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Archive for the ‘Photography’ Category

Every morning I walk through a field in my neighborhood to cross to another street. I watch the seasons change in an old Japanese magnolia tree. I’ve photographed it many times. It seems to pose for me.

Japanese Magnolia Morning by Margaret Simon

This is a time to think about gratitude. We have to look closely, closer than ever before. Pandemic on the rise can blur the lines of our lives. Take a minute to praise this flower, the morning, or whatever this photo brings forth for you.

Dewdrop tear,
how do you balance
when gravity
pulls you down?

Margaret Simon, draft

Share your small poem in the comments. Please leave encouraging comments for other writers.

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Poetry Friday round-up is with Robyn Hood Black at Life on the Deckle Edge

On Saturday I had the privilege of attending a writing workshop with our state poet laureate, John Warner Smith as part of the virtual Festival of Words. He presented the poem This is Not a Small Voice by Sonia Sanchez. He asked us to consider the power of collective voice and love in building a more perfect society. I stole borrowed some of Sanchez’s words as well as some from Michelle Obama on Twitter (responding to Biden’s election). “…build a nation worthy of our children.”

In the spirit of poetry,
we raise our collective pens
to toast the power
of words
to move
mountains
to reclaim
a spirit of good will.

The mouths of our rivers
have spilled out enough
dirt and grime
to soil a century.
Grab your shovel, friends,
hold it high
and dig.

Dig for gold!
Dig for diamonds!
Dig for poems that move you!

It’s up to us to love
the ones who hate us,
to love with listening ears,
to love with a fever for love,

But before we do that,
kiss the face
of a nation worthy
of our children
and our children’s children.

Let’s kiss her
with all the passion
of our poems. Now
Move!

Margaret Simon, draft
A rainbow appeared in the sky on my way home from school this week.
I always stop to photograph rainbows.

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A little backstory on this poetry prompt series: Laura Purdie Salas once hosted a weekly poetry prompt on her blog called “15 Words or Less.” She decided to pay more attention to her many writing projects, and the world of KidLit has been blessed by a number of new books from her, but I missed waking up on Thursday mornings to a quick photo poetry prompt. With Laura’s blessing, I started this weekly post.

Following Laura on Instagram, I borrowed this photo from her. In an email, she explained that it’s grass in a park across the street from her house. I love how the simplest things that often go unnoticed can be captured in a photo. This photo can become a poem. Laura’s mantra is “Look closer…”

Photo by Laura Purdie Salas

A park bench
open
waiting
a resting place
for adventurers
you and me.

Margaret Simon, draft

Look closer and write a small poem in the comments. Write encouraging comments to others.

At Sharing Our Stories, Ruth invites us to write inspired by a photograph. Her suggestion is to look at the background. Notice something new. Welcome writers from SOS today.

Open invitation to write at Sharing Our Stories.

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Poetry Friday round-up is with Susan Bruck at Soul Blossom Living.

This week the Sunday Night Swaggers are drafting to a challenge from Linda Mitchell, an aubade, which is a praise song to the morning. I read on Sharing our Stories a prompt for capturing sounds in your writing. To me sounds and aubade seemed to go together.

Sound is a huge influence on people’s attention.—Walter Murch

Sounds of the Morning

Is there a sound that wakes the morning?
An alarm of the softest hum,
shrill tweet of a passing bird,
a gurgle from the coffee pot?

Will you wake from your garden
And look for me?

Will I kneel down in prayer
Or throw my head back and laugh?

Oh morning, your welcoming glaze
bathes kindness over the day.

I could bask in your freshness
And forget hatred.

Stay awhile, sunrise!

Margaret Simon, draft

To read other Aubade poems:
Linda Mitchell
Heidi Mordhorst
Molly Hogan
Catherine Flynn

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Do you love to travel? I do, but my travel this year has been vicariously through a Facebook group called “Women Who Keep Traveling.” This week, Jan posted a call for photos in different color schemes. “Show us something green from the travel pics on your phone. The more random the better.”

I enjoyed scrolling through the random photos. This one appealed to me for our week’s prompt. The photo comes from Crystal Bridges Museum in Bentonville, AR taken by Aimée Dominique.

Would you like to try a new form? My student Chloe invented a form she calls a Penta-poem with the syllable count of 5,4,3,2,1,2,3,4,5. She also thought about calling it an hourglass poem because the resulting poem looks like an hour glass.

Please share your poem drafts in the comments and write encouraging replies on other poems.

A maze of red hills
dancing landscape
ribbon stream
Seuss-like
dream
wonder
fantasy
hallway jungle
unique artistry

Margaret Simon, draft

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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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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’m in my second week of teaching, and it’s going pretty well, despite the weather which has been churned up by Tropical Storm Beta. Dreaming of travel, I took notice of Paula Bourque’s pictures from Maine. She’s taking day-adventures with her husband. This was her message on Sunday:

Mornings are filled with meaningful lessons. They show me that everything changes and moves on. If I can embrace that, I can be open to new wonders and stop wishing for what was, to always be. Life is change.
Sunday sermon over.

Paula Bourque, Facebook post

Paula is the author of Spark! Quick Writes to Kindle Hearts and Minds in Elementary Classrooms. We met at NCTE last year when I was the “chair” of her round table session. She presented ways to use images to prompt quick writes in the classroom. So here I am, full circle, using one of her photos as a prompt for a quick write.

Sunrise at Gardiner Landing by Paula Bourque

Leave a small poem in the comments or jot one in your journal. If you share, please respond to other writers with encouraging words.

I would like to be remembered*
as someone who softened things
like the still, blue surface
of a lake at dawn.

Margaret Simon, draft
  • words from a Ruth Bader Ginsburg quote, “I would like to be remembered as someone who used whatever talent she had to do her work to the very best of her ability.”

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These first days of school have been exhausting. Yet I am happy to be doing what I am meant to do. When I get home, I mindlessly scroll through my Facebook feed. I love posts that relax my brain, beautiful landscapes, quotes, flowers…

This one caught my eye. I haven’t seen these colors yet. Dianne Dempsey-Legnon posted this wistful message, “It’s almost here. Looking forward to the crunch of leaves under my feet, the crackle of a fireplace, and cinnamon in my hot tea.” Ah, yes! With all the back to school prep, I forgot that the season is changing. Fall will come.

Photo taken on Pig Trail outside of Hot Springs, Arkansas by Dianne Dempsey-Legnon, 2019

In the comments, post a small poem inspired by the photo. Please comment on other writers with encouraging words.

Fall in the air
makes me sneeze.
Mumbled through a cloth mask,
you say, Bless you
and mean it.

Margaret Simon, draft

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Today’s posts will be gathered at Karen’s Blog.

I’ve been raising monarchs. See this post. I am also planning for hybrid teaching, some in person, some virtual. Finding my direction through these tasks has challenged me in new ways.

Male monarch by Judy Rizzo

The word alchemy came across my radar. I found this definition: “a seemingly magical process of transformation, creation, or combination.” The process of metamorphosis is alchemy and in many ways, so is the way we have to teach this year. I decided to mine alchemist for words using Wordmaker. Following a poetic process created by April Halprin Wayland, I wrote a poem that probably doesn’t make sense to anybody but me. Let’s just say, finding my direction through this unique school year has taken some proactive effort. (The words from Wordmaker are in bold.)

Finding Direction

Connect line by line, etch
a trail through calm
worry, eyes that smile
despite each
new hurdle to scale.
Raise the latch
and release butterfly-mail
to the gods of ethics
Teach.

Margaret Simon, draft
Monarch in olive tree by Judy Rizzo

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