Archive for the ‘Poetry’ Category

Last week I took both of my grandsons to a local farm. See this post. They were cautiously curious. While we walked around, multiple young cats circled and rubbed up against us. Leo has a cat at home, but I think this was his first experience with this gentle, yet intrusive cat behavior. I found this photo in my phone and made it black and white. Don’t you love how you can do that with a slide of your finger?

Photo by Margaret Simon

I don’t want to touch you.
Would you please go away?
Your gentle mew
invites me.
Can we be friends?

Margaret Simon, draft

Write your own small poem in the comments and please come back to read and comment on other writers. Happy Summer!

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This week’s photo comes from Bonne Terre Louisiana, studio, retreat, and farm stay in Breaux Bridge, LA. My friend Jen Gray owns this farm and retreat center. I haven’t been in a few years due to the pandemic, but it’s on my list for this summer. Her Instagram feed is creative and artistic.

Elder flowers are in full bloom. They grow wild and free and scent the early summer air. I found that elder flowers have medicinal qualities that I did not know about. There is always more to learn about Mother Nature and her miracles.

Elderflowers by Jen Gray

as summer
sunshine brightens.
Elder flowers wake,
flare up the forest lair,
offer scented medicine.
Buds to blooms to berries to wine–
Like rainbow gold, a treasure to find.

Margaret Simon, nonet draft

Please join in with your own small poem draft in the comments. Encourage other writers with comments. Thanks for stopping by.

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This is (finally) our last week of school. Yesterday was my last day with my student Kaia. I arranged for the lead volunteer of the school garden, Jennie, to meet us in the garden for a tour of the plants there. We picked ripe plump blackberries. Loud mockingbirds serenaded us (or maybe they were shouting, “Get out!”). So much wildlife right there in the playground.

The garden had been neglected for 14 months since Covid prevented volunteers from gathering as well as the after school garden club. Overgrown vines and a few hurricanes had damaged the pergola structure, so the school maintenance crew tore it down. Jennie explained there was a plan for a new structure that would be sturdier, but this new greenhouse-like building would take funding.

I perked up! This is something Kaia is really good at, using her voice for change. I suggested to her that she gather information and write a letter to the school board. She did and I sent it by email to our superintendent. By 3:30, she responded that she had talked it over with the superintendent of maintenance and the garden “outdoor classroom” would be ready for the fall. How cool is that!

Of course, while I was in the garden I took pictures. Today’s photo prompt is a nest we found tucked into a tree. The tree had large thorns, but I managed to get my arm in for a shot. No eggs, but maybe that was why Sir Mockingbird was so angry.

A nest can be
a garden watcher,
songbird nurturer,
the pot at the end of a rainbow.

Margaret Simon (with nod to Laura Purdie Salas’s Can Be series)

Please join me today in the “Secret Garden” and write a small poem response in the comments. Be sure to support other writers with your comments.

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Joining a community of writers responding to
open invitation no. 59 at
Sharing Our Stories Magic.

You know how sometimes without any prompting from you a “memory” pops up on your phone, a photo that you’d totally forgotten about and most often, enjoy seeing again. Jogging a memory of another time and place. But I’ve noticed when it comes to flowers, the memories are a repeated vision of the flower I took a picture of yesterday. That happened to me twice this week. Blooming seems so miraculous and random and something we have little control over. It just happens. There is consistency in the blooming of a flower. They come back around again.

This week I took a picture of this amazing gladiola. I shared a small poem in response on my Instagram.

This May morning
shows its gladiola heart
sipping summer sun.
Margaret Simon, #haiku #poemsofpresence

I found a similar photo in my phone album from a year ago. Last year during lock down when I was walking every day.

On Monday, I heard a call for poems from Kwame Alexander on NPR. He creates crowdsourced poems based on small poems people send in. This week’s prompt was from Maya Angelou’s poem “Still I Rise.” I wrote and sent in this small poem.

Still, I rise
with the sun
following a path
through watermint
where the scent 
fills me.

Still, I rise
to feel her gentle kicks
inside a waterwomb
knowing love grows
from my seed.

Still, I rise
to watch ducklings
drop to waterglory
following Mama hen
through fervent streams.  

Margaret Simon, all rights reserved

So I rise each day for a walk. I take photographs of flowers again and again. I will keep taking photos of flowers. Why not? They make me happy!

This Canna Lily came back after the big freeze. I take a picture of it every year.
Gardenia is my favorite scent. I’ve been unsuccessful at the growing of a gardenia bush.
For now, I enjoy cut ones in a vase in the church hall.

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My friend, poet-librarian, Linda Mitchell nudged me to follow her colleague Hope Dublin’s Instagram @hopesview2021. As I perused her amazing photographs, this one grabbed me. It seemed to be asking to be a poem.

Photo by Hope Dublin

I take pictures of things that hold beauty or intrigue. Sometimes it is a bit of both.

I can’t wait to read the words inspired by the photo. It was taken at Riverview Cemetery in Strasburg, Virginia. The title of the book is The Last Unicorn, a fantasy novel by Peter S. Beagle, published in 1968. I go on a lot of walks and one of my favorite places to walk is a cemetery. They are peaceful, beautiful, filled with hints at history, or stories waiting to be told.

I should also tell you that I discovered the book in a little free library and happened to be carrying it on my walk. I put it down to take a picture and thought it made a more interesting image than the gravestone I was originally going to take a picture of at the time. The book was opened on a random page but happened to be page 13.

Hope Dublin

Join me today in this cemetery with your book in hand. What is it about? Why do you carry it with you? Who is present in this place? Write a small poem in the comments or link to your blogpost. Leave encouraging comments for other writers. (I am happy with my draft, and that is not something I say every day.)

Sometimes we carve our stories
onto headstones
for the world to notice.

Sometimes our stories hide
inside dandelion seeds
blowing in the wind.

Sometimes, our stories are told
over & over time until
someone has memorized
the words.

Margaret Simon, draft

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Spring is the season for dragonflies. This year we have them in abundance. It’s fun to watch them circling about. My neighbor, first grade teacher Lory Landry is a photographer. I was amazed by her recent Instagram photo of a dragonfly. It struck me in many ways. The close-up on the compound eyes makes the creature look more human (or alien). The wings are poised either in landing or taking off position. He (or she) just seemed to be asking for a poem.

Dragonfly by Lory Landry
Instagram @loryla63

Last night in a Highlights mini-workshop, Laura Shovan talked about the skinny form. The rules: the first line can be any length, lines 2-10 each hold a single word (repeated word in 2, 6, and 10), line 11 uses the same words as line 1. Doing a quick search about the dragonfly, I scribbled out a skinny. Please join with a quick poem in the comments and encouraging comments to other writers.

Compound eyes look upon
looks upon compound eyes.

Margaret Simon, draft

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This photo was not taken today. Today I am waking up to more rain after all night thunderstorms. But last week one morning was glorious. The sunrise lit up the cypress and oaks and sent a line of light down the bayou. I try again and again to capture this morning light in a photograph or a poem. Anything I try is an imperfect approximation.

Morning sunrise on the bayou, Margaret Simon

How many ways
does the sun rise?

How many days
are you alive
to bathe your face

in light?

Margaret Simon, quick draft

Consider writing with me today. Leave a small poem in the comments and post encouraging words for other writers. Join me on Twitter with #poemsofpresence.

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Spiritual Journey First Thursday is being gathered today by Carol Varsalona at Beyond Literacy Link.

Carol is gathering Spiritual Journey posts today around the topic Blossoms of Joy. When I first typed it, I wrote “Blossoming Joy,” which slightly changes the blossoms into action. I have come to believe that we are all in the process of blossoming. We never arrive because life is hard and good and disappointing and joyful all wrapped up on any given day.

I’ve been listening to Untamed by Glennon Doyle. It’s a book full of quotable quotes. This is one that spoke to me.

“I am here to keep becoming truer, more beautiful versions of myself again and again forever. To be alive is to be in a perpetual state of revolution. Whether I like it or not, pain is the fuel of revolution. Everything I need to become the woman I’m meant to be next is inside my feelings of now. Life is alchemy, and emotions are the fire that turns me to gold. I will continue to become only if I resist extinguishing myself a million times a day. If I can sit in the fire of my own feelings, I will keep becoming.”

Glennon Doyle, Untamed

My spiritual journey is the alchemy that keeps me blossoming. I’m in a constant revolution with my inner and outer selves. Outside I want to show I’ve got everything under control. No rocky roads here. Smooth sailing. I know what I am doing, and I am doing it.

Practically every day, someone in the halls will comment about my appearance. Whether it’s the cute Dr. Seuss “Teacher, I am!” mask or the shoes I’m wearing, someone will say something. I know. I know. This is how women interact. I find myself doing it every day.

In fact, one day a little kindergarten girl was rushing in the hallway. She said, “I have to go to the bathroom,” and rushed by me. Then I heard from her little sweet voice, “But I love your hair!”

Perhaps she genuinely had noticed and liked my hair. But it struck me that even our young girls are trained to greet another girl with a compliment about her looks.

I’m not saying this practice is one I would change so much as notice. Our society trains girls at a very young age that how you look matters. Is this healthy?

Lucille Clifton is one of my favorite poets. Years ago I had the privilege of hearing her read at the Dodge Poetry Festival. Her poem “roots” was the poem of the month for A Network of Grateful Living. I loved the voice and cadence so much that I wrote beside her. Literally placed the poem on a document and wrote my own beside her. Glennon’s words and my own inner thoughts led me to this poem.


call it fire even,

call it anything.

it’s the desire in us

to fly.

we hold our hands

above our heads

and call them


and grow on them.

we flutter them and make melodies.

call them stories, wild stories.

we are lost in the cumulonimbus

field of clouds.

call it lightning,

our flames.

call it wings.

it’s the wild in us.

it’s the wild of us.

it is the wild, call it

whatever you want to.

call it blossoming.

Margaret Simon, after Lucille Clifton
Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

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Leo, my 2 year old grandson, likes to scroll through my photo library. Mostly he wants to watch videos. Janet Fagel, a fellow poet grandmother, posted a picture on Facebook that I downloaded to use today. When Leo scrolled by this photo, he wanted to “play” it. I had to explain that it wasn’t a video. Beyond the idea that we are raising a new generation, a group of littles who know how to tap a screen and make it do things, I was fascinated by his fascination with this image. What did his little eyes see?

Later as we were walking in the garden, he tried to put a flower behind his ear. I placed it there for him and set the phone to selfie so he could see what he looked like. Phone as mirror.

Dandelion bow, photo by Janet Fagel

When I wear my unicorn dress,
and a dandelion for a hairbow,
I can be whatever I want to be.

Margaret Simon, with a nod to Cinderella, my favorite childhood movie

Please leave a small poem in the comments. Consider joining #PoemsofPresence on Twitter for the month of May. Encourage other poets with your comments here and there.

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Spring is in full swing and many of my phone photos are flowers, but last night was a marvelous super pink moon. The phone camera didn’t really capture what I saw, so I took the photo through the Waterlogue app just to see what I would see. The negative space shows up, the sky that is blue with the nightlight of the moon and the white spaces in the trees. Makes me think about negative spaces and chiaroscuro, the light we don’t see until the perspective is changed.

Chiaroscuro, in art, is the use of strong contrasts between light and dark, usually bold contrasts affecting a whole composition.

Silent light
Curves through darkness
Under a full moon
Revealing the sky’s
Open door

Margaret Simon, draft

Please leave a small poem in the comments. Write a comment for other writers.

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