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Archive for the ‘Photography’ Category

During this pandemic stay-at-home time, new symbols are emerging. One of them is the banana, a staple in many homes is now ripening into home cooked banana bread. Repurposing food is comforting. Creating a recipe from scratch gives you something to do, something wholesome to accomplish.

Today’s photo appeared on my Facebook feed. A friend and neighbor, Susan Edmunds posted a photo that captured a light beam coming through the window. She gave me permission to publish the photo this week as a poetry muse.

Bananas by Susan Hester Edmunds

A glow of light
nourishes, comforts,
sustains health
and hope.

Margaret Simon, draft

Write your own small poem in the comments. Please comment to a few other poets.

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Welcome back to This Photo…a low stakes writing prompt. Don’t think too long and hard about this. Whatever comes is good. Leave a small poem of 15 words or so in the comments. Read other poems and leave a supportive comment. That’s it. Poetry brain practice!

Clouds by Jone MacCulloch
Wispy clouds by Margaret Simon

I love to notice clouds. Cloud photos never quite come out as well as what you truly see. What can you imagine in the clouds? Look up. Just notice. Take a moment to be present.

Cloud goddess
flies her kite,
a ballet dance
on Spring’s serene
sky-stage.

Margaret Simon, draft

Check in on the Kidlit Progressive Poem that is going on an adventure today to Haiti with Ruth.

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Watching. Noticing. Listening. There’s more time for being more aware these days. More aware of the nuances of nature.

Welcome to another This Photo wants to be a Poem episode. Observe. Notice. Research, if you will. Then write about 15 words or so as a snippet of a poem. Leave comments on other poems.

My neighbor has been posting pictures of her century plant almost daily for the last few weeks. I’d never heard of one before, but a century plant blooms once in its lifetime. And hers is about to bloom. Patience is keeping us waiting.

Century plant with moon, photo by Anne Darrah

I commented on one of her photos that this plant needed to be a poem. I can spend (waste) a lot of time down a research rabbit hole. Here are some quick bullets copied from Google about this plant.

  • Although it is called the century plant, Agave Americana typically lives only 10 to 30 years. It has a spread around 6–10 ft (1.8–3.0 m) with gray-green leaves of 3–5 ft (0.9–1.5 m) long, each with a prickly margin and a heavy spike at the tip that can pierce deeply.
  • Although century plants are quite long-lived — though not nearly as long as their name would suggest — they die right after flowering. As soon as flowers set seed and drop, the plant withers and dies.
  • The plant is called the “century plant” because of this “once a century” bloom (actually the plant lives an average of 25 years).
  • Agave plants are easy to grow, but they do have a few “needs” to thrive. They need at least 6 hours of direct sun and well-drained soils. Planting in well-drained soil is particularly important in preventing root rot, especially in North Florida where cooler winter temperatures may add stress to your plant.
  • The massive flower clusters (1-8 m long) are borne at the top of a very robust flowering stem.
Century plant taken 4/14/20 by Anne Darrah
Century plant full view, photo by Anne Darrah

Once in a Lifetime

Stairway to heaven,
one step at a time,
blossoms in the sky!

Margaret Simon, draft

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This week as we continue to shelter at home, I’m encouraged by the families with young children spending quality time together. My neighbors have three boys (God bless them), and they live with her parents, so their house is full. I watch through my kitchen window each night as they emerge for their evening activities of bike riding, skateboarding, and chalk drawing.

When I saw Jen’s photo of her youngest covered in chalk, I asked permission to use it here. To me, it was begging to be a poem. This low stakes writing invites you to quick-write a poem of 15 words or fewer to capture your impression of the image. Leave your poem in the comments and try to come back to comment on other poems.

Chalking fun by Jen Reynolds

Chalk-a-bration*

Barefoot is best
when creating
a sidewalk
masterpiece.

Margaret Simon, draft
*This term was started by Betsy Hubbard of the Two Writing Teachers

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I have been following #verselove on Ethical ELA. On Tuesday, teacher-poet Gayle Sands posted a selection of photographs to use for prompts for ekphrasis, poetry about art. I love how looking at art or photography can lead you to a poem, and many times to something unexpected.

Linda Mitchell and I are writing partners in a Sunday night critique group. After I wrote my poem to an image of Alice Paul, I found her poem, a golden shovel about the same photo. I asked Linda’s permission to post her poem along with mine. I think it shows how poets can take a different perspective.

The photo reminded me of my great grandmother who died just shy of her 100th birthday. While mine was more descriptive of the photo, Linda included historical information about Alice Paul and the Sewall-Belmont House.

I always feel the movement is a sort of mosaic.

   ~Alice Paul  to Woodrow Wilson May 2019

The gentlemen from Illinois and Texas, I
am certain, have lost their minds. Women have always
made way for men. It’s 1968. We feel
strength in Sewall-Belmont House since 1929. The
National Women’s Party movement
headquarters is a landmark, it is
not simply ground to lay gravel for a
new Senate driveway on Capitol Hill. What sort
of message does that send to the daughters of
our work? It would destroy the heart of our mosaic

© Linda Mitchell

4/7/20 #verselove

“There will never be a new world order until women are a part of it.”
Alice Paul (1885-1977)

 Alice Paul at Belmont House, 1972.

Alice Paul

Small but fierce
they’d say
about this woman
who wouldn’t be dared.
Hands on hips, head held
high as a carved marble statue
on a pedestal.

Like my great grandmother,
Alice Paul stood in white eyelet
eyes set straight, focused
on the photographer’s lens
like a beam of light daring
him to say,
“Smile!”

Margaret Simon, draft 2020

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Poetry Friday round-up is with Heidi at My Juicy Little Universe.

For this first Friday of the month, my Sunday Poetry Swagger group writes together to a shared prompt. This month Linda Mitchell suggested the Poets.org #ShelterinPoems project. I decided to do an “after” poem from poet Barbara Crooker’s April poem that she posted on her Facebook page. I love Barbara’s writing, how it flows beautifully line to line.

BIG LOVE
I’d been traveling and missed this spring’s shy
unfolding. So when I returned, it was as if
a magician had walked around the yard
with a glossy black wand: Pow! Lilacs,
purple, white, wine-colored; scent to rock you
back on your heels. Bam! Dogwoods,
a cotillion of butterflies on bare black branches.
Shazam! Peonies exploding, great bombshells
of fragrance and silk. Tada! A rainbow row
of irises, blossoms shooting from green stalks.
Azaleas! Rhododendrons!. Everywhere I look,
the yard is ready to send its bombs bursting in air.
So push down the plunger! Let every twig and stem
erupt into flowers. Soon, it will be June, and all
of this opulence will be spent confetti littering
the lawn. I’m standing here, slack-jawed
and gob-smacked, shell-shocked into love.
Out by the bird bath, one by one, the poppies
slip their green pods, slowly detonate
into silent flame.
~Barbara Crooker

Bayou Sunset (photo by Margaret Simon)

Backyard Spring

I’ve been sheltering and missed this spring’s green
beginning. So when I walked out, it was as if
Jack had been by with his magical beans: Bada-bing! Cypress
needles feathered like peacocks showing wings; emerald
out of the blue. Bravo! Clover, a-dime-a-dozen flaunting
purple lily-like miniatures. Good heavens! The wisteria vine
drapes around, around. Everywhere I look,
the yard is ready to dance the day away.
So grab your partner! Take a two-step (six feet apart)
and let the green lawn party commence. I’ll invite
the wood ducks, squirrels, and herons. Set up
swing-back camp chairs. Out by the bayou, we’ll watch
the sunset draw orange curtains
into silent flame.

Margaret Simon, after Barbara Crooker
Clover on the lawn (photo by Margaret Simon)

Swagger Group #ShelterinPoems

Linda Mitchell at A Word Edgewise
Heidi Mordhorst at My Juicy Little Universe
Molly Hogan at Nix the Comfort Zone
Catherine Flynn at Reading to the Core

Check in on the Progressive Poem with Jone today.
Poem read aloud on the bayou with ideas for writing your own poem.

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I have a confession to make. I forgot to post this today. When I started this weekly prompt, I decided to do it on Thursdays because that’s the day Laura Purdie Salas would post her 15 Words or Less prompt. Thursdays felt right.

In this time of every-day-is-just-like-the-last, I forgot it was Thursday. The good news is my caterpillar has started to pupate. This monarch caterpillar was hanging on to a milkweed plant I bought last weekend. When I found the little thing, I put the whole plant into the butterfly net. Yesterday I couldn’t find the caterpillar. I looked and looked and finally saw that it was curled up under a leaf.

Please write a small poem (15 words or so) in the comments. Support other writers by commenting on their poems. I don’t know about you, but I’m feeling a definite kinship with this caterpillar.

Curled up
in the blanket
of your love,
I will emerge
renewed.

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 started my post this morning and then some exciting life things happened, so here I am rewriting.

I took a morning walk as usual and collected some beauty from my neighbor’s yard.

I got a text from Paulette. Paulette has three wood duck houses, and she had exciting news.

When I got back home, I checked our Ring doorbell camera. We have a wood duck house with a camera mounted on the roof, so we can watch the goings-on inside the house. For 30 days, it’s been quite boring. She sits and sits and sits. But this morning I opened the app, and this is what I saw!


The photo is blurry, but you can see some black blobs. Those are baby chicks! I was so excited! Wood ducks hatch all in one day and then jump from the box the next day. I hope to be posting tomorrow about a successful Jump Day.

With all this new life happening, I decided I needed to get my butterfly garden in order. I went to Lowe’s and got some plants, two milkweed plants. Well, look at this little baby crawling on one of my plants!

He is safely inside our back porch in a butterfly net. In Louisiana, we call this lagniappe, a little something extra.

And here’s a picture of my butterfly garden, weeded and mulched. Y’all, I’m exhausted!

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Welcome back to This Photo Wants to be a Poem, a low stress way to wake up your creativity by writing and sharing a short poem. Please leave your poem in the comments and encourage other writers by writing comments on other poems. We are not looking for brilliance here, just a playful way to be writers together.

by Molly Hogan

This photo seems to want to be a whole story. Who was here? What was he or she doing? Could it be an artist’s still life?

Buried Treasure

With shovel and ax.
we poke and dig
while gold lies
in the search.

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.

Yesterday I read Sally Donnelly’s post about choosing a color to represent this time. She quoted an artist who represented the 9/11 tragedy with the color blue. Read her post here.

I started thinking about the color I would pick, and it has to be green. This is the time of year when green appears in all its amazing shades in my backyard. The cypress trees are bursting with a bright neon green.

Looking up through the cypress trees

Live oak trees lose their leaves in the spring as new leaves emerge.

Grandmother Live Oak bursting with spring growth

I am passing my stay-at-home time on my back deck, listening to wind chimes and watching for the occasional boat. And sometimes a poem comes. Using Irene Latham’s prompt from Laura Shovan’s #Waterpoemproject, I wrote this quick ditty.

Bayou Side

Buzzing
Hovering
Fat hungry bumblebee

Roaring
Speeding
Wave-jumping motor boat

Paddling
Parting
Water-whispering canoe

Sparkling
Greening
Spring-loving cypress trees

Margaret Simon, draft
“water-whispering canoe”

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