Archive for the ‘Writing’ Category

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.

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Poetry Friday is with Mary Lee at A Year of Reading

Happy National Poetry Month! At the beginning of the month the Sunday Night Poetry Swaggers post a poem in response to a challenge. This month the challenge is from Linda Mitchell. “Something seen in many ways” patterned after Pat Schneider’s The Moon Ten Times as seen on Jama Rattigan’s blog here.

I was pretty last minute in doing this challenge. In fact, I’d call it a LaMiPoFri poem (coined by Kat Apel as “last minute poetry Friday” poem). To help myself find the time to write, I offered the challenge to my student Chloe, set the timer, and we wrote. I like her poem, too, so I will share it as well.

I’ve been working on crocheting a baby blanket for my daughter’s sister-in-law’s baby coming in May. With so many hours of loops and chains, I’ve got the blanket on my mind.

white crochet baby blanket by Margaret Simon

Baby Blanket. Ten Ways

I. Magic circle
double crochet
chain 3, chain 4
Granny square

II. Angel lace 
holes for small fingers

III. When the apple peeler
curls a perfect unbroken spiral.

IV. Thread of cotton once 
worn by a field

V. Play peek-a-boo
I see you
over & under

VI. Miracle wrapped
like a present

VII. Woven dreams
double wish

VIII. Scent of new skin
settles in

IX. Touch to touch
heirloom for a Hope Chest

X. Mother’s heart
Grandmother’s grace
Nothing but love

Margaret Simon, draft

Chloe wrote her poem about origami, a new obsession of hers.

Photo by Miguel u00c1. Padriu00f1u00e1n on Pexels.com

Five things about origami

  1.   Crisp folds

Creasing perfect angels

  1. Shapeshifting waves

Carved into the

Ombre of life

  1. Natural resource

That swims

Through scissors

  1. Bright colors

Warming the

Temperature of 


  1. Topping off

With a design

To expose.

Chloe, 5th grade

Read other Swagger poems here:

Heidi Mordhorst
Linda Mitchell who also has the next line for the 2021 Progressive Poem!
Catherine Flynn
Molly Hogan

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Join the gathering of Spiritual Journey posts at Karen’s blog.

Today is the beginning. Each day is, I suppose, but today begins National Poetry Month, my favorite month of the year. The KidLit Progressive Poem is off to a wonderful spinning start with Kat Apel.

It’s Maundy Thursday in another strange Holy Week. Thankfully, the 4 person choir at my church is gathering again and singing (masked) from the loft. Maundy Thursday music is my favorite. Feels holier. Foreshadowing death to resurrection. The solemn act of foot washing reminds us of Jesus’ servanthood and love. We are not quite to resurrection from the pandemic yet, but having had my vaccine, I am feeling a sense of relief and new beginnings.

The first three months of this year I read The Artist’s Way and met weekly with a group on Zoom. Our last meeting on Tuesday night felt sacred. We each shared a creative work. Creativity makes us human and vulnerable, but also celebratory and worthy. One of the tasks from the author Julia Cameron was to write an artist’s prayer. I didn’t write one yet. Jone inspired me when she shared hers. She included her past One Little Words into her prayer. My words are reach, open, presence, grace, explore, cherish, embrace, inspire.

Dear Great Creator,

I am here today
to be an instrument of your work
to explore your world with curiosity, to open myself
to your creativity. I trust your hand
will reach for mine,
guide my pen to something new.
May I be present in this day, embrace nature,
follow the contrail of your vision for me.

May I be filled with grace
so to bless others with my offering,
May I nurture the child within,
accept her imperfections and needs,
cherish her with love and devotion.
Help me to know I am not alone.
By your side, I can be inspired
to breathe your spirit
into each day.

Margaret Simon, always in draft
Bridal wreath, photo by Margaret Simon

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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.

On the last day of the March Slice of Life Challenge, walk with me. Listen to the birds. Take a minute to just be here.

This month of Slicing has been a way for me to be present. Present to my thoughts. Present to the words of others.

One of my favorite photographers is my writing critique group partner, fellow SOL blogger, Molly Hogan in Maine. I cannot imagine how she gets such amazing photos of birds. She must be so still and patient. Her latest batch on Facebook are shots of bluebirds. This one she posted looks like a cartoon character.

Consider writing a small poem in response to this photo in the comments or on your blog (link in the comments). Leave encouraging comments to other writers.

Bluebird by Molly Hogan
Morning birds serenade my walk,
an aubade to the trees and sky,
gentle as your hand
on my sleeping shoulder.
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.

I have been tutoring 3rd grade virtual students after school once a week. There are rarely more than 3 students who tune in. It’s on Monday; what can I expect? I actually prefer the small group. The planning for these meetings has been a challenge because I am not completely familiar with 3rd grade standards. I usually focus on a writing skill. This week when I checked on what third graders are learning, I found similes. That was a topic I could get my head around.

I created a slide show with some simile examples and a writing activity. Only one student came. D does not show his face or turn on his mike because there is a lot going on in his house. I often wonder if he is paying attention at all. When I asked him what a simile was, silence.

“Are you with me?”

In the chat box, “yes”.

“Do you know what it is?”


“Let me show you.”

I showed examples and then asked him to find the simile in a passage. He got it. We then moved on to the poem. Have you ever written a poem with a student you cannot see or hear? With discussion (me talking, him typing), we got through it. For taste and sound, I gave him some ideas to choose from.

“Do you have any clothing that is lime green?”

“A shirt”

“Where did you get that shirt?”


“Oh, it’s the Spirit Shirt you can wear on Friday?”


So I typed “feels like Friday” as well as the line “Lime green reminds me of the shirt I wear to school on Spirit Days.”

We had “It smells like…” to fill in.

By then he had gotten the idea. He typed, “outside.” Perfect!

D unmuted long enough to read his poem out loud. I heard the pride in his voice. And then he said, “Thanks. I learned something today.” There it was, all I needed to smile.

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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’ve been writing morning pages for a few months now, and every once in a while something appears that is worthy of sharing. And then I saw this quote on the last task in the last week (Week 12).

So today I am sharing some morning pages writing.

3/23/21 Touchstones, things you love

  • Flowers in a vase on my kitchen table
  • Pearl ring from my Godmother’s estate (Margaret means “Pearl”)
  • Wisteria blossoms, azaleas, sunflowers, magnolias, roses…flowers!
  • Dark chocolate with sea salt and almonds
  • Pecans, roasted, sugared, and in pie
  • Paul Simon Graceland
  • The name Simon
  • Grandbabies
  • Papa’s shirt

Reading Aimee Nezhukumatahil this morning. Just writing
her name makes me feel smart. She names things
like fruit bats and whale sharks, becomes animal in her poem,
leads me to wonder what animal I am, barely alive, awake
enough to feel the familiar ache of waking.
I am worried about the final shot, how my body
will react or not, and what immunity really means.
Yesterday my dog jumped on the AT&T saleswoman
at the door. I told her he was friendly while I kept
my distance. We all keep distances between us.
I wonder what immunity really means.

Margaret Simon, draft


Resistance in “not good enough” mantra

Fear is an infection poisoning my body so I cannot perform

Anger is I can’t do this; why do you make me?

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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.
Open Invitation to Write on Sharing Our Stories

 One of the most satisfying things about teaching for me is learning. I learn something new every day, and it still surprises me. On Teach this Poem by Poets.org, I learned about a poetic device: caesura, referring to a pause for a beat in the rhythm of a verse, often indicated by a line break or by punctuation. This literary device was used with effectiveness in a poem by Yesenia Montilla, a brief meditation on breath.

A brief meditation on breath

–they’re saying
this virus takes your breath away, not
like a mother’s love or like a good kiss
from your lover’s soft mouth but like the police
it can kill you fast or slow; dealer’s choice.
a pallbearer carrying your body without a casket.
they say it’s so contagious it could be quite
breathtaking. so persistent it might as well
be breathing                        down your neck—

Copyright © 2020 by Yesenia Montilla. Originally published in Poem-a-Day on July 21, 2020 by the Academy of American Poets.

A long held belief of mine is that our bodies will tell us when to pause. I’ve believed this since 1995 when a herniated disc in my spine caused severe pain and subsequent surgery. There was nothing to do but pause and heal. Whenever I moved, pain would send me back. Luckily, I’ve not had any serious trouble since then, but I have learned to listen and pause when my body tells me to. I haven’t quite conquered yet the annoyance and guilt that sets in. We always want answers, so when the answer is “wait”, we twiddle thumbs and pace and complain.

Pause to enjoy the azaleas–
Walking to the parking lot from school, I stopped to notice how two azalea bushes were intertwined.

Following The Artist’s Way by Julia Cameron, I’ve been writing morning pages for a few months. They are scribbled scratches before my coffee, before my mind wakes up. I really wasn’t sure this exercise was working for me. I’ve been resistant and irritated about it. Like when my body hurts, morning pages were a kind of pain in my side. I did them out of obligation, a commitment to a weekly group. But yesterday morning, a poem came out. And today, I wrote about a picture book idea.

So, wait a minute…you’re telling me that writing morning pages every day since January 3rd is finally opening up your creativity? Could it really take that long? Perhaps it won’t for you, but it has for me. And I’m still unsure if I’ll keep up the practice after our last meeting this week. Yet, there is something to be said for taking a pause, taking your pulse before the day begins.

Like caesura Pause. Begin. Be.

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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 with Susan at Soul Blossom Living

With my student Chloe, I read the poem Small Kindnesses by Danusha Laméris. I learned about Danusha from a podcast from Poetry Magazine featuring her in conversation with Naomi Shihab Nye (who is also well-known for a poem about Kindness.) Ramona recommended it last week.

Chloe and I talked about all the small kindnesses in the poem. About this line, “…for the driver in the red pick-up truck to let us pass,” she said, “You know, she’s right. Red trucks are the friendliest!”

In every school, the custodian is the person you want to know. The poem about small kindnesses reminded me of a custodian at one of my schools. She is always dressed in bright colors with a wonderful head wrap and mask to match. She calls everyone “Love.” When I told this to Chloe, she gave me a word list around the topic of sun from her poetry writing journal Write the Poem. The list included effulgence which we both needed to Google. (Effulgence is brightness taken to the extreme.) My poem uses lines from Danusha, the word from Chloe, and the kindness that I almost forgot to notice had I not needed something to write about.

I’ve been thinking about the way when I walk
the school hallways, it’s always the custodian
who speaks. Excuse me, I say as I weave around
her heavy trash bin
that squeaks, rumbles and roars.

She calls after me, Have a nice day, Love!
Radiant as the sun itself, her yellow t-shirt
and rainbow leggings light my path.
Even her scent is effulgent, shouting warmth
of kindness, a hug for my hurried day.

Mostly, we want to greet each other
with glowing smiles. To slip a scented flower
beneath the doorway,
like a spritz of perfume, leave kindness
on someone else’s path.

Margaret Simon, after Danusha Laméris
Photo by Lisa Fotios on Pexels.com

What small kindnesses are you noticing?

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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 have been playing with collage in my notebook. One day Chloe saw one of my pages and said, “I want to try that.” So I loaded her up with some magazines to take home. She came back the next day not only with a beautiful collage but a poem inspired by it. I interviewed her about the process and recorded it. The Soundcloud recording below is our conversation.

I love what Chloe said about how an image that she put in her collage became surprising images in her poem. The process of cutting is meditative. It can work both ways, too. Creating a collage after a poem can help you process and make connections in a visual way.

I’ve been working through the book The Artist’s Way. Julia Cameron encourages self-discovery and self-nurturing through creativity. She offers affirmations to write and rewrite and say to yourself, questions that move you to letting go and letting spiritual blessings of creativity in. In the margin of a page, I wrote “How is my creativity a blessing to others?” I think I found my answer.


The silhouette of spinning
monkeys swinging on 
peacock feathers,

Turtles following dogs on
beaches waving at the waves

As the pig and bird guard their 
treasure found at sea,

and the mother and
daughter watch the
world they live on
on the beach shore.

Chloe, 5th grade
Magazine collage by Chloe

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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.
You may use this image on your blog if you share a poem from this prompt.

The clocks have been set forward, the days are getting longer, and there is a rumor that spring is here. I forget how turbulent March can be. It’s like the weather can’t decide. There is a war between hot and cold, humid and dry, that causes wind and storms and then bright sunny days and flowers.

I love spring flowers. My photo app is full of them. One of my favorites is the wisteria vine. Wisteria is an invasive species in South Louisiana. My husband hates the insidious vines that rot wooden railings. I’ve lost the battle over trying to keep it in our yard. But this week they were blooming beautifully in our neighborhood. On my walk, I smelled their fragrance before seeing the vine.

wisteria vine, photo by Margaret Simon

Lavender leaves weep
wander in March windy ways
fragrant springtime tears

Margaret Simon, March haiku

Join me today and write a small poem in the comments or on your blog (leave a link in the comments). Be sure to support others with encouraging comments.

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