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Archive for the ‘Photography’ Category

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

I have subscribed to the National Geographic newsletter. One of these days I will break down and pay the subscription fee for full access because the images and articles are so inspiring. This one included photographs taken all around the world during the pandemic selected to express “how we deal.” My prompt for my students: select a photograph and take words from the text descriptions to write a poem. And I wrote, too.

I chose a photograph of a pregnant woman. My daughter found out she was pregnant around this day a year ago. I was drawn to the woman. Having a child during a pandemic can bring about heightened anxiety. As the grandmother, I felt the joy.

A moment
is all it takes
to cancel
close
lockdown.

A test
of our humanity
our hunger
our resilience.

We cannot close our eyes, blind-out reality.

To grow a life
inside a womb,
nourish and protect,
celebrate its birth– there is somewhere

to go, to be
with a moment,
comforted and belonging
to the insanity
of things.

Margaret Simon, draft
Baby toes, photo by Margaret Simon

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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.

Saturday brought warmer winds and time. My husband suggested a paddle on the bayou. Living on the Bayou Teche, we try to take opportunities to go out in the canoe. We know that too often we are too busy, or it’s too hot, or too cold, or too ___ fill-in-the-blank.

Our paddle to the East–
soft breeze,
flock of yellow-crown night herons,
waves to friends on their back porch.
Stop for a beer break, turn back toward the sunset.
sun majestic on the water,
an Eagle sighting,
simple beauty.

Eagle over Bayou Teche at sunset, photo by Margaret Simon (iPhone)

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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.

This photo was an impulse photo, like an impulse buy in the grocery store at the check out line. I was walking in the cold of the early morning and making a wish for warmer days. I know I’ll get my wish soon enough, but 41 degrees is chilly, and frankly, I’m tired of having to put on layers for my walk. I almost tripped over this patch of clover.

Where did it come from? How does it know it’s time to bloom? When everything else is still brown? So I stopped, grabbed my phone with my stinging cold fingers and took a picture. I think my wish worked because the day warmed up to 70 without a cloud in the sky. Spring is coming slowly but surely.

Clover by Margaret Simon

Secret starbursts proud
emerging from a green cloud
Harbinger of spring.

Margaret Simon, draft

The way this works: Look at the photo for inspiration and write a small poem in the comments. Leave encouraging comments to other writers by replying to their poems. Let your mind wander. No pressure.

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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.

Each week I invite writers to join me in a quick write about a photograph. This is the first week of the Slice of Life Challenge, so if you are a slicer, I want to extend this inspiration/invitation to you, too. If this is something you’d like to do weekly, subscribe to my blog.

Here’s how it works. Use the image to inspire a small poem. Leave your poem in the comments. Respond to other writers with positive feedback. That’s it. Easy peasy. No pressure. We are just exercising our writing muscle. When I write this post, I participate in the same way. I never write a poem ahead of time. My poem is quick and drafty.

I took this week’s photo Saturday night as we were leaving a lovely outdoor dinner with friends. It was close to 10 PM, and I was struck by how much light the moon gave off.

Iphone photo by Margaret Simon

On a clear night
you can see all the way
to the moon,
God’s streetlight.

Margaret Simon, draft

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Buffy Silverman is a children’s author-poet and a new friend because of an Artist’s Way group that meets each week. She lives near a lake in Michigan and finds her sacred space in the nature and quietude there. I reviewed her latest book On a Snow-Melting Day here. She’s currently offering a giveaway on Twitter.

I found Buffy’s image on Facebook. I was drawn to the composition within the bare tree branches. Please join me today by posting your own small poem in the comments. Encourage other writers in the comments.

Photo by Buffy Silverman

Tufted titmouse,
snowball fluff,
twitter me a song.
My day’s been rough.

Margaret Simon, draft

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Join this weekly photo poetry prompt community by leaving a poem in the comments.

This has been a frigid week in the deep south. The ice storm has caused widespread power outage and water loss. Our home was without power for 12 hours. Our house plumbing is fine, but my husband’s office had a burst pipe. Southerners just aren’t equipped to handle this extreme cold for an extended period of time. The temperature rose to 36 degrees yesterday, but we are staying home from school due to low water pressure.

But ice can be beautiful. My friend and poetry writing group partner Molly Hogan lives in Maine, so she is well-versed in cold. She is also an amazing photographer. She recently posted photos of ice on plants and this one she claimed as her favorite. I can see why. There’s a poem waiting there. Leave your own small poem in the comments and respond to others with kindness and encouragement.

Frozen bud by Molly Hogan

There is beauty in a single moment,
tresures in a whisper,
A world waiting
in an ice-encased atom.

Margaret Simon, draft

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If you are a reader of my blog, you know that I love spending time with my grandchildren. A few weeks ago I took Leo to visit his great grandmother. We wandered around her backyard. Minga picked a camellia, a common winter flower here in the South. She handed the beautiful pink blossom to Leo. He held it out to me and pointed up, “Tree!” So, of course, I placed the flower into the tree. Off went Leo, satisfied and ready to romp across the yard.

Camellia blossom in an oak tree. Photo by Margaret Simon

With a line borrowed from Ellen Bass, I offer this small poem. Leave your own poem in the comments. Please encourage other writers with response to their poem-gifts.

The thing is
to love life,

to hold a flower
in your hands,
and then give it
away.

Margaret Simon, draft

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I have followed Kate Messner for years and have many of her wonderful books for middle grade readers. Kate is a real person, as well as an author-hero, who lives on Lake Champlain. Too cold for my southern blood, but she posted photos on her Instagram recently of ice flowers. Kate wrote a blog post about this phenomenon on her website here.

Natural beauty that comes with scientific facts fascinates and inspires me. I tend to dive into googling and wonder. Here is an interesting article from American Scientist. There seems to be controversy or conversation, rather, about what to call this amazing phenomenon. Frost flowers, frost weed, or frost plant, these winter blooms are sure to inspire some small poems.

Lake Champlain Sunrise, Photo by Kate Messner
Ice flowers by Kate Messner

(I tried a zeno poem today with the syllable pattern of 8,4,2,1,4,2,1,4,2,1 with all one syllables rhyming.)

Displayed on a black lake blanket
diamond blossoms
gemstones
nice
beauty hidden
stinging
ice
golden morning
winter
spice

Margaret Simon, draft

Leave a small poem in the comments. Be sure to connect with other writers by leaving comments on their poems.

Kate celebrated World Read Aloud Day today with a video of amazing authors reading from their books. Click here to find the video on her website.

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Welcome to a weekly writing prompt. The steps are easy, if you choose to try them. Listen to your muse. Write a small poem in the comments. Leave encouraging responses to other writers. This is a safe and sacred place to write. Begin.

Butterweed by Margaret Simon. I took this photo on my iPhone using the app Camera+ 2.
Cypress knee with butterweed, photo by Margaret Simon

I took these photos in my backyard on Bayou Teche in Louisiana. These are wild flowers known as butterweed that grow before my yard man (husband) has a chance to mow. Sometimes he will mow around them because he knows I love them. They offer a bright spot in a winter yard of bare cypress trees and brown lawn. Here’s a bit of research I found.

Weary of its winter bed
bursts of yellow whisper
secrets of Eos.*

Margaret Simon, draft *Goddess of dawn

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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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