Posts Tagged ‘Emily Dickinson’

Poetry Friday round-up is with Donna at Mainely Write.


My husband gave me a new-old art journal for Christmas.  My artist friend Marcie Melancon made it from an old book.  Inside are all sorts of paper from other books, maps, a small bag, etc.  Once I opened it, I was inspired to write.  The first page is a sketch of a woman.  I started writing a poem in my car in a little notebook.  Aha! I could fill the journal with scrap paper poetry! I’ve already taped in 5 poems.  I don’t think I’ll continue at this pace, but I’m enjoying the process.

Art journal by Marcie Melancon.



I wrote the above poem, Emily Saw More, as a #haikuforhope in response to amazing beach pictures my friend Grace Krauss posted on Facebook.

Tell me how the sun rose
Ribbons rising above the tide
Emily saw more…

Margaret Simon

Last week, Amy VanDerwater posted a suggested line for a poem, “Today you will find me…” As most of you know, I am a new grandmother.  I’m spending time with the sweetest, most amazing baby boy.  So that is where you will find me.

Today you will find me
smelling new skin,
soft fuzz of a newborn’s head,
holding a swaddled bundle,
memorizing his small ear,
round nose, and mouth
of many expressions.

Today I will stay a while,
feel present to Wonder,
hold Love
like it will never
let me go.

(c) Margaret Simon, 2018


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Poetry Friday round-up  is here today.  Leave your link .

Poetry Friday round-up is here today. Leave your link .



Hollyhocks don’t grow here in South Louisiana.  On a recent visit to upstate New York, I was attracted to their stately stalks with large blossoms.  We encountered a few at the local garden supplier in Hebron, NY.
purple hollyhocks


Later, Tara let me know that she went back and bought some for her garden.  

Hollyhocks at Old Bedlam Farm.

Hollyhocks at Old Bedlam Farm.

And then I encountered an image in Better Homes and Gardens. I didn’t order this magazine, but it seems to keep showing up in the mailbox.  I love the images of wild gardens that I could never grow.


 wild hollyhocks

While in New york, we visited Owl Pen books. I found a treasure, a collection of Emily Dickinson’s nature poems. I used the form of one of these poems and wrote my own version. This poem and the book are headed to my next poetry swap friend.

The Garden
After Emily Dickinson

I’ll tell you how the Hollyhocks rose–
A Blossom at a time–
The Petals glistened like Rubies–
The Bees and Hummers buzzed–
The Trees unfurled their branches–
The Bulbul–beloved–
Then I said softly to myself–
“That must have been the Dew!”
But how he wept–I saw not–
There seemed a dampness sincere
That little ants did clamor here
And led me to the waiting pew,
Woven easily among Lilies–
Morning Glories in blue–
And then I saw– You.

Poets and Readers: Use the Link Button below.

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Join Jama at Alphabet Soup for more of Poetry Friday.

Join Jama at Alphabet Soup for more of Poetry Friday.

At this time of year, the days grow shorter, the weather cooler. In a recent e-newsletter from Poets.org, I found a lesson plan designed for 9th-12th graders about exploring darkness and light through poetry. I teach gifted elementary kids, so I adapted the plan somewhat to fit my level of students. But I kept Emily Dickinson’s poem There’s a Certain Slant of Light. The poem is presented on Poem Flow in which a few words appear on the screen and fade out to the next lines. This technology added interest to the lesson. My students didn’t quite “get” the message of the poem, but they learned about the sound of poetry. We talked about some of our “wonder” words, like heft, affliction, and oppression.

Before presenting the Dickinson poem, I turned off the lights and we wrote words and phrases that we thought of in the dark. Then they chose words they wanted to “steal” from Emily Dickinson. Then we wrote. Each time we write, we share. We have a class Kidblog site, so they post to it. Since I travel between two schools, this allows my students to read and comment on writing from another school’s gifted class.

Some of our poems were coming out pretty spooky and dark. OK, I know I set that up with turning out the lights and reading There’s a Certain Slant of Light, but I challenged myself to write a happy poem. I was pleased with my poem that the students helped me title “Silhouettes.”


We turn out the lights
Behind sheets, our hands
Make shapes–a story,
a dance,
a play–
No audience
No stage
No flashing lights
Just my brother and me
on a winter afternoon.

Margaret Simon, all rights reserved

One of my students wrote a short piece with a repeating line, so when I conferred with him, I taught him about the Pantoum form in which the second and fourth line becomes the first and third of the next stanza. This is his revised poem:

Winter (A Pantoum)
This is darkness, the black, blurry time of the year.
It blinds me in sadness.
Its dull appearance gives me the blues.
This is darkness, the black, blurry time of the year.

Darkness blinds me in sadness.
Cobwebs surround me.
This is darkness, the black, blurry time of the year.
Shadows everywhere.

Cobwebs surround me.
Tiny bits of light make creepy reflections on the floor.
Shadows everywhere.
This is darkness.

I have a new student who is a third grader. I have gently drawn her into our writing circle. She is shy, yet confident. When she wrote the following poem, it had 3 rhyming lines, but no others, so I talked to her about making a decision in her revision. She could keep the rhyming lines, but since we expect the poem to rhyme, she would need to make some of the other lines rhyme. She decided not to keep the rhyming words and went to the thesaurus to revise. I think she is quickly getting the hang of writing workshop. Here is her revision:

Winter Glory

The winter woods can be glowing

even though you are afraid.

The bright sun shines from behind.

The cold dark woods are sometimes gloomy.

The squirrels are scurrying for the last nut.

I am blinded by the beauty.


Photo by Clare L. Martin
Vannisa’s inspiration came from this photograph.

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Join the Tuesday Slice of Life

A writing exercise that is often successful for me is to borrow a line. I have done this a number of times to jump start a poem. See The Day, Fallen Oak and also in the poem from the 30 Day Challenge Blackberry Time.

Last week my writing partner, Stephanie, led a writing camp. She used this exercise with the students. I joined them on Wednesday for their writing marathon. It turned into a virtual writing marathon due to rain, but we managed to spend time visiting different places (through pictures) and responding with writing. Stephanie posted pictures on the kidblog she set up for the camp. For one of the pictures, her prompt was an Emily Dickinson poem and a picture of a mountain waterfall with the sun bursting over the hillside. For some, the picture led the poem. For others, Emily Dickinson’s words. Later in the week, the students were asked to find a favorite poem and “steal a line.” While we instruct them on plagiarism and the correct way to credit the original author, this activity is often successful. Somehow it breaks through the barrier of “I can’t write,” and leads to deeper creativity.

Here are a few samples from the writers at Write Your Way Camp 2012:

From Sophia with a borrowed line from Emily Dickinson

I’ve heard it in the chillest land,
and stories of this place.
Its beauty just lights up my eyes,
and fills the land with grace.
I see the mountains, puffy clouds,
and greatly blinding sun.
But in some time,
I will realize,
That my journey’s just begun.

From Matthew with Emily Dickinson
Hope is the thing with feathers,
hope is the thing with fur,
hope is the thing that rises the sun,
hope is the thing that purrs.

Kaylie with a borrowed title by Joe Fazio.
This is… Our Life

This is the game we play,
start at the beginning of the day,
run in circles, having fun in the sunny rays.
Lie down in the dewy grass,
wait for the day to pass.
Go back home and start again.
I know you’ll be there tomorrow, my friend.

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