Feeds:
Posts
Comments

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.

Even before we were sheltering in our homes, I enjoyed making connections over cyberspace. Teacher-poet-writer Fran Haley is one of those connections. We read each other. Yesterday she wrote a beautiful blog post “Ode to the Wind.” In that post she wrote about a tweet from Robert MacFarlane with the word of the day: susurrate.

Word of the day: “susurrate”—to whisper, murmur, esp. of noise produced by numerous individual sources of sound (bees humming, leaves rustling, etc.) Compare to “psithurism,” its similarly sibilant sense-sibling, meaning the whispering of wind in trees (from Ancient Greek).

Susurrate was a new word to me when I read MacFarlane’s most amazing, beautiful book the lost words: A Spell Book. A friend who knows I love words and poetry loaned it to me. I presented the first few poems to my students. The last stanza of the second poem “adder” reads:

Rustle of grass, sudden susurrus, what
the eye misses:
For adder is as adder hisses.

Robert MacFarlane, the lost words

Reading Fran’s post, I remembered that I had written a definito to the word. The definito is a form created by my friend, teacher-poet Heidi Mordhorst. “The definito is a free verse poem of 8-12 lines that highlights wordplay as it demonstrates the meaning of a less common, often abstract word, which always ends the poem.

I love this form for working with the meaning of a new word in a way that helps someone else understand the word.

As murmur is to whisper
a mutter to a babble
When grumbles turn to mumbles
and a purr softens sound
As whisper is to wind
a sigh of the weather
As a hum is to a hummingbird
flying quickly to a flower
You may hear something
close to silence…susurration. 

Photo by Philippe Donn from Pexels

The Progressive Poem is coming to the end. Today Donna Smith is hosting Jessica Bigi’s contribution.

Read Full Post »

Poetry Friday round-up is with Christie at Wondering and Wandering

On Tuesday evening I participated in a free webinar from Highlights with Lesléa Newman called “Poetry to Soothe the Soul”. During the presentation, I realized I had picked up one of her books at NCTE last fall, October Mourning. I went on a search for it and found it and have been reading. It’s a verse novel about the killing of Matthew Shephard. Her use of short form and repetition is affective in that book.

The Patrol Officer’s Report

two thin white tear tracks
one red swollen blood-caked face
this is someone’s child

Lesléa Newman, October Mourning

With us, she shared her own Pandemic Haiku. Her homework assignment was to write our own. I had written a haiku a few weeks ago and sent in a soundbite of me reading it to Alan Nakagawa’s sound collage commissioned by OCMA, Social Distance, Haiku, and You! This week I received a link to all the creative sound recordings. They had more than 500 entries. My haiku is included in Part B. Posted here if you choose to listen.

Heartbroken world mourns
Loss of who we were before
Waiting for new life
-Margaret Simon

On Wednesday, I collected moments throughout my day in haiku. Here is my collection:

Pandemic Haiku

In a viral time,
let us be grateful for this:
Breath. Green. Life.

Early morning sun
slant of light through cypress shades
welcoming hummers

Walks with Leo
are a wander, meander
See dat, dat, and dat? 

Chalk art on sidewalks
greet passersby with colors
“This too shall pass!”

A new duck tenant
three eggs today lay
in the wood duck house.

Seven green-gold charms
chrysalis-haven for wings
to magically form.

Watching my screen
I see Chloe, Rylee, you
in your own kitchen. 

Don’t know what will be
when the viral storm calms down
I hope for a hug. 

Margaret Simon, draft 4/22/20
Message in sidewalk chalk

Read Full Post »

Welcome back to This Photo…a low stakes writing prompt. Don’t think too long and hard about this. Whatever comes is good. Leave a small poem of 15 words or so in the comments. Read other poems and leave a supportive comment. That’s it. Poetry brain practice!

Clouds by Jone MacCulloch
Wispy clouds by Margaret Simon

I love to notice clouds. Cloud photos never quite come out as well as what you truly see. What can you imagine in the clouds? Look up. Just notice. Take a moment to be present.

Cloud goddess
flies her kite,
a ballet dance
on Spring’s serene
sky-stage.

Margaret Simon, draft

Check in on the Kidlit Progressive Poem that is going on an adventure today to Haiti with Ruth.

Read Full Post »

This poetry month I didn’t commit to write a certain type of poem every day like many other poets I am following. I decided I would write to the muse. Wherever she lead, I would follow.

Among my weekly teacher-poet emails, I get Teach this Poem from Poets.org. This week the poem to teach was “Earth. Your Dancing Place” by May Swenson. One line (“Take earth for your own large room”) jumped out at me and wanted to be a golden shovel. After messing with it in my journal, I created this draft.

Earth’s Heartbeat

If you take

a moment with earth,

touch her for

her soothing spirit, place your

hand on her beating heart, your own

heart will open a door to a large

living room

Margaret Simon, draft 2020

I was also inspired by Catherine Flynn’s post that included the NASA Earth Day poster. The artist, Jenny Motter, used the idea of listening to the pulse of a tree to create this amazing image. There is much more imagery used in the artwork that you can read about at the NASA site.

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

Read Full Post »

Watching. Noticing. Listening. There’s more time for being more aware these days. More aware of the nuances of nature.

Welcome to another This Photo wants to be a Poem episode. Observe. Notice. Research, if you will. Then write about 15 words or so as a snippet of a poem. Leave comments on other poems.

My neighbor has been posting pictures of her century plant almost daily for the last few weeks. I’d never heard of one before, but a century plant blooms once in its lifetime. And hers is about to bloom. Patience is keeping us waiting.

Century plant with moon, photo by Anne Darrah

I commented on one of her photos that this plant needed to be a poem. I can spend (waste) a lot of time down a research rabbit hole. Here are some quick bullets copied from Google about this plant.

  • Although it is called the century plant, Agave Americana typically lives only 10 to 30 years. It has a spread around 6–10 ft (1.8–3.0 m) with gray-green leaves of 3–5 ft (0.9–1.5 m) long, each with a prickly margin and a heavy spike at the tip that can pierce deeply.
  • Although century plants are quite long-lived — though not nearly as long as their name would suggest — they die right after flowering. As soon as flowers set seed and drop, the plant withers and dies.
  • The plant is called the “century plant” because of this “once a century” bloom (actually the plant lives an average of 25 years).
  • Agave plants are easy to grow, but they do have a few “needs” to thrive. They need at least 6 hours of direct sun and well-drained soils. Planting in well-drained soil is particularly important in preventing root rot, especially in North Florida where cooler winter temperatures may add stress to your plant.
  • The massive flower clusters (1-8 m long) are borne at the top of a very robust flowering stem.
Century plant taken 4/14/20 by Anne Darrah
Century plant full view, photo by Anne Darrah

Once in a Lifetime

Stairway to heaven,
one step at a time,
blossoms in the sky!

Margaret Simon, draft

Read Full Post »

Today is my prompt day at Ethical ELA. Please stop by and write an analogy acrostic.

On Sunday, Stefani Boutelier prompted on Ethical ELA a “Where I’m From” poem like the ever popular George Ella Lyon poem. I’ve done this exercise many times over the years and have never been happy with my results. The poem seems over-sentimental. I went ahead and tried again. This time, I’m happier with the poem and even shared it aloud with my sister, brother, and our parents on Easter morning over our FaceTime.

Photo by Steve Johnson from Pexels

Where I’m From

I am from piano keys and pot roast,
From Charles’ Chips in a can.
I am from the pine forests of Mississippi,
Beechcrest Drive and Purple Creek,
pink azaleas line the red brick house
while a concrete “waterfall” waits
at the edge of the woods.

I am from writing notes,
tucking them into your locker
between classes.
From shade of a sycamore–
broad-leafed Daddy’s pride.

I’m from singing carols around the grand,
a gallery of books climbing high as the ceiling.
From Liles and Gibson trees,
arms of Margaret and Eugene.

I’m from church on Sundays.
From hurricanes and a Pearl River flood.
From pot-liquor
with turnip greens, black-eyed peas, and cornbread.

I’m from war stories, Anglican prayers, and theology
over the dinner table set with woven mats,
pottery, and cotton napkins.

I’m from home movies, reel to reel,
stored in tins
that playback Love within.

(c) Margaret Simon

Read Full Post »


Traditions can be a comfort when life is not as it should be. The tradition of a Kidlit Progressive Poem started in 2012 by Irene Latham. Last year sometime she decided to pass it on. I said yes to coordinating this year, and so far, it’s been an easy job. The Progressive Poem is such a well-oiled machine that it just works. Each poet takes their turn. I haven’t had to remind anyone…yet.

This year Donna Smith started us off with a choose-your-own-adventure style by giving a choice of two lines. Subsequently, each poet has done the same. Choose a line. Compose two lines. Move on.

The first stanza wasn’t following a strict rhyme scheme. However, stanzas 2 and 3 unfolded in rhyming couplets.

Leave it to Kat Apel to stir things up a bit. From across the globe in Australia, she introduced some suspense. I’m good with that, but the two end words were snaps and glimpse. Try a search for rhymes, and you get impossible words like claps and wimps. When I left a comment for “katswhiskers”, she responded, “I confess, I wasn’t thinking ahead to any rhymes when I wrote my line. But now that you say that… I think a disruption of flow (and rhyme) is a good thing in a turning point. #permissiontobreakrules”

Sweet violets shimmy, daffodils sway
along the wiregrass path to the lake.
I carry a rucksack of tasty cakes
and a banjo passed down from my gram.

I follow the tracks of deer and raccoon
and echo the call of a wandering loon.
A whispering breeze joins in our song,
and night melts into a rose gold dawn.

Deep into nature’s embrace, I fold.
Promise of spring helps shake the cold.
Hints of sun lightly dapple the trees,
calling out the sleepy bees.

Leaf-litter crackles…I pause. Twig snaps.

As I pass this pleasant romp to the lake on to Leigh Anne, I decided to go the way of near rhyme. Will our hero fall? Or will they handle the pressure with mindfulness? You choose…

Option 1: I stumble, reach out… there’s nothing to grasp.

Option 2: I gasp! Shudder! Breathe out. Relax…

You can follow the Progressive Poem using the links on my sidebar. Thanks for stopping by.

Read Full Post »

« Newer Posts - Older Posts »