Posts Tagged ‘Jack’

Poetry Friday round-up is here today!

Poetry Friday round-up is here today!

photo by Margaret Gibson Simon enhanced on Picmonkey

photo by Margaret Gibson Simon enhanced on Picmonkey

Revisiting Presence, my 2016 One Little Word, makes me think of poetry. Poetry is about presence. We capture a moment, a thought, an image in a single verse and sit with it in the presence of the poem.

This month’s Ditty challenge on Michelle’s blog, Today’s Little Ditty, is a persona poem, suggested by Laura Shovan.

A persona poem makes the poet (then the reader) see the world through the eyes of another person. Today, I am a featured poet on Penny Parker Klostermann’s blog. She has a series “A Great Nephew and a Great Aunt” in which she shares a poem after her nephew’s art. She also invites other poets to participate. I volunteered to write a poem from my nephew’s drum riff.

My nephew Jack, 11 years old, has been playing drums all his life. He owns his own drum set and is taking private lessons. He selected percussion as his instrument for band next year in middle school.

Jack and I, along with my sister Beth, had a Google hangout. I asked Jack to create his own drum riff, and I would write a poem to go with it. When Beth sent me the video, I was inspired to write a poem in Jack’s persona. I am sharing the poem here, but please click over to Penny’s blog to see the video of Jack on the drums.

The beat
starts in my toes,
startles my legs,
My fingers feel the groove
until the tingling,
spine-riveting jolt,
is more than I can stand.
I must
I must
beat the drum!
by Margaret Simon, all rights reserved

Jack's first drum set

Jack’s first drum set

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SOL #4

SOL #4

I have met many wonderful and creative people through blogging.  A few years ago I joined the Poetry Friday round up.  Poetry is a passion of mine.  I use poetry often in my classroom, and I enjoy writing it.  And who doesn’t love a good challenge?  So when Laura Shovan posted her February Birthday Challenge, I took part.  She posted sounds as poetry prompts.  Turns out 14 of us wrote 177 poems to 28 sounds.  Pretty impressive.

One of the sounds we wrote about was an electric guitar which reminded me of playing Guitar Hero with my nephew and getting beaten badly.  Apparently, Jack has impeccable rhythm.  Last summer, he started taking drumming lessons.  He got a djembe for Christmas.  I didn’t really know about his djembe playing until my sister posted a video of him from their California vacation.  (My talented trumpet playing niece was marching with her band in the Rose Bowl parade.)

Musical talent runs in my family.  In the dining room of my parents’ home is a life-sized portrait of my grandmother with her violin.  My mother has her masters in piano and taught lessons in our home for many years.  My brother has the gene, too. (We say it’s in the left hand as they are all left-handed.) Hunter is a professional musician.  He plays keyboard and sings solo or with a band most nights of the week.  So it was inevitable that someone would inherit the talent.

My sister says Jack’s rhythm is innate.  He danced to the beat of her tapping a cinnamon container at 18 months.  She remembers Mom telling a similar story about our brother who danced to the rhythm of her stirring cake batter.

Laura’s challenge pushed me to add a poem to the video.  Here is Jack playing the djembe wowing the crowds at Santa Monica pier.  My poem runs in the ticker tape at the bottom.



When I played Guitar Hero,

beat on a fake guitar

sent light waves to a TV screen,

the cartoon me danced in time,

but I missed the beat.

Not Jack

He is the guitar hero.

A natural born rock star

The beat is in the palms of his hands

drumming the djembe–

a ten-year-old marvel.

–Margaret Simon



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This weekend our family gathered for the graduation of my youngest daughter from college.  What a whirlwind of events and emotions!  One of the treats for me was spending time with my nephew, Jack, who, at the end of his first grade year, is beginning to learn about the power of his words.  To my delight, his teacher uses writers’ workshop.  Prominently posted on the family refrigerator is Jack’s latest composition, a three-paged story about his two dogs.  He used words like “mischievous” and distinguished the two dogs as one is a “licker” and the other a “sniffer.”

Jack has his mother’s old iPhone.  Even with a cracked face, he enjoys using it to email.  So we started an email exchange.  He started with a typo that led to a little poem.  Being a poetry fan as well as a teacher, I prompted him on to create another poem.  I have transposed our exchange here.  Jack’s words are italicized.

I’m so gladys…

I’m so gladys, too, but mostly I love my Jacky.

I’m so gladys, too, but mostly I love you.

When we’re together,

We like to

Read, talk, and tell stories.

We tell our stories at night

When all is calm and quiet.

What is your favorite story?

Magic treehouse deep sea ocean.

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