Archive for the ‘Poetry Friday’ Category

Poetry Friday round-up is with Carol at Carol’s Corner.

As I prepared this PF post, I had to go through new steps in WordPress that annoyed me. It seems once you get a sense of comfort with a platform, someone thinks it’s a good idea to change it up. Is anyone else struggling with the new way to insert an image? What a rigamarole!

I subscribe to Merriam-Webster’s word of the day. On June 4th, the WOD was Rigmarole, not rigamarole as I had always used. My curiosity got hold as well as my inner poet. I turned to a form that my Swagger partner, poet-teacher friend, Heidi Mordhorst invented–the definito.

The rules are a free verse poem of 8-12 lines that ends in the word being defined. Heidi being Heidi usually includes word play aspects as well.

A list of verse, ragman roll
to mean foolish roll of tongue,
rattling-on-confusing set of directions,
steps here
then there
rambling forward to a destination,
required mouse-trap of a rat-race
ending in the achievement of a goal–

Margaret Simon, definito draft
Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

Challenge: Today’s word is poignant. Want to try a definito? Post in the comments.

Read Full Post »

Poetry Friday round-up is here! Scroll to the bottom to add your link.

Last month I participated in two challenges: Spark and Sunday Swaggers. Spark is an exchange between writer and artist led by Amy Souza. I partnered with Jone MacCulloch. I sent her a poem. She sent me this amazing photograph.

Lady Bird Johnson Grove by Jone Rush MacCulloch

How Do We Stand?  

I go to Lady Bird Johnson Grove
to be among these giant trees.

Fenced forest of ten thousand branches
diffuses blue sky radiation
illuminating tunnels in the midst

of roots ungrounded–a path
to the great unknown.

Moved by stillness,
we pass ancient ruins, 
an army of roots intertwined.
I’ll lock arms with you 

through dark spaces
where rays of light
are swallowed
and breathe in blue forever. 

Margaret Simon, all rights reserved

Molly Hogan challenged our Sunday Swagger poetry group to write after Cheryl Dumesnil’s Today’s Sermon. I created a collage. Sometimes doing this helps me focus and inspires creative juices. After playing with collage and word collecting, I pulled together a poem using the anaphora of Today’s Poem.

Magazine collage by Margaret Simon

Link up your post here:

You are invited to the Inlinkz link party!

Click here to enter


Read Full Post »

Poetry Friday round-up is with Michelle at More Art 4 All.

“Be a good steward of your gifts. Protect your time. Feed your inner life. Avoid too much noise. Read good books, have good sentences in your ears. Be by yourself as often as you can. Walk. Take the phone off the hook. Work regular hours.”

Jane Kenyon, Writer’s Almanac May 23, 2021

I’m keeping Jane Kenyon’s quote as a summer goal.

I read a prompt on Denise Krebs’ blog, Dare to Care, about taking a mentor text and writing its opposite. I think the prompt originated with Jericho Brown. I had saved a Jane Kenyon poem because I wanted to use it as a mentor text.


by Jane Kenyon

My head was heavy, heavy;
so was the atmosphere.
I had to ask two times
before my hand would scratch my ear.
I thought I should be out
and doing! The grass, for one thing,
needed mowing.

Just then a centipede
reared from the spine
of my open dictionary. lt tried
the air with enterprising feelers,
then made its way along the gorge
between 202 and 203. The valley of the shadow
of death came to mind

Read the rest of the poem here.

I enjoyed playing this game, using a thesaurus to find antonyms. You should give it a try sometime.


Mirror Poem

My toes were light, light;
so was the earth.
I had to half question
why my finger scratched my nose.
I didn’t think I should be inside
and lazy! The sky, for one thing,
needed viewing. 

After a while, a mosquito
flew over the belly
of my open notebook. It tried
the air with indolent wings,
then made its way along the nibble
between scar and creativity. A Cricket
in Times Square
came to mind

It must be easy for the right wing
to know what the left is doing.
and how, on such an afternoon,
when the earth is bright and attentive,
how does it end with feeling
orderly and lighthearted? 

Well, it had its fill of poetry.
I watched it pull its body
under the crease of the page, and appear
in a stain on my finger. 

Margaret Simon, after Jane Kenyon

Read Full Post »

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

Today the Poetry Friday community is celebrating Mary Lee Hahn on the occasion of her retirement. Mary Lee is one of those behind the scenes worker bees. She keeps Poetry Friday going with periodic calls for hosting. She has served on multiple committees with the National Council for Teachers of English (NCTE). I’ve learned over and over from Mary Lee’s quiet wisdom.

To find a way to honor her with a poem, I looked through the Ditty of the Month collections. I found an ars poetica poem by Mary Lee entitled “Peony Poem” in the 2017-2018 anthology. I borrowed her form to write this poem:

Another Peony

An idea
seedling, set
in soil, soggy and shifting
sprouting in a spring garden.

A draft
wobbly, wilting
waits on new legs
hoping to learn to grow.

A poem
blooming, brilliant
shines like a rose on a stem
showing up on this special day. 

Margaret Simon, after Mary Lee Hahn, draft
Photo by Lum3n on Pexels.com

Congratulations on your retirement, Mary Lee. “The trouble with poetry is that it encourages the writing of more poetry.” (Billy Collins) Just think how many poems you have spawned over the years, exponentially.

Read Full Post »

Poetry Friday round-up is with Irene at Live Your Poem.

This week I started following Denise Krebs’ blog, Dare to Care. We met each other virtually through blogging. She introduced me to a poetry form called 4×4. Here are the rules copied from her post:

  • 4 syllables in each line
  • 4 lines in each stanza
  • 4 stanzas
  • 4 times repeating a refrain line–line 1 in the first stanza, line 2 in the second stanza, line 3 in the third stanza, and line 4 in the fourth stanza.
  • Bonus: 4 syllables in the title
  • No restrictions on subject, rhyme, or meter.

It’s a fun form to play with. I’ve combined it with using quotes or a stolen line as the repeated line. I have to admit this form has been tough for students to use. While teaching it to kids, I’ve written a few poem drafts this week. Here are two that I don’t hate.

Awareness is
everything we
need to know to
stand for something.

Don’t fall for it.
Awareness is
looking deeply
into your soul.

Answers will come
to questions asked.
Awareness is
waiting for you.

No choice ever
is possible
until you know
awareness is.

Margaret Simon, draft

Hang on to love.
Find someone who
cares for you most,
holds you in trust.

Trust can be hard.
Hang on to love
anyway, ’cause
you matter, too.

When hearts are turned
to the sad news,
hang on to love
to get you through.

Not all sparkles
or shiny smiles,
for steady hands
hang on to love.

Margaret Simon, draft

Last summer I wrote with the National Writing Project during a virtual writing marathon. My poem, Muses, is published in their online journal here.

Chloe wrote a 4×4 poem and read it on a Flipgrid video:


Read Full Post »

Poetry Friday round-up is with Bridget at wee words for wee ones.

Heidi Mordhorst has started a Facebook group Paradise, Paved for poets wanting a place to “park” their poems, for comment, critique, or just a safe place to land. She has been practicing writing in conversation with or after other poets. Like artists will copy a master painting, when poets copy a master, form frees expression. Magical, really.

I received a link to May Sarton’s poem, For my Mother, in an email from Poets.org. Using her poem as a mentor text, I wrote a poem for my mother.

For My Mother
after May Sarton

Once more
I listen
to the music
of my past
with harmony
rising in my throat.

At the piano
or stereo,
from choir to opera,
your notes
my bones.

Keeping a distance,
my ears remember
the vibrations
of the walls
I closed myself in.

Your song
brought us through
flood waters.
I remember laying out
sheet music to dry.
Then you made a home
with new walls.

Today I find the box of cards 
you collected
and choose one
to send you.

Maybe you will recognize the paper,
the handwriting, or the return address.
Maybe not.
It doesn’t matter.
I remember your song
and that is enough. 

Margaret Simon, draft

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

Read Full Post »

Poetry Friday round-up is with Matt at Radio, Rhythm, and Rhyme.

This week I was humbled and surprised to have one of Sylvia Vardell’s students create an amazing poem video of Zen Tree from Hop to It: Poems to Get You Moving. Garrett’s soothing voice, the calm music, and the amazing images all came together to show something beautiful. I am honored by this creative expression of my words. Thanks to Sylvia for organizing the project with her students. See more at Poetry for Children.

Michelle Schaub has been posting poetry videos all month on her blog Poetry Boost. My video of “Peep Eye” was featured this week.

Michelle Kogan finished up the Kidlitosphere Progressive Poem with a final line as well as a delightful illustration. The poem will be archived here.

I’ve been writing poems each day in response to prompts on Ethical ELA. I share these prompts with my students. On Wednesday, I struggled over the prompt. I shared the struggle with Chloe. She started writing me notes with topic suggestions. One of these notes said, “Me.” Then the pen flowed.

Fifth Grade

She comes in the room
with an attitude
that testy mood
of preteen silliness
and suggests I write a poem
about her. 

As if I know her well enough
to write her down in words.

What I know is she grins loudly in braces.
She writes notes on paper
and crumples them like the crunch
of a chip bag in the trash–
Schwoop! Perfect shot! 

But this poem will not be a perfect shot. 
There are no shots left on her page
of excuses–the “not my fault”
dissolves into “I just can’t.”

I wonder aloud “When will you believe in yourself?”
When did I believe in myself?
Have I ever?

This poem can’t end like this.
I must write something encouraging
to make all this white space worth it.

This I know…she’s worth it! 

Margaret Simon, all rights reserved

Read Full Post »

Poetry Friday round-up is with Catherine at Reading to the Core.

On Ethical ELA this month, teachers and authors are offering intriguing poetry writing prompts. Padma Venkatraman wrote on April 14th that she has created a team of authors dedicated to diverse verse: “Diverse Verse is a website and a resource for educators and diverse poets and verse novelists.” This week they launched using the hashtags #DiverseVerse and #AuthorsTakeAction.

Padma invited teacher/writers to write a 4 lined rhymed stanza beginning with “Hope is.” I thought of how I made origami cranes last summer and organized a gathering of cranes to hang downtown. My first draft of this poem was this:

Hope is an origami crane
hanging in a tree
twisting with the wind
longing to be free.

Draft #1

In the comments, someone pointed out the words hanging, twisting, longing. “There is beauty but also struggle with “hanging”, “twisting”, “longing”. Much truth here.” A positive comment, I know, but I wanted to revisit the verse and see if I could make more of a connection from the hands creating the crane to the idea of peace. This is my next attempt with a line from Chloe, “Is perfection too much?” We’ve tried origami together. She pointed out how our attempts are imperfect at best, but we keep trying. Like hope. Like peace. It’s in the attempts, not the perfection.

Chloe wrote a verse, too. She received a comment from Padma herself and was thrilled.

Would you like to try to weave a metaphor about hope? Share one in the comments.

Photo by Prashant Gautam on Pexels.com

Hope is space between the clouds

the light shining through

the sun’s smiling face

who knew?

Chloe, 5th grade

Our Kidlit Progressive poem is rolling along nicely. Check out the next line choices today with Janice at Salt City Verse.

Read Full Post »

Poetry Friday round-up is with Jama at Jama’s Alphabet Soup

I hope you are having a fun-filled poetry month. This week I played with equation poems à la Laura Purdie Salas. Laura released a book of equation poems titled Snowman – Sun = Puddle (published by Charlesbridge and with art by Micha Archer). This is a great book to read with budding second and third grade writers as they learn about figurative language. This month Laura is posting an equation poem on her blog daily. My students and I enjoyed creating image equation poems using Canva.

by Rylee, on a stormy day when her teacher had a hard time getting home because the streets were flooded.
by Mrs. Simon on the same rainy day when no one could go out for recess.
by Adelyn, who in second grade is learning about the Civil Rights Movement.
by Chloe with a nod to Flora and Ulysses by Kate DiCamillo.
by Mrs. Simon

Read Full Post »

This year’s progressive poem started out recognizing kindness and is currently bouncing off to the playground where we have met a new character. Here’s the progress so far:

I’m a case of kindness – come and catch me if you can!
Easily contagious – sharing smiles is my plan.

I’ll spread my joy both far and wide,
As a force of Nature I’ll be undenied.

Words like, “how can I help?” will bloom in the street.
A new girl alone on the playground – let’s meet, let’s meet!

We can jump-skip together in a double-dutch round.

Denise at Dare to Care offered these line choices:

Over, under, jump and wonder, touch the ground


But she was shy when greeted; she didn’t make a sound.

I am attracted to the action in the first line, so I have selected it.

I’m a case of kindness – come and catch me if you can!
Easily contagious – sharing smiles is my plan.

I’ll spread my joy both far and wide,
As a force of Nature I’ll be undenied.

Words like, “how can I help?” will bloom in the street.
A new girl alone on the playground – let’s meet, let’s meet!

We can jump-skip together in a double-dutch round.
Over, under, jump and wonder, touch the ground.

2021 Kidlit Progressive Poem Day 9

I am happy that I get to begin a new stanza, but since this poem has become a rhyming poem, I don’t want to burden it with a difficult word to rhyme. I also need to consider the theme thus far, kindness and friendship.

I love the idea of a friendship blooming. Chloe was around when I was trying to create the line choices, so I let her write one of them. I won’t tell you which one, though. My friend and critique partner, Molly Hogan, gets to choose from these two lines:

Friends can be found when you open a door.


A never-ending sign connects hand to hand.

For a full list of participants, check out the sidebar.

Photo by Jill Wellington on Pexels.com
Poetry Friday round-up is with Tabatha at The Opposite of Indifference.

Read Full Post »

Older Posts »