Archive for the ‘Poetry Friday’ Category

A collaborative calendar for NPM with Molly Hogan.

Happy National Poetry Month! I’m excited (and a little anxious) to start a new blog journey today. Last month I wrote a post every day in March for the annual Two Writing Teachers Slice of Life Challenge. You’d think after 31 straight days, I’d be ready to stop. But the practice of writing gets better and in many ways easier the more you do it. I am joining a community of teachers, poets, and bloggers who commit to National Poetry Month.

For starters, take a look at the first line of this year’s Kidlit Progressive Poem with Mary Lee today. She is setting us off on a long road to an amazing collaborative feat, 30 days, 30 poets, 30 lines.

Suleika Jaouad has an email newsletter, The Isolation Journals, in which she prompted “The Open Palm.”

Your prompt for the week:

  1. Close your eyes, and slowly trace the outline of your non-dominant hand on a blank page. Take your time. Pay attention to the physical sensations. The sound of pen on page. The feel of paper against palm, pen between fingers. Surrender any illusions of control. Any attempt at getting it “right” or “perfect.”
  2. Write a creative intention inside your palm. Around it, begin writing things that will invite you back to your practice—encouraging words, activities that inspire you, different ways of approaching your intention, small steps to get you closer to your goal.
  3. Outside the hand: Allow yourself to daydream about what lies ahead. Write about where your intention could bring you. What it could help you discover. Record any new revelations and realizations, dreams or ideas that you want to carry forward.
  4. Reflect on what happened in your mind and in your body at each step of the process, and how that awareness can guide your creative path.
Suleika Jaouad
My Open Palm by Margaret Simon

This open palm feels like my opening up to this new month of writing daily, the practice of being open to what flows, without judgement, discovering the creativity that already lives in me. Thanks for being here. This haibun is from a prompt at VerseLove at Ethical ELA. I decided to abandon grammar rules and Flow.

Write, Just Write

Write fast she says without judgement keep the pen moving
across the page you can do this with one hand tied behind
your back standing on one leg let the flamingo in you blush
with delight until the timer stops ticking then rest breathe in
the feeling of success of soulsearching of secrets revealed
in your own abandon you are in charge here Be Be Be who
you want to be embrace her for she is yours forever.

Find a soft place
to land your soft body
sing yourself home.

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.
Poetry Friday is hosted today by Mary Lee at A(nother) Year of Writing

Whew! We made it to the last day of March. I wrote on this blog space for 31 straight days. I’m feeling a little bit proud that I made this commitment and accomplished it for the 10th year. If you read any of my posts, thank you. My readers and responders keep me going, keep me writing.

National Poetry Month begins tomorrow (no April Fools). The Progressive Poem calendar is full and lives in the side bar. Mary Lee will start us off tomorrow with the first line. She is also hosting today, so pop over and bookmark her site, A(nother) Year of Reading.

Molly Hogan and I have collaborated on a calendar-chart of choices for our National Poetry Month writing. We intentionally did not include dates so we can see how the spirit moves and have some choice about the poems we write. If you wish to play along, we made a Canva calendar (not calendar).

The Poetry Sisters challenge this month was an etheree poem. An etheree is a poetry form that begins with one syllable in the first line and continues growing each line by a syllable until the tenth line has ten syllables. I looked back into my notebook to find this found etheree from an Ash Wednesday sermon from my priest, Annie Etheredge. (I just noticed how close her last name is to etheree.) Her sermon began with a poetic description of a blue bird nesting.

Nesting Box

we could watch
mama bluebird
being a bluebird
collecting tiny twigs
flashing her royal colors
you see a fragile little frame
she pushed an egg out of her body
with a great flourish of her azure wings

Margaret Simon, found poem from Annie Etheredge’s Ash Wednesday sermon

If you have special plans for National Poetry Month, let me know. I’d love to follow along.

Photo by Hal Moran on Pexels.com

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Rainbow Promise

On wooded trails,
under the wild strawberry
a fresh fern unfurls,
new leaves replace old
heartshapes of gold,
a forest in rebirth.

Margaret Simon, draft
Rainbow collage collection, Lake Fausse Pointe trail photo by Margaret Simon

On a recent yoga Women’s Wellness Retreat, I collected things as I walked a forest trail. The instructor suggested collecting a rainbow. My collection includes an unripe blackberry, a piece of dead wood, a fiddlehead fern, a few wildflowers and leaves. When we stopped for a short break, I arranged them into something that pleased me and took this photo. I left most of it in the forest where I found it. I kept the heart-shaped leaf, fern fiddlehead, and the purple wildflower to press and tape into my notebook. We poets are pretty good at assigning symbolism to things. If this collage arrangement speaks to you in some way, write a small poem in the comments. Be sure to support other writers with comments as well.

I am planning a National Poetry Month project, but This Photo Wants to be a Poem will continue to be part of it. Consider adding this practice to your own NPM project. Follow my blog to get updates in your inbox. If you teach, you can use this prompt with students. Please share students’ poems as well.

I will also be posting links each day to the Kidlit Progressive Poem. I’m excited for April, my favorite month of the year.

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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.
Rose Cappelli has the round up today at Imagine the Possibilities

Earlier this week I posted my Pile of Good Things Poem prompted by Stefanie Boutelier at Ethical ELA. Stef encouraged us to use technology and shared a design she made in Canva. I shared the prompt with my students on Monday. My little ones in 1st and 2nd could put together this idea for a poem. I am amazed at how easily they use technology at such an early age. Second grader James turned his pile into the shape of a tree.

I’ve been thinking about my pile of not so good things lately. You might say it’s a gripe poem, a pile of pet peeves.

My Pile of Peeves

Scent of cat pee
Anxiety at 3 AM
Morning cafeteria duty
When I’ve lost something
Hitting Send before proofing
A colleague diagnosed with cancer
An unconsolable child weeping over a mistake
The sound of my alarm when I’m actually sleeping
In carpool line, putting a student back into a toxic environment
The big white truck with extra tires passing me to make a right turn from the left lane.

Margaret Simon, ongoing draft depends upon the day

The Kidlit Progressive Poem schedule for April is full. You can copy and paste the code found on this post. Contact me by email if you have any questions.

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I am privileged to have the opportunity to write poetry with gifted kids. Their minds are open and in tuned to ideas. Most days they can’t wait to tell me what they are thinking about. Most days they want to write, welcoming the blank page. This week I shared with two of my young students (2nd and 3rd graders) photos of the full moon that I had collected from social media. I actually had another idea for them, but as we were looking at and discussing my picture of the moon above my neighbor’s house, they were full of questions and wonderings and a poem emerged. It was a happy moment because somedays little boys would rather be running outside than writing a poem with their teacher.

Click the image to see a larger view. Photo by Margaret Simon.
There are still a few dates available to sign up for the 2023 Kidlit Progressive poem. Click Here.

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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.

Quote of the Day

A tree is known by its fruit; a man by his deeds. A good deed is never lost; he who sows courtesy reaps friendship, and he who plants kindness gathers love.

St. Basil, source 365 Days of Wonder

I literally yelled at the poor East Indian dude who answered my called to the credit card company. They shut down my credit card over 3 weeks ago due to fraud, and I still do not have a new card. I was livid. I bantered on about subscriptions being canceled so I couldn’t even watch TV. A bit of an exaggeration, but you get the point.

He patiently checked on the status and calmly explained that I should wait a few more days. I’ve heard it all before. Then I asked, “Why could the Disney Plus charge go through and I don’t even have the secret number yet?”

He again very patiently explained that some companies allow them to change over the recurring charges. “You mean I don’t have to get on the phone and call all these companies?”

My voice was calmer. I was breathing a little better. I apologized for yelling at him and promised I would try to wait a few more days.

Then I went outside to water plants and ended up pulling weeds. I’ve always wanted to be a gardener. One who enjoyed digging and planting. I am hopeful it may be happening. I was amazed at how easily I calmed down when I dug in the cool brown dirt, watched doddle bugs emerge, and felt that satisfaction that I was doing something productive.

Then I called Mary. Mary is my good friend who is a master gardener. I told her about my butterfly garden. She said, “Come over! I have some plants for you.”

I went shopping for plants in Mary’s yard and came home with pots of native sunflowers, a blooming ground cover, and one other butterfly plant whose name I’ve already forgotten.

The digging, clearing a space for something new, finding new plants, a gift of friendship all soothed by worried soul. And I hadn’t even gotten to a glass of wine yet.

In my notebook this week I used the above quote to create a golden shovel.

“he who plants kindness gathers love.”

When he sees the first hummingbird at the hibiscus, he
gathers sugarwater for who
ever may visit; he plants
bee balm, hosta, zinnia, and kindness
attracting a single ruby-red who gathers
us to the window to love.

Margaret Simon, draft

Mary and I share photos of our orchids that are re-flowering.

There are still dates available for the Kidlit Progressive Poem in April. Don’t forget to sign up here.

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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 love to go for a walk in the morning. Getting out of the house is my problem. First, I have coffee. Then I check email and these days, write a Slice and read some Slices. Comment. I get sucked in. Even with this problem of getting out of the door, once I’m out, I’m never sorry. Most days when I get back home, there’s a mad rush to get ready for school. Somewhere in this morning routine, I try to get in some writing. Sometimes the writing happens while I am walking. Notes app, microphone on.

My grandson Leo visited this past weekend. He is highly creative. He draws with amazing design, unlike most scribblings of a 4-year old. Last week we ran into my cousin Andrew, the architect, during Mardi Gras. I showed Andrew Leo’s drawings. My daughter started a shared album about a year ago, so I have them on my phone.

Andrew told me a story about his second grade teacher. He loved to build things, and his mother, my aunt, would throw out things like paper towel tubes, boxes, and magazines, etc.. But not Andrew’s teacher. She had a box of trash just for him. An Andrew box full of scraps to build with. He has never forgotten this and may be the artist he is today because of it.

Being Mamere I collected toilet paper tubes, gumballs, and a box. Early on Saturday morning (Leo woke up at 5:30 AM), I showed him the stuff. “You can make whatever you want.” I gave him a plastic container with glue and a paintbrush and left him alone. He created something. When his mother saw it, she noticed that he had even found a wad of cat hair to add to the top of one of the towers. I placed the sculpture in my new butterfly garden to hopefully attract insects and caterpillars.

Leo’s sculpture
Happy Poetry Friday! Be sure to visit Tanita at {fiction, instead of lies} for Roundup.

For Poetry Friday, it is the first Friday, so the Inklings (my writing group) have a new challenge. And it came from me. I asked my friends to toy with the use of anaphora (repetition) in a poem using the mentor text from Jericho Brown, Crossing. I wrote one last week that I ended up putting in the trash, so I didn’t have anything to share. Remember the walk I took? I spoke a poem into my Notes app that is my poem offering today.

To see other Inklings poems:

Linda @A Word Edgewise
Heidi @my juicy little universe
Molly @Nix the Comfort Zone
Catherine @Reading to the Core
Mary Lee Hahn @Another Year of Reading

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It’s time to sign up for the 2023 progressive poem. Each year during National Poetry Month, our Poetry Friday community creates a poem. If you would like to add a line to the poem, select a date. On that date, you will copy the poem from the previous writer and paste it into your blog post, adding the next line. Select a date and leave this information in a comment:

1. Date selected.

2. Your name.

3. Your blog title.

4. Your blog’s URL.

I will update the list as I am able. The logo at the top may be used for your blog.

April 1 Mary Lee Hahn, Another Year of Reading

April 2 Heidi Mordhorst, My Juicy Little Universe

April 3 Tabatha, The Opposite of Indifference

April 4 Buffy Silverman

April 5 Rose Cappelli, Imagine the Possibilities

April 6 Donna Smith, Mainely Write

April 7 Margaret Simon, Reflections on the Teche

April 8 Leigh Anne, A Day in the Life

April 9 Linda Mitchell, A Word Edgewise

April 10 Denise Krebs, Dare to Care

April 11 Emma Roller, Penguins and Poems

April 12 Dave Roller, Leap Of Dave 

April 13 Irene Latham Live You Poem 

April 14 Janice Scully, Salt City Verse

April 15 Jone Rush MacCulloch

April 16 Linda Baie TeacherDance

April 17 Carol Varsalona, Beyond Literacy Link

April 18 Marcie Atkins

April 19 Carol Labuzzetta at The Apples in My Orchard 

April 20 Cathy Hutter, Poeturescapes

April 21 Sarah Grace Tuttle at Sarah Grace Tuttle’s Blog, 

April 22 Marilyn Garcia

April 23 Catherine at Reading to the Core

April 24 Janet Fagal, hosted by Tabatha, The Opposite of Indifference

April 25 Ruth, There is no Such Thing as a God-Forsaken Town

April 26 Patricia J. Franz, Reverie

April 27 Theresa Gaughan, Theresa’s Teaching Tidbits

April 28 Karin Fisher-Golton, Still in Awe Blog

April 29 Karen Eastlund, Karen’s Got a Blog

April 30 Michelle Kogan Illustration, Painting, and Writing

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Poetry Friday is hosted today by Tabatha at
The Opposite of Indifference.

I have been off this week and joyfully participating in two writing challenges. I truly wish I could do this every day. Writing to prompts makes my creative juices flow. If I write a poem each day, I feel a certain satisfaction that I’ve accomplished something.

This week the Poetry Sisters challenge was to write an ekphrastic poem, which is a poem written to art. Their theme this year is transformation. In the February Project with Laura Shovan, Molly Hogan used photographs of abandoned buildings to prompt us to think about their story. I went to a mysterious place with this image.

Photo by Molly Hogan

I’ve always enjoyed writing about a mystery. In high school, I had a short story published in the school’s literary journal about a portrait in an abandoned house that ended with a question, a mystery. Many in the Facebook group wanted to know more. Mystery is like that. We want to know. I recently heard on a podcast “surrender to the mystery.” I believe that we don’t know all the answers, and we are not supposed to. So let this poem sit with you in all its unknown.


She left the curtains
the window open,
the cat in the yard.
She left when the air
was warm and damp
fearing her shame
would shatter her dream. 

Margaret Simon, draft

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My fellow Inkling, writing partner Molly Hogan has the round up today at Nix the Comfort Zone.

I surprise myself. Every day this month there is a new prompt with the theme of “Story” in Laura Shovan’s February project. Every day I am invited to write a poem. Intimidating? Totally. Scary? You bet. Comforting? Always.

I discover over and over again that writing in a community of poets is a safe and accepting place to be. I need to just get over my little ego voice and jump in.

This week Buffy Silverman put up a prompt with these images she’s allowing us to share. She asked us to write about gatherings.

You would think I’d write something about nature. But all that was on my mind was the fact that my brother had texted that he wants to come visit. He has not had a weekend off in a long time, and the last time he visited was for my daughter’s wedding in 2017. My poem written on the spot was about the joy of trying to fit everyone into our house. This is one of those drafts that will likely remain a draft, but I had fun writing it. I forget sometimes that writing should be fun.

Sleeping Arrangements

Add a brother-uncle to the mix
complicates the sleeping arrangements.
He should get the guest room because he’s the guest.
Children can sleep anywhere, except they can’t.
They require a confinement misnomered “Pack & Play”
more like “Stuff and Sleep,” and don’t forget to turn on
the sound machine. There must be a night light,
but nothing too bright.
Cow has to be in the far right corner
while silky covers her face.
Now the 3-year-old has figured out how to climb out,
so he needs an adult in the room nearby.

I tell them “Come! Come!”
We will figure it out
because all my loves in one house
is Everything to me.

Margaret Simon, flash draft

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