Archive for the ‘Poetry’ Category

Welcome to a weekly Wednesday photo poetry prompt. If you’d like to get this in your inbox each week, please subscribe to my blog. Join in the community by writing a small poem in the comments and encouraging other writers with your comments.

Today’s photo is one I took at my daughter’s house last weekend. I had returned her two children from a morning at the museum and was getting ready to leave when I saw the shoes posing. Perhaps my daughter had placed them there, but more likely it was Stella who, at the age of two, likes a certain order to things. Her mother was like that, sorting all the cans in the cabinet by size and color at a very young age. She gets that from her father, and her father gets it from his mother. I once took a personality test that labeled me “abstract random” and my husband as “concrete sequential.”

No matter what type of order your keep or don’t, this photo is sure to charm you into writing something. At Ethical ELA this week we wrote a Pile of Good Things poem. I think I could add “Three pairs of shoes all in a row” to my pile.

Photo by Margaret Simon (permission to freely use)

These shoes have seen
the hills of North Carolina
and the backyards of Louisiana
but they are most happy
lined side by side on a bench
in the home where they belong.

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.
Art by Leo, left, and Stella, right from “Let’s Make Art” activity at the Hilliard Museum.

On the campus of ULL (University of Louisiana at Lafayette) there is a beautiful museum, The Hilliard. Saturday they held a drop in art activity for kids 4 and up. I showed up with Leo, 4, and Stella, 2, and they were the only children there. They had the full attention of the artist instructor.

I was amazed by the focus of both kids on this activity. From the flyers on the table, I realized it was meant to be a quilting activity. There were shapes cut out of various papers. However, Leo immediately grabbed the scissors and started cutting the shapes to his liking and building a 3 dimensional motorcycle. I glued it down for him on the white “quilt piece,” and he continued to add to it a winner’s banner and a man riding (notice the skinny yellow strip sitting on the motorcycle.)

Stella was happy enough to glue and glue and glue. The artist taught her how to put the glue on the back and turn the paper over and press it down. We were also able to freely roam the current art exhibits. It was a great way to spend a rainy cold Saturday morning.

Today, at Ethical ELA Open Write, Stefanie Boutelier is teaching us how to use technology in poetry with a wonderful prompt and model poem “A Pile of Good Things”. You should follow the link and see what it’s all about. Here is my pile:

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Delcambre (pronounced Del-comb) is about 20 minutes south of New Iberia. On Sunday evening, we attended a fundraising dinner for the seafood market. I even ate a piece of fried alligator which tasted a lot like fried chicken. We were there to support my cousin Andrew as he participates in a plein air (painting outside) competition. There will be more posts about this later.

Today I want to introduce you to Markavian. I don’t know him, and I’m not sure that’s how to spell his name, but when I took his picture, he proudly told me what his name was. He was beaming from having caught a huge catfish right off the dock. I asked permission to take his picture. There is so much that I love about this picture. His smile. The largest catfish I’ve ever seen. And how it captures the attitude of a fisherman. My husband says that our newspaper’s sports section is usually just men holding fish. It’s true fishing is a big time sport around here. Perhaps Markavian was competing with his brothers. There seemed to be a family in the background, and I caught him just as he was about to go show off his catch of the day.

Catch of the Day, photo by Margaret Simon

Yesterday was Pi Day, so my students and I wrote Pi-Ku, which is a small poem based on the number 3.14. Please leave your own small poem in the comments and encourage other writers with your responses.

Catch of the Day

Boy’s pride smile
largest catfish

Margaret Simon, pi-ku draft
Thank you to Two Writing Teachers for creating an amazing community of writers and a safe, welcoming space to write and share.

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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 don’t think you should call me a word nerd, because at my age, I have trouble finding them hiding way back in the recesses of my brain, especially names. Last night I was trying to tell my husband about a place, and I said “It starts with an H.” Then it came to me a few minutes later “Rawhide!”

“That starts with an H, right?”

But seriously, who doesn’t love a good word for something. I wanted to start a collection of good words, so I decorated a marbleized journal and subscribed to the daily Word of the Day from Merriam Webster. Today’s word is gallivant. What a great word. I love the way it sounds. Out of the confines of Covid, I think many of us would love to gallivant around the country, freely wandering from place to place. It just sounds like such a regal and carefree word, doesn’t it?

My friend and writing partner in my writing group, the Inklings, Heidi Mordhorst, invented a wonderful poetic form for defining a word and playing with the sounds of it–the definito.

The definito is a free verse poem of 8-12 lines (aimed at readers 8-12 years old) that highlights wordplay as it demonstrates the meaning of a less common word, which always ends the poem.

Heidi Mordhorst

I save words that I like and every once in a while write a definto.

Flirtatious Definito

A dance in intricate lace,
draped over smooth shoulder,
ribbons flow
as 3-inch heels
reveal a quick flick
of bare ankles–
A dance of coy coquetry


Margaret Simon, 2023

If you have a favorite word, perhaps you’ll try a definito. Tag me in your post if you do.

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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.

February was a month of drafting poems every day. I participated in Laura Shovan’s February Poetry Project on Facebook as well as Open Write on Ethical ELA. I usually draft a poem in one sitting. Put it into a document. Wait a few days. Read it again. Edit/revise and send it off to my critique group or leave it be. Not all drafts are meant to be seen by others.

My notebook is full of starts and stops, meandering, words, ideas…

This morning is dark. Time changed and I haven’t adjusted.

There’s this draft sitting in my notebook from February 25th. The prompt came from Lind Baie, but I didn’t finish the poem. What I had written were the titles of four songs that she had posted from old sheet music to prompt our writing. Two stanzas were done quickly on the day of the prompt. I wrote the other two yesterday. And now on this early Monday morning, I’m going to put it out there for you to see. As I wrote the draft into my blog post, I completed it with the last line connecting each stanza together as song lyrics. It’s still a draft, but it pleased me to finish it.

Sheet music, Linda Baie

It Feels Like Three O’Clock in the Morning

We don’t Dance until Three O’clock in the Morning.
On dancing nights, we’re in bed by ten,
still swirling from the twirls of the two-step.
Late afternoon, early evening dance date.

We don’t go to 20 All-Time Hit Parades.
We find a spot in a green space, hang for one or two,
catch a few beads, eat a bite of King Cake, cheer
for the queens on the floats–
A slow-paced family Mardi Gras.

I don’t Know Enough about You to say
“you are beautiful” out loud, but I see
your smile and that single left dimple
and wish I could. You are, you know,

Five Minutes More, just five more–
Set the timer, play the chimes,
I am free to write,
a clean white page with a new
purple pen is singing me a song.

Margaret Simon, draft

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The neighborhood I live in used to be known as Paradise Woods. My husband tells me when he was a teenager, it was a popular spot for “parking”. When I walk, I cross over an empty lot to get to another street. Whose land is this? I often wonder. What was here before?

I’ve heard tales that this space was once a dairy farm. Cattle farming was common for early French settlers in southern Acadiana, where we live in Louisiana. Either the LaSalle family or the Daigles owned this property, likely using it as farm land. It’s all legend now. I love thinking about the history of this little walkway as it leads me under a beautiful cedar tree. Who walked this field 100 years ago? We’re all visitors for a short time. If the concrete could talk…

Where the sidewalk ends, photo by Margaret Simon

In the early morn
before the sun rises
before my work day begins,
before the houses wake,
I walk across this path
more sure-footed on solid concrete–
A path that leads to an old cedar tree,
planted by a farmer making shade
for his cattle. I speak to his ghost
and thank him for his hard work,
his dedication to the land,
and his kindness to those
who’ll pass here again

Margaret Simon, flash draft

Every week I invite you to write with me about an image. This post is also a Slice of Life post for this month’s daily challenge at Two Writing Teachers. If you stop by, leave a small poem in the comments and return the favor of reading other poem offerings and writing encouraging words. This is a safe place to write. No judgement allowed. Consider following my blog to get this weekly prompt in your inbox.

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

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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.

Welcome to Day One of the 2023 Slice of Life Challenge. This challenge occurs every year during the month of March. Writing every day is good exercise for a writer. This challenge is sponsored by the Two Writing Teachers, a blog site for writing teachers. They post essays about the teaching of writing, but in March, it’s all about the teachers themselves who understand that being a teacher who writes strengthens the teaching of writing. We are a community of peers. Comments are welcome and encouraged. Comments are the sideline cheers for a marathon runner.

I decided for Lent this year I would read a page in the Bible and then write. I’m not committed to sharing each of these journal scribblings, but I’m starting off today with one.

I have been with you wherever you went and have cut off all your enemies from before you, and I will make for you a great name.

2 Samuel 7:9

Azalea Lane

I have planted you
in the clay soil of Louisiana.
Most of the year, like Persephone,
you are perfect, leafless, waiting.
You look dormant, dead, but
on the first day of March,
you blossom
and shine
like a pink sunrise
saying to the world,
“I’m here!
I’m wonderful!
I’m beautiful!”

I welcome March, a month of transformation from winter to spring, transformation through the daily practice of shared writing. Thanks for reading.

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Today, Ash Wednesday, feels like a day for an open field, a sunrise, a few clouds. My body is tired. As they say around here, I Did Mardi Gras. Every day– Saturday to Fat Tuesday. I welcome the rest, the coming down from a party hearty high to a calm cloudy Lent. I invite you to peacefulness, to look to the fallow fields for solace and grace.

Sunrise Field by Margaret Simon (You may use this photo.)

am still
staring out
toward the field,
fallow and fertile
whispering to the wind
secrets of stillness and peace
believing that time can heal wounds
believing strong faith starts with good soil.

Margaret Simon, draft

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My fellow Inkling, writing partner Molly Hogan has the round up today at Nix the Comfort Zone.

I surprise myself. Every day this month there is a new prompt with the theme of “Story” in Laura Shovan’s February project. Every day I am invited to write a poem. Intimidating? Totally. Scary? You bet. Comforting? Always.

I discover over and over again that writing in a community of poets is a safe and accepting place to be. I need to just get over my little ego voice and jump in.

This week Buffy Silverman put up a prompt with these images she’s allowing us to share. She asked us to write about gatherings.

You would think I’d write something about nature. But all that was on my mind was the fact that my brother had texted that he wants to come visit. He has not had a weekend off in a long time, and the last time he visited was for my daughter’s wedding in 2017. My poem written on the spot was about the joy of trying to fit everyone into our house. This is one of those drafts that will likely remain a draft, but I had fun writing it. I forget sometimes that writing should be fun.

Sleeping Arrangements

Add a brother-uncle to the mix
complicates the sleeping arrangements.
He should get the guest room because he’s the guest.
Children can sleep anywhere, except they can’t.
They require a confinement misnomered “Pack & Play”
more like “Stuff and Sleep,” and don’t forget to turn on
the sound machine. There must be a night light,
but nothing too bright.
Cow has to be in the far right corner
while silky covers her face.
Now the 3-year-old has figured out how to climb out,
so he needs an adult in the room nearby.

I tell them “Come! Come!”
We will figure it out
because all my loves in one house
is Everything to me.

Margaret Simon, flash draft

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And now, folks, for something different. I’ve been working on a collage that I thought I was going to use as a prompt in Laura Shovan’s February project, but another idea came to me. I decided to offer it to you today as a photo prompt.

Collage work is intriguing to me. I cut out images that evoke some emotion in me and build it like a puzzle. I feel like my response poem will be different from yours because I have spent more time with it. Although, as I type this, I haven’t written a poem yet.

Think about the story that is happening in the collage as though it was a magazine photo. Interview the woman. Who is she? Where is she? Why is she there? Or take a more descriptive stance. Describe the scene using your senses. Whatever you decide, please share a bit with us. Remember this is quick draft writing, so leave only encouraging comments to others.

Magazine collage by Margaret Simon

Fire Girl

My adventures usually begin in my mind.
I wander the savannah, discover beauty,
feel the rush of adrenaline…

Then there is the mountain to climb,
the people I may leave behind,
so I settle in, next to our small fire
and thumb pages to find my bookmark.

Margaret Simon, draft

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