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Click over to an invitation to write at Sharing our Stories.

This week’s invitation to “Share our Stories” is writing from a definition. I chose my One Little Word embrace.

Embrace: to clasp in arms: hug. The very thing taken away from us this strange pandemic year. The value of a simple hug has grown. Nothing is taken for granted.

Embrace: encircle, welcome. While I do not welcome an insidious virus, I do welcome the quiet reflection that comes with alone time.

Embrace: acceptance. This one has proven hardest of all. I am easily angered by the rising numbers. I have a hard time accepting screens over face to face. I also miss my children, and that is hard to accept.

Embrace implies gathering of separate things within a whole. Last month after careful planning and quarantine, we had an intimate family wedding in which we gathered another family into our whole. It was a beautiful wedding for my youngest daughter. Not the one she wanted, but the one we embraced.

Embracing this year has proven more challenging than ever. I still love the word. Etymology of the word comes from en+brace meaning a pair of arms. The blessings of my life abound. I hold within my figurative arms a healthy family that continues to grow. Soon I will embrace another grandchild. Soon we all will embrace a vaccine. Soon our country will embrace a new leader. We have much to embrace. May we all embrace Love!

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“I have no news to tell you, for the days are all the same, I have no ideas, except to think that a field of wheat or a cypress is well worth the trouble of looking at close up, and so on.” – Vincent van Gogh

Red Berries after the Rain by Margaret Simon

Waiting for the rain to stop to take my daily walk, I looked out the kitchen window and saw these berries, made redder by the low light and wetness. I’ve been trying out photography lately with a camera I’ve had stored away. I wrote a Slice about it on Tuesday.

Here is an invitation to write a small poem, one of noticing something new or something old in new light. Write a small poem in the comments and take a moment to read other poems. Leave encouraging comments. I hope you are all enjoying a peaceful Thanksgiving. It may look different this year, but it is still a time to give thanks. And my thanks go out to all of you who stop by my little corner of the world.

Within the walls
of rainy days,
some things still sing
Praise.
Listen harder.

Margaret Simon, draft

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

Earlier this week, Sarah Donovan once again invited teacher-writers to join an Open Write. One of her brilliant inspirations came from this poem by Joseph Bruchac. I am so grateful for my daughters, the oldest of whom will soon deliver a daughter of her own. I am pleased with how the simple form worked to express the connection I feel.

Expectant

When I place
my fingers
on the swell
of her womb,


like combing waves in an ocean
softly lapping 
to shore,


her skin
gently moves


as our time
ebbs & flows
mother to daughter
to daughter
together
in our own sea. 

Margaret Simon, 2020
Photo by Oleg Magni from Pexels

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Every morning I walk through a field in my neighborhood to cross to another street. I watch the seasons change in an old Japanese magnolia tree. I’ve photographed it many times. It seems to pose for me.

Japanese Magnolia Morning by Margaret Simon

This is a time to think about gratitude. We have to look closely, closer than ever before. Pandemic on the rise can blur the lines of our lives. Take a minute to praise this flower, the morning, or whatever this photo brings forth for you.

Dewdrop tear,
how do you balance
when gravity
pulls you down?

Margaret Simon, draft

Share your small poem in the comments. Please leave encouraging comments for other writers.

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Slice of Life: Magic Wand

Thank you to Two Writing Teachers for creating an amazing community of writers and a safe, welcoming space to write and share.

This is the week of five days of open writing with Ethical ELA. Sarah Donovan has created a safe place for teacher-writers to “play” with poetry. One of her prompts this week asked us to consider what we give. Along with many of you, I give instruction for writing every day, but it’s not every day that I witness success. But when I do, I find Joy. This poem celebrates all teachers who wave their wands every day, whether or not there is magic inside.

Magic Bean

How a writer is made
some think comes from a magic bean–
it just is
this writer can’t help but write & write,
but I know better.

I know a writer comes from the magic wand
of a teacher who told her
she was.

A teacher finds magic
in the light of a child’s words,
rubs the lantern again & again.
She knows the power of waiting,
of how a seed of an idea
can sprout
if you give it
nourishment
& time.

I love most
the smile of realization
“Wow! I wrote that!”
Pride from my wishing
which, in the end,
is me working magic,
still unknown,
still a mystery. 

Margaret Simon

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

On Saturday I had the privilege of attending a writing workshop with our state poet laureate, John Warner Smith as part of the virtual Festival of Words. He presented the poem This is Not a Small Voice by Sonia Sanchez. He asked us to consider the power of collective voice and love in building a more perfect society. I stole borrowed some of Sanchez’s words as well as some from Michelle Obama on Twitter (responding to Biden’s election). “…build a nation worthy of our children.”

In the spirit of poetry,
we raise our collective pens
to toast the power
of words
to move
mountains
to reclaim
a spirit of good will.

The mouths of our rivers
have spilled out enough
dirt and grime
to soil a century.
Grab your shovel, friends,
hold it high
and dig.

Dig for gold!
Dig for diamonds!
Dig for poems that move you!

It’s up to us to love
the ones who hate us,
to love with listening ears,
to love with a fever for love,

But before we do that,
kiss the face
of a nation worthy
of our children
and our children’s children.

Let’s kiss her
with all the passion
of our poems. Now
Move!

Margaret Simon, draft
A rainbow appeared in the sky on my way home from school this week.
I always stop to photograph rainbows.

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A little backstory on this poetry prompt series: Laura Purdie Salas once hosted a weekly poetry prompt on her blog called “15 Words or Less.” She decided to pay more attention to her many writing projects, and the world of KidLit has been blessed by a number of new books from her, but I missed waking up on Thursday mornings to a quick photo poetry prompt. With Laura’s blessing, I started this weekly post.

Following Laura on Instagram, I borrowed this photo from her. In an email, she explained that it’s grass in a park across the street from her house. I love how the simplest things that often go unnoticed can be captured in a photo. This photo can become a poem. Laura’s mantra is “Look closer…”

Photo by Laura Purdie Salas

A park bench
open
waiting
a resting place
for adventurers
you and me.

Margaret Simon, draft

Look closer and write a small poem in the comments. Write encouraging comments to others.

At Sharing Our Stories, Ruth invites us to write inspired by a photograph. Her suggestion is to look at the background. Notice something new. Welcome writers from SOS today.

Open invitation to write at Sharing Our Stories.

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Find more links to reading children’s literature at Jen Vincent’s blog.

For as long as I’ve been teaching elementary kids, I’ve use “Mrs. Simon’s Sea” as a classroom theme. I’ve decorated with sea-themed everything, from nametags to notepads. Even our blog was called “Mrs. Simon’s Sea.” So naturally I am pleased by sea-themed poetry.

Matt Forrest Esenwine sent me an email announcement of a new anthology of poetry, Friends & Anemones: Ocean Poems for Children from The Writer’s Loft.

This anthology has a little bit of everything you could want in a poetry book, poems in rhyme, poems in form, and poems that tell a story. These poems will put you under the ocean alongside sea turtles, sharks, and octopuses. You’ll feel the storms, the rhythm of the waves, and sing along with fish. One of my favorite fiction authors, Linda Mullaly Hunt, tells a story of a clever seal who outsmarts a shark.

Children can learn facts about ocean life through zippy and lyrical language. The illustrations by a variety of artists are delightful.

A book launch event is scheduled for November 15th at 4:00 EST sponsored by Peter Reynolds and Blue Bunny Books.

Read more about the book design here.

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Poetry Friday round-up is with Susan Bruck at Soul Blossom Living.

This week the Sunday Night Swaggers are drafting to a challenge from Linda Mitchell, an aubade, which is a praise song to the morning. I read on Sharing our Stories a prompt for capturing sounds in your writing. To me sounds and aubade seemed to go together.

Sound is a huge influence on people’s attention.—Walter Murch

Sounds of the Morning

Is there a sound that wakes the morning?
An alarm of the softest hum,
shrill tweet of a passing bird,
a gurgle from the coffee pot?

Will you wake from your garden
And look for me?

Will I kneel down in prayer
Or throw my head back and laugh?

Oh morning, your welcoming glaze
bathes kindness over the day.

I could bask in your freshness
And forget hatred.

Stay awhile, sunrise!

Margaret Simon, draft

To read other Aubade poems:
Linda Mitchell
Heidi Mordhorst
Molly Hogan
Catherine Flynn

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Ruth is gathering Spiritual Thursday posts at her blog.

“If the only prayer you say in your entire life is ‘thank you,’ it will be enough!” ~Meister Eckhart

What is it about November that brings out the gratitude in us? Is it the holiday of Thanksgiving? Is it the cool fall air? Is it getting close to Christmas? Or is it the number 11? Today Ruth is gathering Spiritual Journey posts about gratitude.

Thank you
releases air,
a breath.
In American sign language,
a hand to mouth and out again.
From inside of me
to the spirit of you,
I thank you.

TeachWrite is encouraging #gratiku poetry on social media. Read more about it at Leigh Anne’s blog.

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