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Posts Tagged ‘Ethical ELA’

Poetry Friday is hosted today by Rose at Imagine the Possibilities.

The Open Write over at Ethical ELA was happening this week. I participated for a few days. On Saturday, Denise Krebs offered this writing prompt: write an ode to a childhood love. I thought about my diary from 1975 which I still have tucked away in my closet. It’s something of a miracle that I still have it because my childhood home was flooded in 1979. I’m not sure how this diary escaped.

Time was that when I looked at my diary, all I could see was the struggling teenager, flip-flopping from I like Robby to I like Bobby. I had tucked slips of paper into the diary, notes from friends and poems. Yes, poems.

Today I’m trying a different perspective of my younger self. I am thinking more kindly toward her. She was developing, in the process of becoming. No one is perfect when they are 14. Actually, I am not perfect now. We are constantly in a period of discovery about who we are, who and what we love. I think this diary may hold a precious girl, one in need of love.

“One Year Diary” circa 1975

“One Year Diary”

Golden pages
wrapped in a keyless lock,
you locked away all my dreams
and screams for truth and understanding.

I was standing at the threshold of who I am.
You honored the me I was
with timeless sanctity.

Notes and poems tucked in
like folds of a blanket, nestling
moments I wanted to keep (and forget.)

Cursive swirls and exaggerated tittles,
my fourteen year old soul remains
buried here.

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.

A week ago I had a Mohs procedure on my nose. That means the dermatologist biopsied what I thought was a zit that turned out to be a squamous cell carcinoma. This type of surgery is no big deal to the young “boy scout” who was extremely proud of his suturing technique, but to me, it was uncomfortable and annoying. Ethical ELA was having its monthly Open Write, so the whole thing became a muse for a poem. Scott McCloskey led the exercise in writing about something you were “today years old” when you first learned about it.

Numbed Ignorance

Being a patient is not new to me,
but at today’s years old,
I learned of a procedure for removing
cancer cells off a nose called Mohs.

The young doctor told me
“You’re going to love this!”
as he stitched and stitched
as if there’s anything to love about
his brutal touch, about cancer cells, about a hole in my nose.

Sure I want to be rid of it,
but I carry the sign,
the cross-hatch signature
he was so proud of, the black eye,
the irritant of a bandage on my face.

I am learning that knowledge
is not all it’s cracked up to be.
Just hand me an ice pack
and let me go back to
numbed ignorance.

Margaret Simon, draft

Some people are good at sending cards. I want to be better. It’s a skill I admire. When my daughter’s mother-in-law heard about my little procedure, she sent me a card. I’ve been using Dictionary for a Better World to teach my students about poetry. On Friday, we explored Irene Latham’s poem Belonging which is a pantoum form. I’ve been puzzling with the form ever since. A pantoum is much harder to write than it looks, but here goes…

Kindness

A card came in the mail
addressed especially to me.
As I fingered each detail,
I felt your hand in mine.

Addressed especially for me,
little bear with a bouquet
held his hands out to mine
with caring words to say.

This little bear with bouquet
hopes I’m better by today.
Your kind words do say
someone cares.

You hope I’m better today.
I feel your hand in mine. 
Across the miles you say
in a card that’s in the mail.

Margaret Simon, for Andree
Sweet card from Andree’

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Poetry Friday is with Mary Lee at A(nother) Year of Reading.
Sloth video from my phone. Turn sound down or off. The guide explains the different kinds of sloths near the end. This is a two-toed sloth.

Slow Sloth

I am to you
scribbles of God.
My two toes
touch the heavens 
on leaves like tea
left behind for someone to read,
a lie between sun and moon.
I am blind to you.
As I slowly pass through
parting seas of green,
only the fruit follows me.
I know heaven is green
as all sorrow in amorphous shape.
I neglect symbols,
and drink from mud.
I stop and sleep
because you are always there.

Margaret Simon, 2022

I wrote this poem after Swift Hummingbird by Ray Bradbury. On Ethical ELA, Jennifer Guyor Jowett introduced antonymic translation in this week’s Open Write. Ray Bradbury wrote of the hummingbird which immediately made me think of the sloth we saw in Costa Rica last week. It was fun to write a poem about it.

Two-Toed Sloth, Wikimedia Commons

Molly Hogan, fellow Inkling, sent me a Summer Poem Swap. Her tranquil poem sent me the blessing I needed along with some homemade (by Molly) strawberry jam and other goodies. Thanks, Molly, for the full-of-care package.

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This week is Ethical ELA’s Open Write. If you haven’t tried it out, you should. The prompts are good and the community is supportive. It’s a great place to try on a poem.

On my morning walk earlier this week after a rain, I saw the reflection of the clouds in puddles. I thought it would make a good photo prompt. And then over at Ethical ELA, I used Jennifer’s prompt to write about this photo. Today I share both with you. I hope you find inspiration here. Write your own small poem in the comments and support other writers with comments.

Puddle reflection by Margaret Simon

Summer Morning

I walk after the rain soaked
grass to cool green, steam rising.
I walk in the air soaked
in sweat of summer.

I remember the bobwhite singing
in the pine forest beyond Purple Creek.
I remember building forts, skipping rocks
singing, “Easy come, easy go, little high, little low.”

I see reflection of sky
in asphalt puddles. I am
a reflection of that child,
dancing through puddles,
watching clouds roll by.

Margaret Simon, draft

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Read, write, share

I have a soft spot for the mimosa tree. One was growing in my grandfather’s yard when I was a child. My brother and I would climb its branches and use the seed pods in mud pie and “soup”. On a recent walk I took pictures of the mimosa blossom. It’s beautiful in its feathery flounce. When I took a moment to Google the tree this morning, I found out a few things:

  1. The tree comes from Asia, known as the Persian silk tree or the pink silk tree.
  2. The wood of the mimosa is brittle and prone to break. Thus the tree has a short life span.
  3. The tree is an invasive species from China.
  4. The tree attracts webworm.
  5. The mimosa pod (which my brother and I used in pretend play) is poisonous.

This mimosa tree was growing wild in Mississippi. I’ve also seen a few in our city park and near the bayou in a wooded area. Write a poem based on this image and put it into the comments. Please reply to 3 other writers with encouragement. Thanks for being here.

Fran Haley is leading the Open Write at Ethical ELA today. I used her prompt to create my poem.

Mimosa

evanescent blossoms
perky pink feathering
flames of flower power
invasive Asian tree
reaching for the sunlight
my childhood memory

Margaret Simon, draft

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Today’s Spiritual Thursday Round-up is with Susan Koehler.

You have to accept whatever comes and the only important thing is that you meet it with courage and with the best you have to give.

–Eleanor Roosevelt

This month’s spiritual journey topic is from Susan Koehler, abundance. At this time in my grief, I’m aware of the abundance of people who care about me. I have received cards and flowers, texts and messages of love and support. These expressions are good, well-meaning, thoughtful yet sometimes difficult to accept. I’m much more comfortable on the giving end rather than receiving.

Susan offers a poem on her post today, one that can be used as a mentor text. This kind of exercise often helps me say what I mean to say without having to decide on the form. Last week during #verselove on Ethical ELA, Jessica Wiley offered a mentor text by Eloise Greenfield titled By Myself.

I worked through this prompt a few times and would like to share this draft today.

By Myself
after Eloise Greenfield

When I’m by myself
and I close my eyes,
I’m a running river
everchanging, yet steady in its way to go.
I’m a scent of yellow.
I’m a half-filled cup of tea.
I like to sit alone with me.
I grip myself in
I’m a string of violin,
time unfolding, worth gentle holding.
I’m a space for filling up again.
I open my eyes,
and find myself in me.

Margaret Simon, draft
Sunrise walk, by Margaret Simon

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Poetry Friday round-up is with Jone.

There’s a loss of energy in grief, a sadness that is heavy and weighs you down. I’m not at all sure that writing helps, but writing for me is the most personal act and wherever I am, my writing is there, too.

Over at Ethical ELA, Shaun Ingalls posted a prompt inspired by Alicia Mountain’s “Drift” inviting us to re-encounter something with a new perspective.

I Hold an Acorn

in my hand
in a field of clover.

Am I a child now?
Walking with sun
bright in my eyes as it rises
above the live oaks?

It is spring, to be sure,
a time of resurrection.
Yet you are
not here.

I cannot call
you or text (You never learned how to text),
so I stand in the field,
hold
the acorn
lift it to smell my childhood, like the scent
of the Paschal candle, anointing
to save,
to savor.

I am here.
You are
not.

Margaret Simon, draft
Grandmother oak in the morning. Photo by Margaret Simon

The Kidlit Progressive Poem is nearly complete. You can follow its progress with the schedule on the side bar. Karen has the next to last line today.

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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.

My friend and fellow writing group member Linda Mitchell led the writing prompt for #verselove at Ethical ELA yesterday. She directed us to use the steps in the scientific method to craft a poem. As many of you know, my father died on Friday morning. If you follow my blog, I’m afraid there is nothing else so pressing on my mind than this and the care for my mother. Writing is healing for me.

A Place at the Table

You could make this place beautiful.
Can you float a flower in the vase and call it home?
Flowers, a white cat, a black dog, coffee brewing, what could be missing?
The empty seat at the table is cold, lonely.
I move over, sit in his chair, open the last book he was reading.
Time will fill the space at the table, even in the midst of absence.
There will be beauty again.

Margaret Simon, draft
Louisiana iris in our bayou bog

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This is a difficult time. My father had a stroke last week and is not recovering in the earthly sense. We’ve held holy vigil with him. It’s holy, healing, and horrible all at the same time. This photo is my mother and father’s hands.

I wrote this poem after Lucille Clifton from an Ethical ELA prompt. I know that this is a universal experience for some. Write a small poem in the comments and respond to other poets.

Wishes for Dad

i wish for peace
and a place to write
his thoughts
on a cloud
floating above
all this madness
of machines
pumping oxygen
taking pulse
counting heartbeats

i wish for the smell
of an open field
of wildflowers
where he can
run
free

i wish
i wish
i wish
i could take the cup
of suffering away.

Margaret Simon, draft

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I led the #VerseLove poetry prompt at Ethical ELA. Follow this link to read some wonderful definito/ etymology poems. Playing with words is fun.

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