
’til the ‘coons come for dinner.

Margaret Simon, draft

Leave your small poem in the comments. Please write encouraging comments to other writers.

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“I have no news to tell you, for the days are all the same, I have no ideas, except to think that a field of wheat or a cypress is well worth the trouble of looking at close up, and so on.” – Vincent van Gogh

Red Berries after the Rain by Margaret Simon

Waiting for the rain to stop to take my daily walk, I looked out the kitchen window and saw these berries, made redder by the low light and wetness. I’ve been trying out photography lately with a camera I’ve had stored away. I wrote a Slice about it on Tuesday.

Here is an invitation to write a small poem, one of noticing something new or something old in new light. Write a small poem in the comments and take a moment to read other poems. Leave encouraging comments. I hope you are all enjoying a peaceful Thanksgiving. It may look different this year, but it is still a time to give thanks. And my thanks go out to all of you who stop by my little corner of the world.

Within the walls
of rainy days,
some things still sing
Praise.
Listen harder.

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.

I’ve always enjoyed good photography. The summer of my 15th birthday, my family took a cross country trip from Mississippi to Wyoming. And when we got to Denver, we looked in the phone book (no Google) for a reputable camera store. I remember being amazed that we found one. I got my very first “good” camera, an Olympus OM 10 SLR. That school year I started taking pictures for the yearbook and eventually became the yearbook editor for my senior year.

Once I moved on to college, then marriage, then babies, I left that part of me behind. Like the poet I once was, she hibernated for a long time. The poet emerged around 1995, but the photographer is still in hibernation. I got a “good” camera for Christmas 2015 before a big trip to Africa the summer of 2016: Sony 6000.

I took gorgeous pictures in Africa that summer, but everything else paled in comparison, so I put the camera away for the next big trip. I thought of taking it out in the spring to learn more about using it. It was on my list of possible pandemic projects. For whatever reason, and I think these things cannot truly be explained, I’ve finally taken the camera out again.

Da, da, tada! I present to you a gallery of amateur photographs. I admit I have a beautiful setting to photograph, so why not? Maybe I’ll keep it out this time.

Great Blue Heron on Bayou Teche, Margaret Simon, November 2020
Fall on Bayou Teche, Margaret Simon 2020
Red flower morning, Margaret Simon 2020

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