Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Archive for the ‘Poetry’ Category

See more posts at Two Writing Teachers Slice of Life

As I sit down to write this, there are 5 electric service trucks outside on my street and in my neighbor’s driveway. Hurricane Barry powered through over the weekend and took out a few branches. Nature’s way of tree trimming, but unfortunately, one of those limbs took out a transformer. We were only without power for 24 hours and thanks to a trusty, industrial generator, we didn’t suffer much. The guys working on the poles, clearing out the downed wires, and restoring electricity are heroes in my book. Many are not even from our area. They made the sacrifice to travel here in the wake of a major storm. We are grateful.

This summer my life has been busy in a different way from previous summers, no teacher workshops, no writing retreats, no foreign travel. I have not sliced in weeks because the topic feels too big for a small slice.

My parents moved to a retirement home. This is good news for many reasons. They made the decision on their own, and they are now in a place that feeds them good meals with a built in social life.

What needed to be addressed was the house they lived in for 29 years. This was not the home of my childhood, but it is the home of my children’s childhood. It was a place I took them to be loved. The house was on a lake where sunsets were glorious. My brother took my girls fishing on the dock. I watched herons and egrets and white pelicans. Sitting on the swing on the back porch was a favorite spot. Many family photos were staged there.

I’ve visited my parents every summer, so I looked back to blog posts written there. Here is a poem I wrote the summer of 2015.

Sometimes on the lake in June
white pelicans fly in together
and I get out the camera.
Then they turn as a drum line in step,
swim away swiftly in a cloud.

Sometimes on the lake in June
a lone blue heron fishes.
Sly step, long beak held high,
drinking in the sunlight.
A small boat passes by
lines thrown out,
catching nothing.

Sometimes on the lake in June,
I wake before dawn,
put the coffee on,
Sometimes Dad will join me
silent, reading the daily news.
Mom comes in pleased to have fresh coffee.
We sit on the porch, quiet
content to be together
on the lake in June.

(c) Margaret Simon

Sifting through the stuff of a house, the history of a life, is bittersweet. There were treasures to find, memories to share, and things to keep. My daughters and I have all taken things with us, but we will all miss the peacefulness and joy of the house on the lake.

Read Full Post »

Poetry Friday round-up is with Jone at Deo Writer.

Each summer I participate in Tabatha’s Summer poetry swap. Poetic gifts coming and going inspire me and uplift me.

My first swap came by way of email from Donna Smith. Donna has been busy selling her house in Maine and moving to Pennsylvania, so snail mail didn’t work for her. The method matters little when you receive a poetry gift. Here’s her poem for me.

poem by Donna Smith, 2019

My second gift was from Kay McGriff. She sent a notebook she had made by hand along with two bookmarks. Her poem for me is a golden shovel from a line I wrote on my blog during National Poetry Month. Both Donna and Kay included images from my life here on the bayou. I appreciate the time they took to read and learn and write a personal poem. We do this in the name of poetry love.

Golden shovel by Kay McGriff

Note about Tropical Storm Barry: Yes, we are in its path. We are ready. Our house is strong, and we have a generator named Sparky. All will be well. Thanks for your concern.

Read Full Post »

Poetry Friday round-up is with Tricia at The Miss Rumphius Effect

It’s Poetry Friday, and I don’t have a post prepared.

I followed links to CLMOOC, a summer gathering of writing project folks to stretch their thinking. Kevin Hodgson writes:

Here in CLMOOC, we’ve always actively pushed back on the “massive”. While MOOCs often were built to scale large, CLMOOC has often comfortably settled into the small. So, this July and August, we invite you to look closer at the world, to find balance with the small scale of things around you.

Kevin Hodgson

Kevin introduced a new term to me, feldgang. A feldgang is slowing down to notice something in a new or different way. This idea fascinates me. Poetry lends itself to feldganging (not sure if that is a real word.)

This morning I am combining feldgang with greenbelt writing, that writing that is wild and unpredictable and possibly of no real worth at all. A first draft of a poem while looking out my kitchen window:

The chickadees come to the feeder
chick-a-dee-dee-deeing.
They flitter their tiny bodies
in the trees, and try to stay unnoticed,
like butterflies to a bright flower.

I notice them
and think of this simple act
of feeding the birds,
a small plastic feeder,
some seed from a plastic bag.

I invite these small visitors
to my kitchen window.
I laugh at their tiny tweets.
Begin my day with a lighter step.

Margaret Simon, draft, 2019

Read Full Post »

Poetry Friday round-up is with Buffy.

Divination drawing pairs improvisational drawing with rationalized writing as a method of discovering layered meanings in thoughts.

John F. Simon
3/12/18 Divination Drawing by John F. Simon

Divination

He fell in love with
the smooth flow
of a pencil
drawing beauty
in lines
becoming shapes
becoming a feminine body
on a 3×5 card.

I fell in love, too.
Her face 
my child Self,
that tender one I lost
and seek to touch again.
I hold her in my hand
like a shell
from an endless shore.

She knows how to love me.
I am slowly learning
how to be loved.

(draft) Margaret Simon, June 22, 2019
ekphrasis on drawings by John F. Simon

I wrote this poem at a writing workshop around John F. Simon’s art show at the Hilliard Museum. The first line was borrowed from Barbara Crooker’s ekphrastic poem on Van Gogh’s Field with Wheat Stacks published on The Writer’s Almanac on June 22, 2019.

Read Full Post »

See more posts at Two Writing Teachers Slice of Life
Sculpture by John F. Simon, “Moment of Release”

The empty calendar of my summer has filled up leaving less time for writing. The cure for not getting exercise is to sign up for a class. So the cure for my lack of time to write was to sign up for a class.

At a local museum, The Hilliard, my friend Clare was offering a 3 hour writing workshop. I know from experience with Clare that she offers lots of empty space for real writing. We discussed our writing practices and our familiarity with ekphrastic writing (writing to an image). Then she sent us into the museum to the show of John F. Simon’s work.

I was immediately drawn to the piece in the photo above. It’s large, probably 5-6 feet across by 3-4 feet in width. The title of the work is Moment of Release. I love how the title really doesn’t dictate the interpretation. I gave in to this freedom to explore and released a poem.

Moment of Release

This collection
of energy
stored and sealed
into a protective sheaf
will one day open
the well
spilling contents
of a life–
rain it down
like a delta flood
releasing
to a renewable
Source.

Margaret Simon, (c) 2019

My advice to you is don’t wait for a workshop. Grab a writing buddy and head out to the nearest museum or gallery. If you take pictures, ask permission first. Gather words, images, sounds on the page to transform into a poem or prose. The poem I shared is only one of four I wrote in the hour we were given. I plan to give myself permission to take another artist date this summer. What about you?

Read Full Post »

Poetry Friday round-up is with Linda at A Word Edgewise.

We’ve been watching our wood duck nest box for months. The first clutch did not hatch. Overcoming our disappointment, we set out new wood shavings and hoped for the best. By and by, another wood duck hen came in and laid 18 or so eggs. (Maybe it was two hens?) Nevertheless, we watched again. She seemed to be doing it all right, turning the eggs, covering them in down before leaving to feed, and sitting, sitting, sitting.

Yesterday morning my husband texted and said, “Look in the house.” (I am away from home this week.) When I looked at the video on my phone sent from the camera in the nesting box, I saw three dark blobs. At first I was afraid they were dead, but eventually realized that hatching is hard work, so they lay still.

We are both proud parents of 12 wood ducklings. Today was Jump Day. At 7:30 AM, Momma went out and called her babies. They climbed the wire mesh my husband had nailed into the wall nearest the hole. One by one they reached the hole and jumped out.

A poem will come, I’m sure. Yesterday, Laura Purdie Salas posted her 15 Words or Less image and I wrote this little ditty.

Ripple Effect

One egg hatches
then another.
Soon the whole nest
is chattering.

Margaret Simon, draft, 2019

Jump Day! Photo by Danny Womack

Read Full Post »

Poetry Friday round-up is with Laura Shovan.

Lucretius just presents this marvelous and important idea that what we are made of will make something else, which to me is very important. There is no nothingness — with these little atoms that run around too little for us to see. But, put together, they make something. And that to me is a miracle. Where it came from, I don’t know. But it’s a miracle, and I think it’s enough to keep a person afloat.

Mary Oliver in an interview with Krista Tippet of On Being.

I was listening to On Being with Krista Tippet, an old podcast of an interview with Mary Oliver from 2015. The episode repeated the week of Mary Oliver’s death in January of this year. Listening to Mary Oliver makes me feel I am in the presence of a wise yogi.

The practice of writing poetry, I am learning, is an exercise in mindfulness. To be open to the universe of words and to put them down on a page is a gift. Then there is the renewing of the words as you revise, reorder, read aloud to a writing group, and go at it all again.

This poem came from all this listening and doing the work of the morning.

Residing

If we could make of everything
a sacred movement–

Digging in the deep mud
watching the earthworm squirm.

Painting on of pale eyeshadow,
touching my face with gentleness.

The cat is purring a prayer.

Wind chimes are ringing a hymn,

And here I am,
lifting my coffee mug to my lips

Even the cicadas are laughing.

Margaret Simon, draft 2019
Image by Ravi Kant

Read Full Post »

Older Posts »