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Archive for the ‘Poetry’ Category

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

Last week fellow poet-blogger Patricia Franz taught me how to make videos on Canva. It’s so easy that my students picked up on it pretty quickly. I had to do some of the audio and adjusting time on each image, but they were able to add elements, text, and record their own voices.

I will be sharing this lesson this week at NCTE in a session I am giving called “Are Your Words Like My Words: Accessing Your Inner Light Through Poetry” on Thursday at 11:00 AM. I’m excited to be presenting live, in person again and alongside two of my favorite poets, Laura Shovan and Mary lee Hahn.

My book Bayou Song opens with an I am poem, I am a Beckoning Brown Bayou. I projected this poem for my students. We discussed the alliteration of the opening line and how each line begins with an I + action. They selected their own topic and wrote their own poems. Here is a link to the Google doc I am form.

I am a Cypress Tree, Sincere in my Surroundings by Avalyn, 3rd grade and Mrs. Simon
I’m a Big, Bouncy Bubble by Brayden, 3rd grade
I’m a Big, Brown Box Turtle by Adelyn, 4th grade

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Poetry Friday is hosted today by Buffy Silverman.

This post is dedicated to the memory of my father, Dr. John Y Gibson. In 2013 to celebrate his 80th birthday, we created a book together. Illuminate features ten of his Christmas card drawings alongside my poems. Today would be his 89th birthday. He passed away on April 22, 2022.

Patricia Franz offered to teach some of us bloggers how to use Canva to make videos. I forgot all about the Zoom meeting on Monday, but she graciously recorded it and sent me a link. I decided to make a video with some of my father’s drawings and a poem I wrote for him in 2008. It’s my first attempt, but Canva and Patricia’s guidance made it fairly easy to do. Thanks, Patricia.

Light comes out of darkness. As an artist, I want to tell you that in my ink drawings it is the darkest dark that reveals the brightest light. So it seems also in life.

John Y. Gibson
A poem video “My Father’s Drawing” by Margaret Simon

My Father’s Drawing

Dots of ink and graphite rise in tension with paper
to form a likeness of mother and child.
The wild contrast of darks to light
plays in harmony creating a vision of love.

In the meantime, I grew up,
became a mother with children
living away from my father.
His words came to me in thank you notes
and birthday cards, an occasional phone call.

Yet everyday, I look at his drawing–
the dots of pointillism reach out from the wall
and grant me an audience
with his grateful praise.

Margaret Simon, Illuminate

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In most parts of the northern hemisphere, fall is a time when leaves change hue and fall getting ready for the dormancy of winter. But here in the deep south of Cajun country, the prairie goes to seed. My friend and neighbor James Edmunds recently photographed fields of prairie grasses. I was attracted to the starlike seed pods of this one.

On Instagram, James wrote, “The Cajun Prairie project in Eunice right now is in a beautiful post-flowering, going-to-seed stage. The perimeter can be walked on nice sidewalks and gives views into a wide variety of native grasses!” To see more, I found a website for Cajun Prairie Habitat Preservation. It does my nature-loving heart good to see there are organizations dedicated to preservation and restoration of natural land.

Cajun Prairie Grass by James Edmunds

Prairie grass sashays
replanting, replenishing
starlike seedlings soar

Margaret Simon, haiku draft

Write your own small poem in the comments and support other writers with comments. Thanks!

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I love how both students and poet participants are on the look out for photos that want to be poems. Last week I featured a sunset photo taken by a third grader. This week Karen Eastlund sent me an interesting photo from her garden. She said they planted milkweed hoping for monarchs. I have recently found 3 monarch caterpillars on my own milkweed. Two of them were on volunteer milkweed that had planted itself in a crack of concrete near my air-conditioner units. I’m so glad I left it there growing wild and free like the weed it is meant to be. Thanks Karen for this amazing photo of a milkweed seed pod, open, soft, and free.

Milkweed seed pods, Karen Eastlund

Seed pod opens
to the morning sun
waiting for a wisp of wind
to carry feather-soft seedlings
to the sky.
Plant me upon your pinwheel
and carry me along.

Margaret Simon, draft

Please leave a small poem draft in the comments. Come back, if you can, to write encouraging comments for other writers. Happy Hump Day!

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This week’s photo is from my student Brayden. Over the weekend I got a text from his mom. First came the photo. Then she wrote, “Brayden took this picture and wants to write a poem about it.”

I think my eyes welled up. I won’t go into the whole history of Brayden for privacy’s sake, but this felt like a turning point to me, not only in his writing life, but also in his relationship with me (and all things School). What teacher wouldn’t want a student to look at a beautiful sunset and think about poetry? It’s a first for me.

Sunset glow
Traffic flow
I hope you know
I’m coming home.

Margaret Simon, draft

Please leave a small poem in the comments. Try to respond with encouragement to other writers.

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Our friend Molly loves to rise early and with camera in hand, head to the nearest water source. Morning light illuminated some mysterious bubbles on her recent excursion. I marvel at her photography skills and her ability to see beauty. Let’s take a moment to stand in awe, to see beauty, to feel alive.

Write a small poem in the comments and respond with encouragement to other writers.

Bubbles by Molly Hogan

Just below surface
mysterious, magical
breath of life bubbles

Margaret Simon, draft

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I try to get outside early in the morning for a walk, often before the sun rises. On my path is a grove of fruit trees. I watch these trees as the season slowly changes to fall. Trees seem to know even before we can feel the air temperature change that fall is on its way. I know the slant of light changes and all that, but I just wish for a little cooler breeze. My husband always says that satsumas (oranges) ripen around the time of the first report card. I wrote a modern haiku in honor of the wet green fruit. Please take a moment to write a small poem in the comments and support other writers.

green fruit by Margaret Simon

Sweet fruit of the earth
Taste of rain, taste of sun
Abundantly enough

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.

The decorating theme at one of my schools this year is books, so I chose to depict one of my favorite books, The Dot. I celebrate Dot Day every year with my students, but this year I adopted the whole school, sort of. I sent out an invitation to teachers to sign up to send 4 kids to my room at recess time. (I only have 4 chairs around a single table.) I had wonderful participation and have had so much fun working with a variety of grade levels. With the older kids I opened up sets of watercolors and set out paper plate dots. For the younger ones, I gave them a coffee filter to decorate with markers. I then sprayed them with water so that the ink spread for a cool looking result.

With my gifted students, I made Dot Zeno Zines. In the spirit of “making a mark and seeing where it takes you”, we drew a design on plain paper. Then we wrote Zeno poems. Zeno is a form created by J. Patrick Lewis that uses the sequence 8, 4, 2, 1, 4, 2, 1, 4, 2, 1 with each one syllable rhyming. I’m not sure which should come first, the first 8-4-2-1 sequence or the rhyming words. We’ve tried both ways. I let the kids struggle somewhat to just figure it out. Sometimes it’s hard to say what you want to say with so many constraints. It’s a process. Process can be messy and imperfect, but when you’ve puzzled it out, it’s rewarding.

Dot Day Zeno

Polka-dotted wings emerging
color-filled spots
red, green,
blue
orange, purple
polka-
dew
flying homeward
toward
you!

Mrs. Simon with help from Avalyn, 3rd grade

To see more student Dot Zeno poems, check out these Fanschool links:

Brayden
Adelyn

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This week’s photo comes from California photographer/ teacher Kim Douillard. I couldn’t resist this not-so-cuddly bear-of-stones. She took the photo on the campus of UC San Diego, marked with the hashtag Stuart Collection (click here to see a size reference).

Stone Bear, Stuart Collection, UC San Diego by Kim Douillard, artist Tim Hawkinson

I hope you enjoy musing on this photo. I’ll be back later with a poem. Post a small poem in the comments and encourage other writers with responses. Thanks for stopping by.

A Fib Poem (1, 1, 2, 3, 5, 8)

Bear
your
boulder.
Be bolder
in your stone-cold suit.
Hold a steady shoulder for me. 

Margaret Simon, draft

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Welcome to This Photo Wants to be a Poem. Respond to the photo collage with a small poem in the comments. Encourage other writers with comments.

I don’t know much about spiders, but orb spiders are out and about doing their thing and making amazing intricate webs. I took the first picture from my front courtyard. The web was huge and glimmering in the sunlight. I couldn’t really capture it with a phone camera. If you look closely, you can see the big black spider in the center.

On my Instagram feed I saw Paul Hankin’s photo of a similar style web. His caption read, “What might you create in your own little corner?”

In my classroom, we are answering “This or That” questions for attendance these days. So I put these images side by side and ask you this or that? Are you the type to hide your masterpiece in a corner, under and away from others who may harm it or misunderstand? Or do you place your art where everyone can see it, if only they stop long enough to notice?

Create a small poem around your thoughts today. Share it in the comments. Return, if you can, to leave encouraging comments to other writers.

Weaving in my own corner
Ever-winding path
Behold a work in progress

Margaret Simon, draft

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