Posts Tagged ‘found poem’

Free use, Library of Congress collection

This photo is from the G. Eric and Edith Matson Photograph Collection, a set of 22,000 glass and film photographs and negatives taken in what was then called Palestine (present day Israel and the West Bank) from 1898 to 1946. The picture is part of a “Bedouin wedding series” but the caption on the negative just reads, “The bride.” That’s it. The Bedouins roamed the region as nomads, so there are any number of places the photograph might have been taken over the course of two decades.

Library of Congress blog

Usually for the photo prompt I find a photo of my own or one from my Instagram or Facebook feed, but today I am using a photo from the Library of Congress. I signed up for emails from the Library of Congress blog, and this recent post made me want to know more.

Please write a small poem of 16 words or so in the comments and comment on other poems. I “found” a poem on the blog post. Maybe that’s cheating…

Those hands.
This woman knows work.
She is there
gazing into the future

Margaret Simon, found poem

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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.

There’s a part of me that is afraid to write. I’m afraid to get it wrong. But writing nothing doesn’t feel right, either. So, when I read the daily email from the New York Times, I found a poem of voices from the protestors.

In every city, there’s a George Floyd–
my father, my brother, my cousin, my friend–
I speak for everybody
beaten up. If we don’t fight
for change, we’re not going to get it.
I took six rubber bullets, but
no one kneeled on my neck.
I came out peacefully
to show my support,
Yeah, it’s really like that.

Margaret Simon, found poem from New York Times June 2, 2020

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Poetry Friday round-up is with Tabatha at The Opposite of Indifference.

Today is National Author’s Day, and my friend and critique partner Linda Mitchell challenged our writing group, The Sunday Night Swaggers, to write a poem inspired by a favorite author.

When she challenged us, I thought of the most recent book I read Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens. According to The New York Times Book Review, this book is “Painfully beautiful…At once a murder mystery, a coming-of-age narrative, and a celebration of nature.”

The poet in me was inspired by her beautiful writing about nature. I turned to a page and gathered words and lines to put together a poem “after Delia Owens.”


How quickly the sea and clouds 
defeat the spring heat,
how the grand sweep of the sea
and sand catch-net the most precious shells.
How its current
designs a sandbar, and another
but never this one again.

She had long known that people don’t stay.
This fiery current
was her heart-tide
releasing love to drift
among seaweed.

How drifting back to the predictable cycles
of tadpoles and the ballet of fireflies,
Nature is the only stone
that does not slip midstream.

Margaret Simon, found poem from Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens

Read my writing partners’ offerings for National Author’s Day:

Catherine at Reading to the Core
Linda at A Word Edgewise
Molly at Nix the Comfort Zone
Heidi at My Juicy Little Universe

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See more posts at Two Writing Teachers Slice of Life

Last week I read my teacher-blogger-writer-friend Molly Hogan’s Slice of Life post. It touched the poet in me. Molly wakes early and goes on photography quests. When we’re lucky, she takes us along on her Facebook posts or blog. Last week she wrote this post entitled A Generous Morning.

Inspired, I copied her words into a found poem. Her generous morning became my generous morning. That’s how it works with creativity; it’s all big magic.

A Generous Morning

Lightening sky in the east
as surely as
the birds were migrating south,
I missed the swallows.

The sky seemed lonely.
Then a couple of swallows
dart and dive through the air currents,
and a bird approaching in the distance-

a heron

Sun rose higher, lit the mist.
Cedar waxwings flittered.
I watched it all, 
the generosity of morning.

a found poem by Margaret Simon using Molly Hogan’s words.
Heron on branch by Molly Hogan.

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See more posts at Two Writing Teachers Slice of Life

I’ve been following Elisabeth Ellington’s blog for at least 4, maybe 5 years.  We’ve actually met in person a few times at NCTE, and when we’ve had occasion to sit next to each other, we talk incessantly like two introverts in the sea.  Elisabeth lives in South Dakota, far north from Louisiana.  Nevertheless, we connect over our love of nature.  Yesterday on her blog the dirigible plum, she wrote a post with the title, “What did you Fall in Love with Today?”

As I read her post, a poem began to write itself in my head.  I could connect emotionally to all that she wrote.  I didn’t know anything about pronghorn, so I did a Google search (something else that Elisabeth mentions loving) and found this information on the National Wildlife Federation site.

Pronghorn are one of North America’s most impressive mammals. Not only do pronghorn have the longest land migration in the continental United States, they also are the fastest land animal in North America. Pronghorn can run at speeds close to 60 miles an hour. Even more amazing than its speed is the pronghorn’s migration. Herds of pronghorn migrate 150 miles each way between Wyoming’s Upper Green River Basin and Grand Teton National Park. The only other land animal to travel farther in North America is the caribou.

I’m in Love
found poem from Elisabeth Ellington’s Slice of Life

I’m in love
with the moon
over snow-covered hills
then yellow.

I’m in love
with clouds
before sunrise
Venus bright
in the East.

I’m in love
with a field of pronghorn
lying in the snow
legs curled beneath
for warmth.

I’m even in love
with this open parking spot
right in front
of my favorite coffee shop.

I’m in love
with warm fires,
curled up cats,
and always,
every day
with my mug
of coffee.

What do you love today?

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Two Writing Teachers Slice of Life March Challenge


Mindfulness at the breakfast table…

Coddiwomple came up on Facebook as the word of the day from Writers Write.  It means to travel in a purposeful manner towards a vague destination. I took a coddiwomple through slices and gathered lines.  I tried to put them into some sort of order that would make a poem.

I do not want to be a pencil.
I want to be a book,
corners creased, cover softened.
It would be full of white space,
held like a small silver envelope.

Simple mindfulness at the breakfast table.
My nest needs to be wide
in a Jamun tree that bears fruit
This is the time to spread my wings.
The story continues…

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Poetry Friday is with Keisha at Whispers from the Ridge

Photo by Kim Douillard

I follow Kim Douillard’s blog. She posts a weekly photo challenge. Last week’s challenge was “Path.” To me, her post was poetic, so I took words and lines and created a found poem.

a found poem from Thinking through my Lens

The snail’s wet trail caught my eye.
I remember Emerson’s words–
go where there is no path
and leave a trail.

I find the sculpture;
Its path formed of trash
her artistic eye transformed
into beauty.

My own path
ebbs and flows like the tides.
I follow moments of sunshine
to clouds echoing the waves.

Seabirds above
follow an invisible path.
In the sky, agile pelicans
intersect the line of a hang glider

Causing me to wonder
what magical paths
await if we are willing
to look.
–Margaret Simon

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Poetry Friday is with Michelle at Today’s Little Ditty



I am blessed to have a group of friends who chat through Voxer.  This poem came out of a conversation on our chat.  It’s a found poem.  But the words were found from spoken words.  Their arrangement here is changed to make them flow together as a poem.  Creating a poem is a puzzle to be pieced together.  Creating a life is a puzzle to be pieced together.


My Presbyterian husband did his best
to make me feel guilty
about this irreverence,
this moving on.
I’m having a hard enough time
finding my voice,
finding a new perspective.

We all know things can change
in the blink of an eye.
I’m ready;
I’m creating a new story for myself
welcoming this grand adventure.

It’s all about revision,
another draft.
I want to learn something new
Maybe that’s asking too much.

We are all inching our way to that something–
who we are, who we are meant to be
So many things get in the way.
No one path will be the path.
Ultimately, we do the best we can.
I am making my way
as you are making yours.

–Margaret Simon, all rights reserved


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Poetry Friday round-up is with my kind friend, Tara at a Teaching Life.

Poetry Friday round-up is with my kind friend, Tara at a Teaching Life.

When I am in need of inspiration, I take a break and check my social media feeds.  Maybe this is really just distraction, but today I followed the yellow brick road to a poem from posts on Instagram.


rainbows over Bonne Terre

Rainbows over Bonne Terre farm in Breaux Bridge posted by my friend Jen. Click to visit her B&B page.

Ominous sky,
Tall cane,
Summer day.

Fat caterpillar
crawling up

The one
I’m always becoming
has caught me
again and again.*

A surprise
around every corner.
A rainbow
named Sparkle,
a life.

I can’t wait
to bloom.

–Margaret Simon

*Glennon Doyle Melton


Photo by Dan Spiller.

Photo by Dan Spiller.

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Join the Spiritual Thursday round up at Reading, Teaching, Learning.

Join the Spiritual Thursday round up at Reading, Teaching, Learning.

On Wednesday, I was out of the classroom at an enrichment day for 6th graders. While I was away, my students were still writing poems. At the beginning of this National Poetry Month, I told them that they would write a poem each day. I have provided some kind of prompt activity (video, music, other poems), but this day they just chose to write. I checked our Kidblog site and found new poems. These poems were not sing-songy rhyme poems. They were serious poems about real life.

Poetry can be serious. Poetry can be spiritual, but I’ve not told my students about this aspect. However, writing in poems can bring out deep feelings even in the youngest of poets. In an effort to capture this move to deep thinking, I have found a poem in the poetry of my students.

Secrets are hidden,
the rain doesn’t care;
It’s still pouring down.

shining like a precious jewel
is waiting for us.

Many don’t
know the comfort
of last words and hopes.

Rest is impossible
with all this wonder.

A found poem by Margaret Simon from poems by Lani, Tobie, Kaiden, and Erin

Follow the Progressive Poem to Deo Writer with Jone.

Follow the Progressive Poem to Deo Writer with Jone.

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