Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Posts Tagged ‘Inklings’

Poetry Friday is with Carol at Beyond Literacy Link.

This month’s Inkling challenge comes from Heidi. She invited us to “use the form” of the poem, The Lost Lagoon, by Emily Pauline Johnson (d. 1913) to build a “poem for children about a treasured place that you return to again and again.”

Most of our group had tackled this challenge early on. I thought I might not make it. After Christmas and a family trip, I had been away from writing for a few weeks. Often when I take a break like this, I feel I’ll never write another poem. I decided to take my head out of the sand and face it. On Sunday I opened The Lost Lagoon. I copied it into a document and went to work writing beside it. I didn’t follow the form exactly, but in many ways the exercise led me to say what I wanted to say.

One of my favorite photos from our family trip to North Carolina became my muse. The guys enjoyed making nightly fires in the fire pit outside our mountain house. The toddler boys enjoyed participating (at a safe distance) in blowing on the fire. My daughters captured the scene in two photographs.

Over Blue Mountain

See Sun set over blue mountain;
Dada builds fire to light the way
beneath a cloud-shining golden ray.
I twirl in steam of an ending day
and blow flames for a sparkling fountain.

In the dark, a song begins to bloom
and follows a cow’s mooing tune,
a howl of dogs under rising moon,
the logs of the fire crackle and croon
and gone is the nighttime gloom.

Oh, why can’t I stay out all night 
to watch Cow jump over the moon
and feel the dawning sky too soon?
I dream I’m lifted like a balloon–
in Dada’s arms I’m safe and right. 

Margaret Simon, 2022
Papère, Leo, and Dada

Other Inkling poems:

Catherine Flynn at Reading to the Core
Linda Mitchell at A Word Edgewise
Heidi Mordhorst at My Juicy Little Universe
Molly Hogan at Nix the Comfort Zone
Mary Lee Hahn at A(nother) Year of Reading

Read Full Post »

Poetry Friday round-up is with Michelle Kogan.

This month’s Inkling challenge is from Molly Hogan. She asked us to try a form we’ve been wanting to try. One of her form suggestions was a tricube. Matt Forrest Esenwine wrote about the form here. Matt said the form seems simple, yet it is challenging to say what you want to say in so few syllables. The form uses a mathematical sequence of three, cubed. 3 syllables, 3 lines, 3 stanzas. I wrote one here for my daughters after they treated me to a wonderful birthday weekend.

In my classroom, the gratitude poet-tree has been such a success that we decided to keep it going in December with a Christmas poet-tree. One of my students lost her beloved dog over the break, so I was thinking about how grateful I am for my walking companion Charlie. Charlie is 14 and has a heart murmur, but he still loves to go out for walks with me in the morning.

Charlie+Me=Perfect Cadence

On Monday, my two students came in chatting about their break. They were talking about how their friend had left the school. Katie said she cried, but she would not admit that to anyone but me. She said, “You’re my closest teacher.” This made my heart swell. Trying to capture this emotion in a tricube.

You’re my Closest Teacher

Open door
to comfort,
welcoming.

Freely said,
“I’ll tell you”
words of truth.

Close teacher
listens well.
You matter.

Margaret Simon, draft for Katie

Linda: A Word Edgewise
Heidi: my juicy little universe
Catherine: Reading to the Core
Mary Lee: A(nother) Year of Reading

Read Full Post »

Poetry Friday round-up is with Mary Lee at A(n)other Year of Reading

The Inklings challenge this month comes from Linda Mitchell. She charged us with writing “a poem that includes the idea of percentage or percent. Percentages are all around us in recipes, prices, assessments, statistics. Include the idea of percentage in your poem in some way.”

I put off this challenge for a while until a muse slapped me in the face from Brain Pickings (which is now called The Marginalian). This article is beautifully written: Every Loss Reveals What We Are Made Of by Maria Popova. Incorporating inspiration from Maria Popova and a quote from Maria Mitchell, I crafted a poem container of loss, aging, and rebirth.

Photo by Eriks Abzinovs on Pexels.com

We Reach Forth

The way we stand at the mirror
and see strands of hair 
overnight lose their color,
devoid of fresh light
gone gray in the way
a leaf loses the green of chlorophyll.

We lose our vigor.

The way I collapse on the sofa
after the grandchildren leave–
how it sags from years
of holding us.

The way, like branches, we reach forth
and strain every nerve, 
but we seize only a bit of the curtain 
that hides the infinite from us.*

How 96 percent of the universe
is dark matter 
invisible to us, how can we know
what tomorrow will bring?

The way we shed more color,
fall to the ground,
crush into mulch,
then hatch from darkness
and find light
find light
find light.

*Maria Mitchell

Margaret Simon, draft

Below are links to my fellow Inklings and their responses to the % challenge:

Linda@A Word Edgewise
Heidi @my juicy little universe
Molly@Nix the Comfort Zone
Catherine@Reading to the Core
Mary Lee @ A(n)other Year of Reading

Read Full Post »

Join the Poetry Friday round-up with Heidi at my juicy little universe.

What was I thinking when I challenged my Inklings writing group to write a ghazal for this month’s challenge? Woah, who knew there were so many rules/ guidelines? I had attended the Poetry Foundation’s Summer Teachers Institute and watched a presentation about using repetition in poetry. The presenter talked about two poetry forms, the villanelle and the ghazal. So I said to myself that in order to teach these forms, I needed to write in these forms.

The ghazal is an ancient Arabic and Persian language poetic form. It has couplets (two-line stanzas) that end with repeated end words or phrases. You can also add that traditionally the author’s name appears in the last couplet.

Looks easy, right? Well, this definition was somewhat incomplete. At Poets.org, there is this more complete definition. And Molly directed us to this guidance on Tweetspeak. The most help, as always, came from the Inkling group’s dedication to the craft of poetry and to each other. Their critique was invaluable.

I wanted my poem to say something, to express my longing as a grandmother for the grandmother I never knew. This portrait of her was painted in the 1940’s when my mother was a young girl. It now hangs in my dining room, life-size.

Grandmother’s Song

She never held me in her arms long to sing.
Death took her breath–she was not wrong to sing.

Within her eyes a lullaby still stares
from a frame to invite me along to sing.

Her portrait-hands caress violin strings;
Like the songbird’s voice, they echo strong to sing.

Now I wonder if an angel sings to me.
I want to know whose song to sing.

I have her name–Margaret–a spelling tune,
like a young child, I know I belong to sing. 

Margaret Simon, ghazal, all rights reserved.

Click on the links to read more ghazals by our amazing poetry group.

Catherine Flynn at Reading to the Core
Linda Mitchell at A Word Edgewise
Heidi Mordhorst at My Juicy Little Universe
Molly Hogan at Nix the Comfort Zone
Mary Lee Hahn at A(nother) Year of Reading

Read Full Post »

Poetry Friday round-up is with Mary Lee at A(nother) Year of Reading.

My writing group is here this week with a new name and a new challenge. Formerly, the Sunday Swaggers, we are now the Inklings. Catherine Flynn challenged us this month to write an Ekphrastic Poem.

From the Poetry Foundation:

Ekphrasis

“Description” in Greek. An ekphrastic poem is a vivid description of a scene or, more commonly, a work of art. Through the imaginative act of narrating and reflecting on the “action” of a painting or sculpture, the poet may amplify and expand its meaning.

A few weeks ago I was participating in #WriteOut, a virtual writing marathon from the National Writing Project. On this visit, we were in San Antonio, Tx. One of the prompts was a work of art by Georgia O’Keefe that is housed at the McNay Art Museum.

Evening Star V by Georgia O’Keefe, from the McNay Art Museum

Evening Star

Texas sky
blooms
into star-gaze
red glare haze
across blue waves–

And there–
a point of light
opens a minor C–
insignificant note
like a dust-speck
glistening then gone. 

Margaret Simon, draft

To see more Inkling ekphrasis:

Molly
Linda
Heidi
Catherine

For #TheSealyChallenge, I have read 5 poetry books. This week I wrote blog posts about Before the Ever After, a verse novel by Jacqueline Woodson, and Ilya Kaminsky’s Deaf Republic, a totally different novel in verse. I also blogged about The Bridge Between Us, a collection of poems about teaching through the Covid-19 pandemic. I’ve read Robert Bly’s Morning Poems and Naomi Shihab Nye’s Cast Away, but haven’t blogged about them yet. I am enjoying this challenge. It’s making me pick up poetry books that I have had on my shelves and never read through. I only heard about this challenge this year, but it’s been around for a few years. Is anyone else doing it? How are you handling and processing?

Read Full Post »