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.

I discovered Ethical ELA a year ago. This community has been such a blessing to my writing life. Today begins another 5 day open write and the prompt is from Kim Johnson. I highly recommend you check it out. It’s another community, like TWT, that supports a writing life of teachers with encouragement.

A year ago today, life suddenly changed. At first none of us believed that the virus would shut us down for more than a year and take so many lives. But my memory doesn’t go there. My memory of last March was a quiet announcement, a budding new life, my granddaughter (who is now a smily, healthy 3 month old). My daughter had a miscarriage before having two beautiful healthy births. That loss clouded her joy over a positive pregnancy test. This is the memory that rises for me today. This is what I wrote for the Ethical ELA prompt, still very drafty.


On a March wind,
a virus swirls
much like an impending hurricane.
After my morning walk
and weeding, coffee in hand,
my phone vibrates.
Her voice, shaking, quiet,
“I’m pregnant.”
No ultrasound photo wrapped like a birthday present.
“I don’t know if it’ll take.”
New life is fragile
like the wildflowers, newly budding, blowing.
Gripping the phone, tears welling,
I am inwardly in prayer, fervent and furious.
Calmly, with a mother’s voice,
I say, “Congratulations.”

Margaret Simon, draft
Photo by Polina Tankilevitch on Pexels.com

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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.

This photo was an impulse photo, like an impulse buy in the grocery store at the check out line. I was walking in the cold of the early morning and making a wish for warmer days. I know I’ll get my wish soon enough, but 41 degrees is chilly, and frankly, I’m tired of having to put on layers for my walk. I almost tripped over this patch of clover.

Where did it come from? How does it know it’s time to bloom? When everything else is still brown? So I stopped, grabbed my phone with my stinging cold fingers and took a picture. I think my wish worked because the day warmed up to 70 without a cloud in the sky. Spring is coming slowly but surely.

Clover by Margaret Simon

Secret starbursts proud
emerging from a green cloud
Harbinger of spring.

Margaret Simon, draft

The way this works: Look at the photo for inspiration and write a small poem in the comments. Leave encouraging comments to other writers by replying to their poems. Let your mind wander. No pressure.

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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 Friday, I joined my writing group in posting poems written from an Amanda Gorman prompt. This Book Scavenger Hunt can work over and over again with different books, different moods, and a different page in the notebook. Find a nearby book and go to 3 different random pages and select a word from the page. Now write for 5 minutes.

For this one, I chose the book White Rose by Kip Wilson and found these words: guilt, endanger, coat pocket.

Hands held in a coat pocket
fisted, fingering tissue
tearing it to shreds.

This mood endangers
my attitude,
takes my mind
to guilt.

Release, let go,
open your hand.
The sky is waiting
to shine.

Margaret Simon, draft
Notebook Collage, March 5, 2021. Found a sticky note on my classroom door, so I added it to my daily collage. The notecard design was a meditative doodle I had drawn using colored pencil.

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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.
Erasure Poem, “Every Letter is a Love Letter” by Jennifer Sinor, The American Scholar, Spring 2021

I was fascinated by the article in The American Scholar by Jennifer Sinor, “Every Letter is a Love Letter.” She wrote of how Georgia O’Keefe wrote letters for years to her husband. The thing that drew me in was the language, the words in the article expressing the space that letters provide. There is the space of time between the writing and the receiving. In this day when a message can be sent before you even check the spelling, words can fly across vast spaces in a millisecond. I wanted to capture this idea somehow, so I thought of using erasure poetry.

The frustration for me was erasing the other words. So many artists do it in a way that somehow preserves the words behind the erasure. I tried different things so I ended up with a layered look that I don’t hate. I’ve typed the words I kept into poem form below:

Every Letter

we find those spaces void
you see canyons
empty spaces reveal vastness
Time in life’s work
experience of being in art
we fit ourselves

I wrote to my husband
Before long He left quiet communion,
heart of prayer, easy, difficult love letters.
You take your wounds handwritten
to be unrecognizable.

A letter is time–
rest in the gap

across space

binding us

to moment

to everyone–

Margaret Simon, erasure poem

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April will be here before we know it. Yippee! National Poetry Month and the Kidlitosphere Progressive Poem. Click here to see past poems. And here for the 2020 poem.

There are few rules. The poem will be passing from blog to blog with each poet-blogger adding a line. The poem is for children. Other than that, anything goes. Usually the poem takes on a life of its own, so don’t be intimidated to sign up. Just do it and wait for your turn. Then let the creative muse do what she must.

Copy and paste the poem up to your date and add your line. Simple. Some poets like to write about the process which is always interesting for the rest of us to read, but it isn’t necessary.

When you sign up, state which date you would like and leave an active link to your blog. After the list is complete, you can copy and paste the list to your own blog post. I like to put mine in the sidebar as well.

Please email me with any questions. (margaretsmn at gmail)

April 1 Kat Apel at Kat Whiskers
2 Linda Mitchell at A Word Edgewise
3 Mary Lee at A Year of Reading
4 Donna Smith at Mainly Write
5 Irene Latham at Live your Poem
6 Jan Godown Annino at BookseedStudio
7 Rose Cappelli at Imagine the Possibilities
8 Denise Krebs at Dare to Care
9 Margaret Simon at Reflections on the Teche
10 Molly Hogan at Nix the Comfort Zone
11 Buffy Silverman
12 Janet Fagel at Reflections on the Teche
13 Jone Rush MacCulloch
14 Susan Bruck at Soul Blossom Living
15 Wendy Taleo at Tales in eLearning
16 Heidi Mordhorst at my juicy little universe
17 Tricia Stohr Hunt at The Miss Rumphius Effect
18 Linda Baie at Teacher Dance
19 Carol Varsalona at Beyond Literacy Link
20 Robyn Hood Black at Life on the Deckle Edge
21 Leigh Anne Eck at A Day in the Life
22 Ruth Hersey at There is No Such Thing as a God-forsaken Town
23 Janice Scully at Salt City Verse
24 Tabatha Yeatts at The Opposite of Indifference
25 Shari Daniels at Islands of my Soul
26 Tim Gels at Yet There is Method
27 Rebecca Newman
28 Catherine Flynn at Reading to the Core
29 Christie Wyman at Wondering and Wondering
30 Michelle Kogan at More Art 4 All

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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.

Each week I invite writers to join me in a quick write about a photograph. This is the first week of the Slice of Life Challenge, so if you are a slicer, I want to extend this inspiration/invitation to you, too. If this is something you’d like to do weekly, subscribe to my blog.

Here’s how it works. Use the image to inspire a small poem. Leave your poem in the comments. Respond to other writers with positive feedback. That’s it. Easy peasy. No pressure. We are just exercising our writing muscle. When I write this post, I participate in the same way. I never write a poem ahead of time. My poem is quick and drafty.

I took this week’s photo Saturday night as we were leaving a lovely outdoor dinner with friends. It was close to 10 PM, and I was struck by how much light the moon gave off.

Iphone photo by Margaret Simon

On a clear night
you can see all the way
to the moon,
God’s streetlight.

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.

I teach multiple grade levels, so in one given day I’ll read a social justice poem, an article about invertebrates, a picture book about water protectors, and student slices. But all reading roads lead to writing in one way, shape, or form. We write every day.

Today’s notebook collage is a sea of invertebrates, including a thesaurus page with the heading word specimen. But it was the words that led to my thoughts. We all have a story to tell. I may not have a story about significant environmental issues or roots in injustice, but it is a story, a history worth noting in a poem.

Notebook page collage, 3/1/21

In the Natural Rhythm of Memory

While she may speak of rivers,
and he speaks for the trees, the poet
speaks for mollusks, snails, and anemones.

Who do I represent?
Neither drums of nature, nor blood
of brothers tell my story.
Not poor or tortured;
My river runs from Mississippi
to Texas, through veins of magnolias
and spray of Gulf waves–
my history is a southern drawl
spoken over the telephone,
sweet as maple syrup,
white as cornbread,
and golden as the morning sun.

Margaret Simon, draft

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Buffy Silverman is a children’s author-poet and a new friend because of an Artist’s Way group that meets each week. She lives near a lake in Michigan and finds her sacred space in the nature and quietude there. I reviewed her latest book On a Snow-Melting Day here. She’s currently offering a giveaway on Twitter.

I found Buffy’s image on Facebook. I was drawn to the composition within the bare tree branches. Please join me today by posting your own small poem in the comments. Encourage other writers in the comments.

Photo by Buffy Silverman

Tufted titmouse,
snowball fluff,
twitter me a song.
My day’s been rough.

Margaret Simon, draft

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Join this weekly photo poetry prompt community by leaving a poem in the comments.

This has been a frigid week in the deep south. The ice storm has caused widespread power outage and water loss. Our home was without power for 12 hours. Our house plumbing is fine, but my husband’s office had a burst pipe. Southerners just aren’t equipped to handle this extreme cold for an extended period of time. The temperature rose to 36 degrees yesterday, but we are staying home from school due to low water pressure.

But ice can be beautiful. My friend and poetry writing group partner Molly Hogan lives in Maine, so she is well-versed in cold. She is also an amazing photographer. She recently posted photos of ice on plants and this one she claimed as her favorite. I can see why. There’s a poem waiting there. Leave your own small poem in the comments and respond to others with kindness and encouragement.

Frozen bud by Molly Hogan

There is beauty in a single moment,
tresures in a whisper,
A world waiting
in an ice-encased atom.

Margaret Simon, draft

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If you are a reader of my blog, you know that I love spending time with my grandchildren. A few weeks ago I took Leo to visit his great grandmother. We wandered around her backyard. Minga picked a camellia, a common winter flower here in the South. She handed the beautiful pink blossom to Leo. He held it out to me and pointed up, “Tree!” So, of course, I placed the flower into the tree. Off went Leo, satisfied and ready to romp across the yard.

Camellia blossom in an oak tree. Photo by Margaret Simon

With a line borrowed from Ellen Bass, I offer this small poem. Leave your own poem in the comments. Please encourage other writers with response to their poem-gifts.

The thing is
to love life,

to hold a flower
in your hands,
and then give it

Margaret Simon, draft

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