Archive for the ‘Poetry Friday’ Category

Poetry Friday round-up is with Amy at The Poem Farm.

Part of playing with poetry is finding poetry everywhere in every way.  I was reading The Writer’s Almanac on Eudora Welty’s birthday, April 13th.  In the article, there was a list of the seasonal flowers that bloom in Eudora’s garden that was diligently tended by her mother, Chestina.  I collected the flower names and crafted a poem around them.


Photo from Calla Lily Dialogues

Walking in Eudora’s Garden

For Eudora Welty, 1909-2001

The optimist’s daughter steps into a garden
of larkspur, writes stories among hollyhocks,
gathers courage from snapdragons.

When summer comes, she celebrates phlox
and zinnias and blue salvia.
Even in autumn, her garden blooms

with asters and chrysanthemums–
a name that rolls from her southern drawl
like creamy froth on café au lait.

Her garden never dies. Winters charm
with camellias and pansies.
The sounds of birds rejoice all year long.

–Margaret Simon (draft) 2019

Author’s note: I grew up in Jackson, MS during Eudora Welty’s lifetime. I once heard her read and was given the opportunity to interview her for a high school project.  She was an elegant, kind woman.

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


Irene is gathering Poetry Friday posts today.  She is the originator/ organizer of the Progressive Poem.  I’ve participated for four years.  Each year, the poem progresses through different blogs as line by line, we build a poem for children.  This year, Matt Forrest Esenwine started us off with found song lyrics.  The trend continued, and we have this high energy, happy poem about summer.

I am a fan of musicals.  This appreciation runs in my blood.  I passed it on to my middle daughter.  We’ve enjoyed Wicked, Moulin Rouge, and Waitress together and hope to see Dear Evan Hanson this year.  My husband is not such a fan, but earlier this year he appeased me and went to the movie Mary Poppins Returns.  He liked La La Land, so why not?  We were both totally entertained.  I downloaded the soundtrack the next day.

When I’m out walking my dog in the early mornings, some days I just listen to the birds, but a few days ago in anticipation of this required line, I listened to Mary Poppins Returns.  Oh, the joy that music brings to my heart.  A quick search for lyrics online found a just right line for today.


Endless summer; I can see for miles…
Fun, fun, fun – and the whole world smiles.
No time for school- just time to play,
we swim the laughin’ sea each and every day.

You had only to rise, lean from your window,
the curtain opens on a portrait of today.
Kodachrome greens, dazzling blue,
it’s the chance of a lifetime,

make it last forever–ready? Set? Let’s Go!
Come, we’ll take a walk, the sun is shining down
Not a cloud in the sky, got the sun in my eyes
Tomorrow’s here. It’s called today. 


Found Lines:

L1 The Who, ‘I Can See for Miles’ / The Beach Boys, ‘Endless Summer’
L2 The Beach Boys, ‘Fun, Fun, Fun’ / Dean Martin, ‘When You’re Smiling’
L3 The Jamies, ‘Summertime, Summertime’
L4 The Doors ‘Summer’s Almost Gone’/ Led Zeppelin ‘Good Times, Bad Times’
L5 Ray Bradbury, Dandelion Wine “You had only to rise, lean from your window,”
L6 Joni Mitchell, “Chelsea Morning”
L7 Paul Simon, “Kodachrome,” “Dazzling Blue”
L8 Dan Fogelberg, “Run for the Roses”
L9 Spice Girls, “Wannabe”/ Will Smith, “Gettin’ Jiggy Wit It”
L10 The Beatles, “Good Day Sunshine”
L11 The Carpenters, “Top of the World”
L12 Lin-Manuel Miranda, “Underneath the Lovely London Sky” from Mary Poppins Returns

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

Spring is in full swing and weeds are choking the ground.  When we discussed service projects we could do for this quarter, Landon brought up the garden.  He is in the garden club, so he knows it needs some loving care.

I suggested Thursdays. 30 minutes. Keep it a secret.

When Thursday came, the sun was high in the sky with a slight breeze and the perfect temperature to be outside.  The kids didn’t forget.

Landon showed us the stash of gloves and tools, and we went to work on a small patch of weeds.

I was surprised at how excited they were to get down and dirty.  Kaia said, “I have a poem.”  We had also talked about writing secret poems for poetry month and placing them in the garden.

We hadn’t brought our notebooks (note to self for next week), but I had my phone, so I opened Notes and captured her poem.  Jayden laughed when she got the chance to star in our poem.

We are the secret gardeners.
We don’t make a sound.
We are digging weeds
Right out of the ground.

We are pulling and pulling.
Watch out for the bees.
What a charming day!
Jayden’s about to sneeze.

by Kaia, 3rd grade

Bouquet of flowers from the garden.

Poetry Month is just around the corner. My NPM19 Poem A Day project is Playing With Poetry. I am joining Jone MacCulloch and Mary Lee Hahn. We will be playing with Haikubes, Magnetic Poetry, Metaphor Dice, and Paint Chip Poetry.  Join in if you’d like! We can use the Twitter hashtag #playwithpoetryNPM to find and support each other.

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Poetry Friday round-up is with Heidi at My Juicy Little Universe

“Today is Pi Day,” My husband greeted me Thursday morning.

“Oh, no!  I forgot.  I always like to do something for Pi Day.”

“I know that. That’s why I’m telling you.”

So once again, flying by the seat of my 31 years of experience, I opened up our class time together with “Guess what today is?”

Some kids knew, but didn’t know why.  I wrote on the board, “Pie Day or Pi Day?”

We discussed the meaning of Pi, the irrational number 3.14 and so on, and the relationship between diameter and circumference of a circle.

Then we got to the fun part.  Each student chose a piece of colored paper, and we brainstormed ways to make a perfect circle.  Then the hunt for possible patterns- the pencil cup, my coffee cup, the lid of a game.  Kaia suggested using a paper clip.  If I had once known how to draw a circle with a paper clip, I had forgotten.

Place a pencil inside one end of a large paper clip. Hold the pencil point in place on this sheet of paper. Place another pencil inside the other end of the paper clip. Ask your helper to hold your paper still while you draw a circle by moving the second pencil.

I asked the students to use their imagination to create something with the circle and use it as the topic for their Pi-Ku.  A Pi-ku takes on the syllable count of Pi, 3.14159….

While we didn’t produce great poetry, we did have a good time playing with circles, wacky drawings, and syllable counts.

I combined this activity with the daily poetry prompt in Laura Shovan’s poetry project.  The prompt for Thursday was honey.

My honey sweet
Pouring all you have
Into joy-light for my morning cup.

Karson’s elephant Pi-Ku:

cabbage and trees.

Karson, 4th grade

Jump! You feel
You hear music,
bird. You think nothing lives
Tweet, a moon bird singing is soothing.
by Landon, 5th grade

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Poetry Friday round-up is with Linda at Teacher Dance.

Today is the first day of March, so you know what that means: The annual March Slice of Life Challenge at the Two Writing Teachers!  I will be writing a blog post every day and linking it up to Two Writing Teachers.  What’s the point?

  • Writing every day is an important discipline for a writer and for a teacher of writing.
  • Connecting to other teacher-writers inspires and informs my teaching and writing, and I usually make new friends along the way.
  • There are prizes! 

I first met Jen Vincent through Kate Messner’s Teachers Write, a virtual summer camp for teachers who want to write.  If I remember correctly, we did a Google Hangout with other writers and read a section of our work.  I further connected with Jen through blogging and Twitter and met up with her at NCTE in 2014.  These connections are invaluable to me as a teacher and a writer.

One day I saw that Jen was teaching a workshop.  Silly me, I thought it was virtual, so I replied to her message on Facebook, “I want to come.”  Since Chicago and South Louisiana are pretty far apart, that was not feasible, but Jen thought of a way.  She created a virtual workshop.

We met one Saturday morning by Zoom meeting.  She led me through an exercise from Teachers Write by Tracey Baptiste.  We made a graphic organizer in our notebooks and labeled three places we had been recently. We then divided each column into two columns. On one side we wrote descriptions about the places and the other side we wrote emotions we felt about the places.

I chose school, dance lessons, and a restaurant where we go dancing.  I decided to connect the three places with the thread of dancing.

Dancing Days

I dance through my days…

Halls of smiling teachers
greet my wobbly walk
weighed down with backpack,
lunch bag and Yeti cup.
Miss Marie says, Show me that grandbaby!
After we view the latest pic on my phone,
I dance down the hall to my classroom.

At Dance Around the World studio,
bright purple walls of mirror on mirror
reflect my partner and me.
Miss Lou says, Right. Left. Back step.
We follow along,
find our balance–
weightless in a jitterbug twirl.

I dance my way to Friday night,
Nouveau String Band at Joie de Vivre,
wooden floors echo the sounds
of greetings, giggles, and two-steps.
Buck says, This waltz is for you.
The weight of the week disappears
to the beat of fiddle, mandolin, and drum.

(c) Margaret Simon

This workshop was a test run for Jen for her new Patreon page, Story Exploratory.  If you’d like to find more ways to write, I highly recommend Jen as an instructor. You can view this workshop and others by visiting Jen’s patreon page, Story Exploratory.


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Poetry Friday round-up is with Robyn at Life on the Deckle Edge

I am participating in a book study called “A Course in Miracles.” It is quite an amazing journey of meditations that lead to self-awareness and ultimately to inner peace.  Each day there is a new mantra.  One of the mantras for this week was “God is the love in which I forgive myself.”  I was drawn to creating a golden shovel poem and used Canva.com to design the graphic.

In my classroom, we have been using the golden shovel form to respond to quotes.  Invented by Nikki Grimes, a golden shovel form begins with writing the words of the quote down the right hand margin of the page.  Then you write a poem around the words, incorporating the quote into the poem.  On Martin Luther King, Jr. Day I wrote one together with Jayden around this quote, “The time is always right to do what is right.”

When someone knows the
right thing but time
goes too fast, and is
never around long enough, always
do what’s right
even when it’s hard to.
No matter what you do
Listen to what
your heart
knows is

The golden shovel form is a way to honor the words of another while making them your own. Next time you read an inspiring quote, try to write a poem around it.




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Poetry Friday round-up is with Jone this week at Check it Out!

I read the above quote in a post from Smack Dab in the Middle. (Image made in Canva) If you are a writer, take a minute to read the post. Darlene Jacobson wrote, “For me, and I suspect for many of us who write for children, EVERYTHING is a miracle.”

I write with children, not just for children, and feel that every time we write together, a miracle happens.  Lately I have been writing skinny poems, multiple skinnies a day.  I’ve gotten into the rhythm.  Starting with a simple line leading to single words is a quick and inspirational way to write.  Like haiku, a skinny poem is a short form, but unlike haiku that focuses on a single moment, a skinny can focus on a single thought or idea. (See more about the form on my PF post last week.)

Taking inspiration from the above quote, I wrote the following:

Everything is a miracle
by a miracle is everything.

Today, after a stormy day yesterday, the sky is clear and the sun is shining, a daily miracle.  There are fields of butterweed blooming.

CREDIT:Jeff Lepore/Science Source

Sunshine is a daily miracle
daily miracle in the Sun.


What miracles do you see every day?  Can you write a simple skinny poem?

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