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Archive for the ‘Poetry Friday’ Category

Poetry Friday round-up is with Kathryn down under at her website.

When I started #100DaysofNotebooking with my students, I couldn’t imagine that we would be reading and writing poetry every day. But poetry is where my radar goes, and a good poetry prompt for me is also good for my kiddos.

Thanks to Ethical ELA, I had many ways to lead my students into writing this week. The prompts are still up on the website, and I highly recommend them. Writing together day by day helps me and my students to be vulnerable together. From this prompt, we wrote poems about loved ones who have passed away. My students touched me with their honesty. They had to bear with me choking up when I shared this poem about my dear friend Amy:

Amy Who
inspired by Abuelito Who by Sandra Cisneros

Amy who looked like Sandra Bullock
but better, whose smile glowed a mile away,
who wore a crown with grace
when she threw beads to the crowd,
whom you may call a social butterfly,
but her conversations were real; she didn’t stray
from the tough stuff, and laughed aloud
at funny happenstance,
who held my grandbaby the last time I saw her,
tears in her eyes
as she said, “I will never have this.”
Who faced cancer with wisdom,
never giving up
while knowing all the while
her body was,
who left us all missing her,
whose joy lives on,
and her smile.

Margaret Simon, draft 2020
This photo of Amy from the first Berry Queen Ball in 2008 stays on my my refrigerator.

A prompt from Teach this Poem led me to a video of “Imagine” by John Lennon. Sadly, most of my students didn’t even know who he was, much less the song. But this freshness caused them to be open and creative in their writing.

The world
breaking into countries
some people can only imagine
while others can do something.
We would want our world
to be like clouds in the sky
staying together
to make a huge crowd
shouting and singing.
They contain heaven
where everyone lives in peace
not separating their clouds.
We don’t want our world to
turn into nothing

Jaden, 4th grade
Photo from PIxabay

No reason,
to kill or
die for.
Imagine,
I might be called a dreamer,
but there are others
who think the same.
I hope some day…
you’ll join us,
a brotherhood of man…
No need
for greed or
hunger.
Imagine us
all living and loving,

                      -together

Daniel, 5th grade

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Poetry Friday: Crossing

Poetry Friday round-up is with my friend and critique partner, Catherine Flynn.

In my school email inbox, I get a weekly poetry lesson from Poets.org. called Teach this Poem. I don’t do these every week because the intended audience is middle and high school, and my students are elementary. But this week the author’s bio drew my attention. Jericho Brown is from Shreveport, Louisiana, a native to our state.

In the lesson, students were to identify a picture from the Library of Congress of the March on Washington. Enough of my students know about MLK, Jr. that they understood what they were seeing. Relating the poem to the march was a stretch for them, however.

Nevertheless, we wrote after Jericho Brown.

The water is one thing, and one thing for miles.
The water is one thing, making this bridge
Built over the water another. Walk it
Early, walk it back when the day goes dim, everyone
Rising just to find a way toward rest again.

Read the rest here.

Jericho Brown, Poets.org

My poem became one of address to Jericho Brown.

We have crossed the line,
that imaginary space between
you and me, a wall covered in vines.
Tearing at the weeds, I find a flower–
morning glory. Help us, Jericho, to see
the flower in the weeds, the flame
inside a rainbow, crossing over
barriers to a place
where we can all leap together.

Margaret Simon, draft 2020

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Poetry Friday round-up is with Sally Murphy.

While the news of the world has most of us down and wondering what will happen next, my fellow poets and I turn to nature. Molly Hogan lets her eye find solace in nature in her poem this week. Linda Mitchell has haiku to share. And Catherine Flynn shares “Making Peace”
by Denise Levertov, “The poets must give us the imagination of peace…”

For more links to poetry peace, click over to Sally Murphy’s site. Sally is an Australian author supporting #authorsforfireys on Twitter, an auction to help fire relief in Australia.

I was recently driving to New Orleans on a stormy day, but the closer I got to Nola, the clouds turned red from the setting sun and a rainbow appeared. Who doesn’t love a good rainbow to inspire promise?

But I was driving, so taking a picture was tricky, and writing a poem impossible. Later I tried dictating my idea into the notes app. Some of the words recorded. Enough for the idea to germinate into this draft.

A car wizzes past
going 85 or 90 miles an hour.
Weaving in and out, the driver
couldn’t have noticed the sun
drawing light into the clouds
like a bonfire on a cold night,

Or the rainbow that appeared
streaking more red than any
rainbow I’ve ever seen.
I slowed to snap a picture,

longing to forget the speeding car,
the violent news of the day,
and drive into the sunset
with the promise of a rainbow. 

Margaret Simon, draft 2020

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

My Sunday Night Poetry Swaggers Group discussed the One Little Word tradition and found that everyone had a slightly different take on whether or not it was a good practice. Heidi challenged us to write about whether or not we word for the first Friday of the month. You can read their posts here:

Catherine
Heidi
Linda
Molly

I’ve been choosing a word each year for 7 years. I enjoy the process of trying to find the one right word to guide my year.

I’m a two on the Enneagram. That means I’m a giver, someone who spends most of their time trying to ingratiate others. The good side of a two is being helpful and selfless. The idea is to get better at being who you are. So I subscribe to an Enneathought of the Day. This came on New Year’s Eve.

Present has been my word before, but it continues to fit because being present is a constant goal. For 2019, my word was Grace. Grace goes beyond presence to actually live with the peace of knowing you are loved.

My word this year was suggested by my son-in-law who knows me pretty well. I wrote about Embrace in my Spiritual Thursday post yesterday.

I joined Michelle Haseltine’s #100DaysofNotebooking challenge and wrote about Embrace in my notebook. This challenge is not only a good way to restart a notebook practice, but it connects me to a new community of writers I can “embrace.”

I also received a serendipitous postcard from Irene Latham. The poem just makes me want to embrace her and embrace writing.

Writing in Winter by Irene Latham

Here is a second draft of my Embrace poem:

Embrace says yes to now,
holding on tight to this one moment
finding a heart full of love.

Embrace is a word of grace,
silently listening, open
for the world to fill.

Embrace is here for you
to welcome, knowing nothing
ever stays the same.

Embrace!

Margaret Simon, draft 2020

Do you choose a word? a resolution?

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Poetry Friday round-up is with Michelle Kogan..

The Christmas rush has finally settled, and Charlie and I have found solace in the sofa with warm fleece blankets, a cup of tea, and a guilty pleasure rom com on Netflix. I needed this day of rest.

I did spend some time catching up on Cybils reading and doing laundry. There’s always laundry. But for the most part, I’ve taken it easy.

Thinking ahead to the new year coming, I love the idea that there is space for seeds to grow. On the Smack Dab in the Middle blogspot, Deb Calhoun wrote:

“Two days past winter solstice, when the days inch longer and the nights shorter, this is the time when imagination reignites. All that has been hidden, sleeping and growing in the dark Underland, begins to emerge. Tendrils of light shoot up like tiny seedlings poking their heads from the dark. They find light and see what the wind says.”

Deb Calhoun

Deb suggests we pay attention to the budding of imagination and creativity. Whenever I have the time to relax, I feel the energy of creativity. I wish I could cultivate it every day, but when lessons have to be made and the house has to be ready, I get weary and unimaginative.

Today I am off to visit my parents in Mississippi, but before this winter school break ends, I hope I find another day to rest and wait for new ideas to germinate.

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A gathering of poetry can be found at Liz Steinglass’s site.

The Winter Poetry Swap has arrived. Our friend Tabatha Yeatts matches us up for a rich exchange of poetry inspired gifts. This year I was paired with Tricia Stohr-Hunt. This week I received her gift.

Tricia spent some time on my gift. That impresses me because these days, especially in December, time is precious and small. She cross-stitched my favorite line of poetry from Naomi Shihab Nye. Now to know this, she had to read my blog posts. Then design and stitch.

And to top it all off, she wrote a wonderful golden shovel using the line.

Golden Shovel for Advent

It is not the season of me or I.
nor the season of greed and want.
It is time for reflection, time to
prepare for the guest. We must be
ready to reach out to someone,
anyone who needs, anyone who
asks. Let us draw nearer to what makes
us whole. As the year crowns, it is music
that fills the air and our hearts with
expectation. Stars keep watch. My,
how they shine! Rejoice, for the Lord is coming.

Tricia Stohr-Hunt, 2019

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The poetry Friday Round up is hosted this week by Tanita at fiction, instead of lies.

Our Sunday night Poetry Swaggers group is posting today with a challenge from Molly Hogan. “This month, I invite you to reinvent the world around you (or one aspect of it) by shifting your lens to see the beauty in what at first seems to be ugly or unnoteworthy.”

Nothing was ugly
just because the world said so.

Naomi Shihab Nye, A Valentine for Ernest Mann

Molly quoted Naomi Shihab Nye who says,
“Maybe if we re-invent whatever our lives give us,
we find poems.” All we need to do is shift our focus a bit to find beauty in the everyday, otherwise passed-over things.

I pass this dilapidated house often, yet after Molly’s prompt, I noticed the beauty of the plants justing up through the floor boards.

There are signs
on the door
fingerprints,
peeling paint.
We’ve been here,
so have they-
gone now
the way of time.

Margaret Simon, draft 2019
Steps to a house in New Orleans. I was struck by the pattern of color in the peeling paint.

The Smell of Morning

Sagging fog, thick on the morning,
captures the scent of my walk.

Someone is running the dryer
blowing Downy air.

Every morning, he smokes a cigar
on his front porch, white rocker, 
booted feet propped on the railing.
He waves and with it comes
a pungent smell of burning wood–a home scent.

Beneath my feet, pine needles crunch
releasing a breath of Christmas.
My mother would gather them
to mulch the flower beds for winter.

As I walk, I practice my deep
yoga breath, in, hold, out, hold,
pausing to savor the ordinary,
extraordinary scents of the day.

Margaret Simon, draft 2019

Be sure to visit the other Swaggers today to enjoy more beauty in the ugly.

Catherine Flynn: Reading to the Core

Heidi Mordhorst: My Juicy Little Universe

Linda Mitchell: A Word Edgewise

Molly Hogan: Nix the Comfort Zone

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