Posts Tagged ‘being mamére’

This month, National Poetry Month 2023, I’ve been following the prompts on Ethical ELA, a virtual treasure of inspiration. But I keep writing about the same thing over and over. My father, my mother, my own role as a grandparent. I think when we write condensed lines, we push our deepest thoughts up to the surface. I’m trying to let that part of me flow where it wants (or needs) to flow. This week I’ve written two of these kinds of poems to #VerseLove. Prompts can be found here.

If you want to be a poet, I highly recommend joining in with #VerseLove. Just like the hashtag says, it’s all about love. Each day that I write, I feel wrapped in the arms of other writers, tenderly cared for. Putting your writing out there into the world is hard and intimidating. Finding a caring community is rare and special. Like the community of writers at Two Writing Teachers, the teachers at Ethical ELA have become my friends. I am grateful to all the writers there, especially the ones who seek out my writing amongst many and comment like wind beneath my wings.

Photo and poem by Margaret Simon.

I am saving my poems in a Google slide show which allows me to save each slide as an image and share it here. Above is a photo of my father and my granddaughter Stella in the summer of 2021.

Today’s Ethical ELA prompt was given by Jessica, a self-identifying cinquain.

I am a Grandmother

state of being
fertility startled
by faces of me reflected
in you.

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

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A little over a year ago, my grandson Leo, who was not quite 3 at the time, had a conversation with my daughter. He was sleepy and seemed to be recalling a dream about being bitten by a monster.

“He was sleeping,” recalled Leo.

“And he woke up and bit you?” Maggie inquired.

“Yeah, and it was bleedin’,” Leo said. Then he smiled and said, “You love bleedin?”

“Do I love bleedin’?” Maggie asked in a soothing voice.

“That’s rearry scary! And you might cry, too.”

The words “You love bleedin'” have remained since in our unofficial book of family lore.

Yesterday I had to go have a yearly blood test. Not my favorite thing, but I made it through, and the nurse was as nice as could be, but on the way to school, I thought about the Ethical ELA prompt. Stacey Joy had a wonderful post with links to beautiful words she encouraged us to try. I abandoned that part of the prompt and focused on creating a haiku sonnet in my notes app. Sometimes you just have to say what you want to say. And bleedin’ was on my brain.

Bleeding on the Page

I worry I can’t
do what other poets do
bleeding with deep love.

I gave blood today
opening my elbow for
piercing, dark red flow.

A tiny bruise dot
reminds me I’m human–
Blood tells a story.

Hemmingway says write,
it’s easy, open your veins
Bleed the words that flow.

So here I am sharing
my bloodsong with you.

Margaret Simon, #verselove 2023
Today’s post is part of the ongoing Tuesday Slice of Life Story Challenge at
Two Writing Teachers.
The Progressive Poem is with Buffy Silverman today.

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Welcome to a weekly Wednesday photo poetry prompt. If you’d like to get this in your inbox each week, please subscribe to my blog. Join in the community by writing a small poem in the comments and encouraging other writers with your comments.

Today’s photo is one I took at my daughter’s house last weekend. I had returned her two children from a morning at the museum and was getting ready to leave when I saw the shoes posing. Perhaps my daughter had placed them there, but more likely it was Stella who, at the age of two, likes a certain order to things. Her mother was like that, sorting all the cans in the cabinet by size and color at a very young age. She gets that from her father, and her father gets it from his mother. I once took a personality test that labeled me “abstract random” and my husband as “concrete sequential.”

No matter what type of order your keep or don’t, this photo is sure to charm you into writing something. At Ethical ELA this week we wrote a Pile of Good Things poem. I think I could add “Three pairs of shoes all in a row” to my pile.

Photo by Margaret Simon (permission to freely use)

These shoes have seen
the hills of North Carolina
and the backyards of Louisiana
but they are most happy
lined side by side on a bench
in the home where they belong.

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

I was prepared for this to be a different Christmas. My youngest daughter’s first child was due on Dec. 19th, so I took off the 19th and 20th and drove to her home to be with her and her husband. She had a scheduled induction on Tuesday, Dec. 20th. I will not go into the details of the whole process, but Martha handled the long labor like a champ. When at 11:30 PM, she was ready to push, my middle daughter turned to me and pointed to her watch. We realized that the baby would be born on her great grandfather’s birthday. She came into the world at 12:39 on Dec. 21st.

My first look at this new baby girl confirmed our suspicions that she would be a big baby. She even had jelly rolls on her legs. Later we found out she weighed 9 lbs. 5 oz.!

Martha and Paul did not reveal her name until she was born. I anxiously waited while Martha said she needed to hold her before she would name her. With the baby in her arms, she turned to me and said, “Her name is June Margaret.” My heart melted.

Margaret is a name that was given to me by my mother to honor her mother who passed away 3 months before I was born. I’ve always thought of my grandmother Margaret as a guardian angel. We named our first daughter Margaret and call her Maggie. When Maggie didn’t use the name for her daughter, I thought that was the end of the line. I never imagined that Martha would choose it. Once Martha knew she was having a girl, she told us that the baby’s name was one syllable. That put me into a rabbit hole of one syllable girl names. June never appeared on my list. And neither did Margaret.

I know Baby June will grow into her name and give it her own personality. The legacy of Margaret is with her. But even without the gift of the name, this child is in my heart.

While she was being born, we played Martha’s Christmas playlist. One of the songs was “Breath of Heaven” by Amy Grant. In that moment, all was quiet. I looked over at the doctor, a small petite woman, who was swaying back and forth as I was. We felt the presence of God in the room. Birth is a holy moment.

One hymn that has been playing in my head was featured in Presiding Bishop Michael Curry’s Christmas message: “Love came down at Christmas. Love all lovely. Love divine. Love was born at Christmas. Star and angel gave the sign. Love came down at Christmas.”

June Margaret is a Christmas miracle. She is love divine. She is a pure angel.

I attended Christmas Eve service at Christ Cathedral in New Orleans. In her first Christmas message as bishop of Louisiana, Bishop Shannon Rogers Duckworth told us to embrace the small moments. I pray this first Christmas with June will stay with me as one of those gems, the small moment of holding pure love and being a witness to the love of my daughter with her husband and their new not-so-tiny newborn.

Breath of Heaven

A winter solstice
A holy birth
Total darkness
shines with June light.

Margaret Simon

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Tabatha has the round-up this week.

The Poetry Sisters challenge this week is a favorite form of mine created by my fellow Inkling Heidi Mordhorst, the definito. The definito is a poem of 8-12 lines for children that defines a word. The word being explained is the last word of the poem.

I subscribe to Merriam-Webster’s word of the day. I love learning new words and this one was not only new to me, but it was a mouth full of p’s to say.

Some perspective on perspicacious: the word combines the Latin perspicac- (from perspicax meaning “clear-sighted,” which in turn comes from perspicere, “to see through”) with the common English adjective suffix -ious. The result is a somewhat uncommon word used to describe someone (such as a reader or observer) or something (such as an essay or analysis) displaying the perception and understanding of subtleties others tend to miss.


Last weekend I spent some time with my 3 year old (almost 4 year old) grandson. I am constantly amazed at his ability to observe his world and notice things that most of us just take for granted. I love seeing things in a fresh way when I am with him. I’m not sure I have a full grip on the word perspicacious, but working on this poem made me happy to capture the awe of a toddler.

Perspicacious Definito

At some point we lose perception,
perspective clouded, but you, my child 
can see the train track, and notice up and down, 
lower, higher, your place in space.
When you spin, you laugh, feeling dizzy.
Under the influence of gravity
you understand what you don’t understand…playful perspicacity. 

Leo, 3 years 9 months
Margaret Simon, draft

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Spiritual Thursday Round up is here today.

Close to midnight when the darkness is darkest, I was sleeping next to Leo, my 3 year-old grandson. He woke up startled on his first night staying with us last week. “Mamère, what’s that?” he asked.

“That’s an owl. Can you hear it? Who, who, who!”

“Is it in the house?”

“No, no, it’s across the bayou way up high in the trees.”



“Don’t worry, I’m here. The owl is far away.”

“Far away? Outside? In the trees?”

We talked for a while about owls, how they live in trees, hunt at night, call to their friends. The questions went on and on until I sleepily said, “It’s time to be quiet now and go back to sleep.”

I turned on the sound machine and the ocean waves calmed us both back to sleep. But Leo talked about the owl for days. Who knew that his 3 year-old brain would be so curious and so afraid of owls?

Our fears, our worries, especially in the darkness of the night are unreasonable. We know this, but nevertheless, the threat feels real.

How do you listen to the owls?

My presence will go with you and I will give you rest.

Exodus 33:14
Leo makes play-doh cookies.

Enter your Spiritual Thursday blog posts here: https://fresh.inlinkz.com/p/7ce77be0aa2142e583f84dd128d477e7


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Ramona has the Round up today at Pleasures from the Page.

Life has been a challenge for many these days. I’ve adopted the mantra “We Can Do Hard Things” from Glennon Doyle. Because we can, and we do. But today, Ramona suggests we reflect on celebrations. I have a list that includes celebrations big and small.

  1. A family wedding! It’s always joyful to spend time with family. Our family (including all my children and grands) gathered in Seattle, Washington a few weeks ago for the wedding of my niece. The setting was on the Puget Sound facing the Olympic Mountains at sunset. Six days later my sister-in-law brought me to a beach nearby the wedding location as I recovered from Covid. I celebrate beauty, beach, fresh air, and family love!

2. Flowers are blooming! My friend and former student Jennifer and her husband grow fields of sunflowers and hold “You Pick” days. (Petite Anse Farm) I took my grandson Thomas “Tuffy” on Sunday morning (This was our church service) and picked a bucket of sunflowers. Thomas enjoyed having his own pair of scissors and feeding the chickens with Farmer Andy. I celebrate summer, flowers, and farmers who adore curious toddlers.

3. I was absent the last week of school. My colleague next door, Erica, packed up all the books on my shelves (I have a lot of books!) to prepare for summer cleaning. I went to check on things on Monday and was met with this amazing surprise. Also my principal’s daughter, who is 10 going on 11, was there to help with “Tuffy” while I did a few more things. I celebrate the kindness and consideration of colleagues and teaching in a school with this welcoming environment.

4. My friend and unofficial spiritual director Ellen sends me daily quotes. I am amazed how many times the quote she sends hits the exact right spot. Last week when I was recovering she sent me this list. Just what I needed. I celebrate the spiritual guidance of others who give us strength when we need it.

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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 a to-do list. Don’t we all? And usually Sunday is set aside for the list. I want to start off Monday with a clean slate, at the very least with clean laundry. But yesterday that didn’t happen. And I need to be OK with it.

I chose people instead. After church I was invited to have lunch with a dear-to-my-family family. I accepted even though the list was waiting. The lunch was delightful and fun.

Home long enough to dash off a Slice of Life post, my daughter sent out a Help! message. Her toddler son’s ears were hurting. He was crying, and the baby woke up from her nap. I remember well the feeling of overwhelm as a mother of three, so off I went to help. The list could wait.

Now it’s early Monday morning. I scrambled out some lesson plans. I’ve got a rough draft of an article due today, and there are a few things left to do, but I’m going to take a walk, and start this week knowing that people (family) are more important than a list.

Leo and Stella love books.

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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.

In Leo’s world,
a dog leash becomes
a mountain climber’s harness.
A mallet for the xylophone: his pickaxe.
A peg board
full of colorful pegs
is a birthday cake for you.
He sings “Happy Birthday to Momma.”
She smiles then blows.
We are all players
in Leo’s world.

Happy Birthday to you!

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