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Posts Tagged ‘#gratitude’

Poetry Friday round-up is with Carol at Beyond Literacy Link

This prompt came to me in an email from Poets & Writers, The Time is Now. When my Inklings saw this poem, Mary Lee thought the prompt was surely In Gratitude by Abigail Carroll which was featured on this episode of The Slowdown. I love how the universe is like that sometimes, synchronous, speaking to each other. I join the conversation with my own ode to a single letter.

Ode to Letter M

But I love the M, mountainous-
hill-valley-hill-valley 
signed with 3 fingers hugging a thumb,
the way milk-full infant fingers 
grip my thumb and hold on tight.


I love the M handed down on grandmother’s tea towels,
embroidered like the sign of the cross
on my forehead. I baptize you in the name of
Margaret.

I stand with the Roman numeral (M)
confident in her thousand mornings
musing on the mimicry
of a single mockingbird. 

Scent of magnolia fills the room 
from the lit candle, like a warm May breeze
that blows homemade cards, 
memories, and a rainbow handprint 
identifying me
as Mamère, 
as someone to love. 

Margaret Simon

Rainbow hands, by Leo

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Opossum in a persimmon tree–say it three times fast. I caught this guy one morning on my walk with Charlie through the neighborhood. Does he look guilty to you? He didn’t move at all while I wandered to different perspectives to take his portrait. He was suspicious, yes, but completely still. Charlie didn’t bark. I don’t think he saw the opossum. We, opossum and I, however, locked eyes, and I will never be the same. These creatures usually freak me out, but this one…this one…was different somehow. Maybe it was the persimmon tree backdrop or his innocent guilty stare. Tempted to name him, I’ll just post his portrait here for you to muse about.

Opossum in persimmon tree, by Margaret Simon

Leave a small poem in the comments. I’ll be back to post mine. Be kind in your responses to other writers. Enjoy!

Opossum in a persimmon tree
Staring right back at me
Did I catch a thief
or make a new friend? 

Margaret Simon, draft

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Poetry Friday round-up is with Matt at Radio, Rhythm, & Rhyme

Three months ago I said, “Sure!” when my friend Stephanie asked me to participate in a poetry reading. I figured I had plenty of time. And here we are less than a week away. The poetry night is in conjunction with a Water/ Ways traveling Smithsonian exhibit. Stephanie, the assistant at the Bayou Teche Museum, wrote the grant and wanted to add arts into the presentations. I asked her, “Do you realize I write for children?”

The topic is water, so I plan to read from Bayou Song, a swimming poem from Rhymes and Rhythm, and two yet-to-be published poems from Swamp Song. There will be three poets laureate reading alongside me. I’m excited to meet the newest state poet laureate Mona Lisa Saloy. I’ve seen her present on Zoom, but this reading together will be in person.

Darrell Bourque is a mentor of mine. He was poet laureate in Louisiana from 2007-2011. And Jonathan Mayers is coming from Baton Rouge. He is the city’s poet laureate. Melissa and I have been friends since our writing group days in the 90’s. We will support each other as the two non-poets laureate.

In my classroom, the gratitude “Poet-Tree” is filling up with leaves of grateful poems. Yesterday a few teachers stopped by to tell me they were reading the poems and one even said she wanted to write her own and put it on our tree. Spreading poetry love!

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Wednesday is here again. I feel like I’m in a whirlpool heading for Christmas, the calendar is full, and I’m forgetting what day it is. Wednesday already? I did have the forethought on Saturday to save a photo from our friend-poet-teacher Molly Hogan. As you know, she is an avid photographer of wildlife. She posts her photos on Instagram and Facebook. In Maine, apparently bluebirds are still there. We start to see them down south around Christmas. I really don’t know how Molly takes such fine photos of birds. I asked her once and she said, “I just take a lot of them, so one or two come out good.” I also think she has patience for the good shot that I don’t have.

female bluebird by Molly Hogan

This female bluebird has an attitude. She seems to have a teacher’s stance, wide alert eye with her beak in the air, on the verge of letting out a loud call. So I did a quick search and found this video of an Eastern bluebird call.

Take a moment to take in the sound. How would you describe it in a poem?

Write a small poem in the comments and support other writers with encouraging comments.

Warble
World in tune–
Harmony heals us.

Margaret Simon, draft #haynaku #gratitude #poemsofpresence

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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 Saturday as part of the Festival of Words, I had the privilege to attend a small workshop with Aimee Nezhukumatathil. She led us through a number of writing exercises and ended with a discussion of the haibun.

From Poets.org: “Haibun combines a prose poem with a haiku. The haiku usually ends the poem as a sort of whispery and insightful postscript to the prose of the beginning of the poem. Another way of looking at the form is thinking of haibun as highly focused testimony or recollection of a journey composed of a prose poem and ending with a meaningful murmur of sorts: a haiku.”

Aimee added to this definition with two concepts: Aware, a Japanese concept similar to natsukashisa, a type of nostalgia with a fondness for what is gone but also slight optimism for what’s ahead and a sense of calm because this is the natural course of things. She also Nezhukumatathiled the form with the addition of scent. She spoke about scent as a way to activate the reader’s mind to a memory.

On Monday, I went to a former school to screen a student for gifted. They put me in my old room to do the testing and while the child took her test, I wrote this poem.

I enter the spacious classroom, and you are not here. So many hard days in masks and social distance
defined our relationship then. Your desk is gone. The smell of pencil shavings is sharp
mixed with musty-mold of an old school. Today I am testing a girl like you,
bright and edgy with a little swagger to her walk. But she isn’t you. No one can be you but you.
This chair, the small blue square that lost its cushion years ago, holds me again.
I trip over its wobbly wheels wishing you were here to laugh at me. Where are you now?
In another classroom, another school, same masked face, same suspicious eyes.
I want to know if you are OK. I only ever wanted you to be OK.

Students come in
Twist my heart into a knot
And leave it longing

Margaret Simon, draft
Photo by Ivan Samkov on Pexels.com

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Spiritual Journey First Thursday Posts are being gathered today by Denise Krebs at Dare to Care.

Gratitude should be a daily practice, and I believe, for the most part, it is, but the month of November tucked gently between the wildness of Halloween and the frenzy of Christmas gives us an opportunity to find grace and gratitude.

On Monday, I decided to start a monthlong project of gratitude poems with my students. When they walk in and open their notebooks, I ask, “What are you grateful for today? What is making you happy right now?” We have a quick discussion and then write small poems. I’ve printed leaves on colored paper. We write our #gratitude on a leaf, cut it out, and add it to the “Poet-Tree” on the classroom door.

Gratitude Poet Tree

I’m posting my poems on social media with #gratitude. I’m drawn to the small poem form hay(na)ku that Denise Krebs introduced me to. Here are the #haynaku that I’ve posted so far this month.

November 1

Blue
–your eyes
Saying Love Mamere

November 2

View-Master
Dino book–
Children were here!

November 3

Missing
–your smile
Masks hide happiness.

by Katie, 6th grade
Gratitude Septercet by Margaret Simon

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