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Archive for the ‘Poetry’ Category

I drive the same roads every day as I travel between two schools. Both of my schools are rural, and I’ve come to appreciate the calm of the countryside. This spring the black-eyed Susan wildflowers have been in full bloom. Usually I am on a time schedule and can’t stop to take pictures, but recently as I was passing, I put on the brakes and put the car in reverse right there in the middle of the road. I took this photo. It was a bright sunny day and I took it quickly, but the next day the field had been mowed and all the yellow flowers were gone. I realized I should appreciate the present moment. The old adage “Stop to smell the roses.” What else are we given but this moment right now?

Country barn with black-eyed Susan wildflowers, photo by Margaret Simon

Invitation: Share your own poem in the comments and encourage other writers with comments.

No one can tell you what to do.
You have to be bold.
Some see weeds
where others find gold.

Margaret Simon, draft

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Photographer-Poet-Teacher Kim Douillard lives in San Diego, California. We’ve never met face-to-face, but we are friends connected by common interests. Her photos of the beaches in California are always inspiring. This week I was taken by this photo of a broken sand dollar. Where will this muse take you? Please leave a small poem in the comments and write encouraging comments to fellow writers.

Half Dollar by Kim Douillard

Allan Wolf lost his father on the same day as I did. We had been in communication over a student Zoom visit when both of our lives were interrupted. Allan posted these words on Facebook, “Writing, like loving, is an act of faith. We bury a piece of ourselves and wait for something better than ourselves to eventually emerge.” Then I saw Kim’s photo. It’s all too fresh for me to write about today. Or maybe I’m just too raw. Nevertheless, friends, I leave these thoughts for you to make something beautiful with, as I know you will.

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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.

On Poetry Friday, Amy Ludwig VanDerwater posted on The Poem Farm a slide show created by teacher/author Emily Callahan. Her 4th graders have been writing proverb poems after Amy’s. I shared the slide show with my student Chloe. She was inspired to write a prequel to Ms. Callahan’s students’ prequel poems. Here is her Fanschool page, Prequel Crazy.

Here it sits
covered from the rain a chess board
broken into pieces.
I allow access to
the board.
He has found a new home. 
I glue it,
I wash it,
I rinse it,
I dry it,
I wrap it up
and drive along a bumpy road
the perfect gift 
to my daughter
She asks, ” Where did you dig this up from?”
“One man’s trash is another mans treasure
Maybe you can do the same
Like with a blanket?”

Chloe, 6th grade

I wrote alongside Chloe. A poem about my sister’s plan to create a quilt from my father’s shirts. I left the last line blank so I could make it a prequel to Chloe’s. We enjoyed this playful poem making. Thanks, Amy and Emily!

“One man’s trash is another man’s treasure”

The girl sees patterns,
pictures in her father’s shirts,
gathered,
sorted,
cut,
stitched
into a quilt of many colors,
into a memory of many hugs,
into a dream of everlasting rest.
She sees more than anyone
a life lived as a husband, a father,
a doctor, an artist, a friend.
She touches every day what he wore,
a treasure in her hands.
Maybe you could do the same.
Maybe with a chess board.

Margaret Simon, draft

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It’s Wednesday again and life continues to move forward. May is here and settling in on a warm breeze. Yesterday evening I attended a special Yen Yoga session in Jungle Gardens on Avery Island (known for its production of Tabasco). The evening was beautiful. A light breeze blew through the canopy of oaks, swaying the Spanish Moss. The calming meditation was just what I needed. I took a photo while lying on the mat looking up into the trees. I wish it were higher quality so you could see the moss that almost looked like blossoms as the setting sun glimmered.

Looking up through Live Oaks, photo by Margaret Simon

Moss blooms on an evening breeze
while yogis stretch in tree pose
longing to be held by Mother Earth.

Margaret Simon, draft

Please leave a small poem in the comments and support your fellow writers with encouraging comments.

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If ever there is a tomorrow when we’re not together, there is something you must always remember. You are braver than you believe, stronger than you seem and smarter than you think. But the most important thing is, even if we are apart, I’ll always be with you.

A.A.Milne

Today’s photo prompt appeared in my Facebook feed. Our school librarian has a young daughter who is a dancer. They recently posed these photos for her dance teacher. Melissa told me that this one is her daughter with her best friend. It made me think of how important friends can be in this dance of life. Leave a small poem in the comments. Then comment on others with encouraging words. Thanks for stopping by.

Beach Dancers, by dance instructor Delannie Delcambre

Dance for the ocean
Speak for the earth
Sing for the sky
Write for who you long to be.

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.

My friend and fellow writing group member Linda Mitchell led the writing prompt for #verselove at Ethical ELA yesterday. She directed us to use the steps in the scientific method to craft a poem. As many of you know, my father died on Friday morning. If you follow my blog, I’m afraid there is nothing else so pressing on my mind than this and the care for my mother. Writing is healing for me.

A Place at the Table

You could make this place beautiful.
Can you float a flower in the vase and call it home?
Flowers, a white cat, a black dog, coffee brewing, what could be missing?
The empty seat at the table is cold, lonely.
I move over, sit in his chair, open the last book he was reading.
Time will fill the space at the table, even in the midst of absence.
There will be beauty again.

Margaret Simon, draft
Louisiana iris in our bayou bog

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This is a difficult time. My father had a stroke last week and is not recovering in the earthly sense. We’ve held holy vigil with him. It’s holy, healing, and horrible all at the same time. This photo is my mother and father’s hands.

I wrote this poem after Lucille Clifton from an Ethical ELA prompt. I know that this is a universal experience for some. Write a small poem in the comments and respond to other poets.

Wishes for Dad

i wish for peace
and a place to write
his thoughts
on a cloud
floating above
all this madness
of machines
pumping oxygen
taking pulse
counting heartbeats

i wish for the smell
of an open field
of wildflowers
where he can
run
free

i wish
i wish
i wish
i could take the cup
of suffering away.

Margaret Simon, draft

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I led the #VerseLove poetry prompt at Ethical ELA. Follow this link to read some wonderful definito/ etymology poems. Playing with words is fun.

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It’s festival season and most of them are back from a long Covid break. All week I introduced different poetry forms to my students. They could choose their own topics. Coincidentally two chose to write about upcoming festivals using the dodoitsu form. Dodoitsu is a Japanese form that uses the syllable count of 7,7,7,5. Avalyn, 2nd grade, wrote about the Lao New Year Festival. Avalyn’s family belongs to the Buddhist Temple located in Coteau, a suburb of New Iberia. In the 70’s Laotian immigrants were aided by Catholic Services to purchase land to build a temple. Every year around Easter, the community celebrates the Lao New Year. Avalyn is looking forward to it with enthusiasm. She wrote a cherita here. I’m sharing her dodoitsu.

My Lao New Year

First we go inside to pray

next we go outside to play

food and fun and lots of joy

spend money on toys

Avalyn, 2nd grade
https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Lao_New_Year,_flour_throwing.jpg

The Spanish Festival queen is a substitute teacher at our school, so she and her cohort visited the school to promote the Spanish Festival happening this weekend in New Iberia. This beautiful crocheted canopy is on display downtown.

Crochet Canopy in downtown New Iberia

Chloe was prompted by the queen’s visit to write her dodoitsu about the Spanish festival.

Spanish Festival

Crochet ceiling, knit till dark

staying up with family 

Everyone’s culture matters 

As dawn sets down day

Chloe, 6th grade

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If you are here for the first time, this post is a weekly photo poetry prompt originated by Laura Purdie Salas as Fifteen Words or Less. This is a place to play with words and interact with other poets. On Ethical ELA this week there were two different Verse Love prompts in which the writer took inspiration from another writer, a word or a line traveled from poet to poet.

Let’s play with this idea of poems communicating with each other. I will start us off. The first person here can take a word or line from me. As always, you may choose to go your own way. That’s fine, too.

Today’s photo is from my friend, first grade teacher Lory Landry. When she isn’t teaching, she is taking photographs. I loved the intimate perspective of this one.

Dandelion by Lory Landry

Mary Lee Hahn is writing a poem each day about the climate crisis. I loved her poem about dandelions.

Wake up, dandelion!
Starbursts ready to fly.
Blow, spring wind, blow!

Margaret Simon, draft

The Progressive Poem is with Linda Mitchell today. Molly had a conflict, so Linda stepped up to add the next line. Thanks, Linda!

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