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Archive for the ‘Photography’ Category

Winter is here and in many places around the US, mounds of snow. In the deep south, we are expecting an Arctic blast later this week that may (accent on the word may) bring a mix of winter precipitation. The last time I was able to build any semblance of a snowman was in March of 1988. This is not true for my friend Molly in Maine. She posted a most amazing snowgirl that her daughter, Lydia, had created using old garden leftovers to accessorize. Let’s entertain our child-muse today and write a small poem about her. Feel free to give her a name.

Snow Girl by Molly Hogan

Betty White

Blonde pom-pom poofs
fool you into thinking
this girl is ditsy.
Don’t
underestimate a girl
with sunlight
in her hair. She’s a star
in her own galaxy.

Margaret Simon, draft

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January has so far given us temperatures as high as 80 degrees and as low as 29. I’ve brought plants in (and back out and back in). I’ve gathered milkweed with monarch caterpillars. I’ve worn a heavy coat and shorts. Winter in South Louisiana has gotten weird. The Japanese magnolias are in full bloom. The sunrise and sunset are bright red. Since the New Year, I’ve released three monarch butterflies. And everywhere, Omicron Covid is on the steep rise. Nature is speaking. Is anyone listening?

Last night I had chosen a sunset photo from my phone; however, a sweep through Facebook revealed an amazing natural phenomenon from my friend and naturalist Susan H. Edmunds. She granted creative permission, so today I give you a rabbit hole you could choose to go down: frost flowers.

Frost flowers! When the temperature quickly drops, as it did last night in rural St. Martin Parish, sap remaining in the plants’ stems begin to freeze and crack the stem. When this liquid exudes through the minute cracks, it freezes and forms beautifully delicate frost flowers that vanish when the sun’s golden rays touch them. Isn’t nature just grand?

Susan H. Edmunds, Facebook Jan. 11, 2022
Frost flowers by Susan H. Edmunds

Golden light on frost
illuminates, melts away
cold morning moment.

Margaret Simon, draft

Write your own small poem in the comments. Leave encouraging comments for other writers.

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Poetry Friday is with Carol at Beyond Literacy Link.

This month’s Inkling challenge comes from Heidi. She invited us to “use the form” of the poem, The Lost Lagoon, by Emily Pauline Johnson (d. 1913) to build a “poem for children about a treasured place that you return to again and again.”

Most of our group had tackled this challenge early on. I thought I might not make it. After Christmas and a family trip, I had been away from writing for a few weeks. Often when I take a break like this, I feel I’ll never write another poem. I decided to take my head out of the sand and face it. On Sunday I opened The Lost Lagoon. I copied it into a document and went to work writing beside it. I didn’t follow the form exactly, but in many ways the exercise led me to say what I wanted to say.

One of my favorite photos from our family trip to North Carolina became my muse. The guys enjoyed making nightly fires in the fire pit outside our mountain house. The toddler boys enjoyed participating (at a safe distance) in blowing on the fire. My daughters captured the scene in two photographs.

Over Blue Mountain

See Sun set over blue mountain;
Dada builds fire to light the way
beneath a cloud-shining golden ray.
I twirl in steam of an ending day
and blow flames for a sparkling fountain.

In the dark, a song begins to bloom
and follows a cow’s mooing tune,
a howl of dogs under rising moon,
the logs of the fire crackle and croon
and gone is the nighttime gloom.

Oh, why can’t I stay out all night 
to watch Cow jump over the moon
and feel the dawning sky too soon?
I dream I’m lifted like a balloon–
in Dada’s arms I’m safe and right. 

Margaret Simon, 2022
Papère, Leo, and Dada

Other Inkling poems:

Catherine Flynn at Reading to the Core
Linda Mitchell at A Word Edgewise
Heidi Mordhorst at My Juicy Little Universe
Molly Hogan at Nix the Comfort Zone
Mary Lee Hahn at A(nother) Year of Reading

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This week it’s snowing in the Blue Ridge Mountains, but last week the weather was mild. Cool enough to set a fire outside in the fire pit, yet warm enough to run and play without a jacket on. Our family vacation the week after Christmas was as good as it gets. I wrote about it here for Slice of Life.

Today’s photo was one I took in the late afternoon as the sun was setting over the hills beyond our mountain house. This photo captures the peaceful magic of time to do nothing much. As the weather has turned to winter storms and cold temperatures this week, I hope this photo brings a peaceful moment of warmth. Write with me. Leave your small poem in the comments and come back to respond to other writers. Happy new year of writing.

Pleasant perch on Blue Ridge Mountains

Muse in the magic
of a smoking fire
freeing your soul
to rest
on God’s roof.

Margaret Simon, draft

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Poetry Friday is with Buffy Silverman.

Exchanging Christmas cards is a tradition that I choose to hold on to. There are people in my life I haven’t seen or talked to in years, decades even, yet we still exchange cards every year. It’s a lifeline. A loveline. A way to connect beyond any reason. I don’t fault anyone who opts out. It’s a time consuming commitment.

We don’t send a long letter anymore. The most I can get out is a sticker for the back with the very basic information. But I do enjoy reading the long letters that arrive. I don’t even care if it’s braggy, braggy. I have a friend whose tradition is to open all the holiday cards at once on Christmas morning. I tend to savor each one as it comes.

Art cards express a dedication of time and creativity. This year I received a beautiful collage art card from friend and fellow Inkling, Linda Mitchell. She says she “dabbles” but this card, and other work I’ve seen by her recently, are placing her into a higher artist category. She has talent, and I appreciate and admire her work.

Christmas card collage by Linda Mitchell

My father, John Gibson, is an artist who created art cards for years. In 2013, I created poems to accompany each card and collected them into a small chapbook, Illuminate. Today, I am featuring one of these cards and its poem.

The stable by John Gibson

The Pointillist

She laid him in a manger because there was no room for them in the inn.

He sits at the drawing table,
taps the paper
as an instrument.

Music comes forth
in tones
dark and light.

Rhythm
from his heart
to his hand beats–

syncopated in time–
drumming out each dot
point by point

Image
emerges in focus
inviting the eye

I go with him
to the stable,
kneel next to the cow,

smell the light scent of hay,
listen to the breath
of a child,

adore with Mary.

Margaret Simon, all rights reserved
from Illuminate

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Today I am nursing an upper respiratory virus. I am boosted and tested negative for both Covid and flu, but this cough is nagging, and the low grade fever has me curled up with hot tea watching Christmas movies. It should be much better by Christmas, let’s hope. Next week I’ll be traveling with my family, so I will take the week off from blogging. I’ll be back with a new photo on Jan. 5, 2022. Thank you for supporting this weekly photo prompt by writing, reading, and commenting. You have made my one little word “Inspire” glow with purpose and meaning.

This week I have taken a photo from Molly Hogan’s Facebook post. She is forever curious and explores with her camera. When I asked her about this photo, she told me her husband thought she was nuts leaning over a bucket of ice. In Maine, temperatures have turned to winter, and she captured the beauty and mystery of winter in this photo.

Photo by Molly Hogan

Frozen in fundamental shape
this
world
inside
rises
this
speck
becomes
seen
this
fundamental shape is frozen.

Margaret Simon, draft
Skinny form

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When taking photographs, you don’t always get the one you planned. We recently took my grandchildren to a local art museum. There were dancers in the gallery advertising an upcoming performance of The Nutcracker. I wanted my grandson Leo to take a picture with them. Well, he’s 3 and he was afraid of the dancers, so he kept his distance. I took this photo anyway. Now I look at it as a potential poem prompt.

The Nutcracker is as traditional in the United States as Christmas caroling. We all know the story. We can conjure the iconic music in our heads. It’s been years since I attended a performance of the ballet, but I have fond memories of going as a child. Play a bit of the music while musing on this photo, and place a small poem in the comments.

Gallery Dancers, by Margaret Simon

Snowflakes
flutter in–
a gallery dance

Margaret Simon, draft hay(na)ku

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On my daily walk, I pass a Japanese Magnolia tree. I’ve photographed this tree often, and written poems about it here and here. On a foggy grey morning, the dew drops glistened as I passed. I was compelled once again to photograph this tree.

Secrets of the night
revealed
on dew drops
come morning

Margaret Simon, draft

Leave your #smallpoems #poemsofpresence in the comments. You may post on our Facebook page as well. Please leave encouraging comments for your fellow writers.

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I volunteered to host a holiday party way back in the summer when the living was easy. My Thanksgiving week was busy with family events, but we managed to squeeze in Christmas decorating as well. My youngest daughter Martha was visiting, and she has a good eye for design. She created a piece with candles and cedar branches and berries. When I lit the candles, I was surprised at the atmosphere of warmth and welcome they created. On a tricube roll, I wrote a gratitude poem for these candles.

Christmas candles by Margaret Simon

Holiday
open doors
candles lit

flickering
welcoming
visitors

fireplace glows
everyone
knows we’re home

Margaret Simon, draft

Welcome to this photo. Write a small poem, any form, in the comments and encourage other writers with your words. Happy Holidays!

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A Happy Thanksgiving thank you for this little community of writers. Thanks for making time for yourself on Wednesday morning to write along with me and others. I am grateful for you!

This past weekend my daughters and I traveled to Texas wine country. You can read my Slice of Life about it here. Our Airbnb was connected to downtown Fredericksburg by a narrow concrete bridge across Barons Creek. On the chain link fence were locks. Maggie said, “Like Paris!” Oblivious to the reference I took this picture.

Locks over Barons Creek, Fredericksburg, TX by Margaret Simon

I challenge you to write a small poem without using the word locks. If you haven’t tried a tricube form, read Linda Mitchell’s prompt from Ethical ELA. Like haiku, a tricube captures a single moment with few words. Three by three, three syllables in each line, three lines in each stanza, three stanzas. Share your small poems in the comments or on Facebook. Join here.

On my way
across paths
of rivers

I hold on
to your hand
with fervor

Our two hearts
are combined
with vigor

Margaret Simon, draft

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