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Posts Tagged ‘John Gibson’

Thank you to Two Writing Teachers for creating an amazing community of writers and a safe, welcoming space to write and share.

Temperatures are high in these parts, and the virus doesn’t care. I haven’t seen my parents in person since Christmas. My mother sent me a Portal that works like Facetime through Facebook Messenger. The screen props up on the counter in the kitchen. Every time Leo (20 months) comes over, he points to it and says “Pop!” That’s my dad. That’s how he knows them, through the Portal.

My father has not been big on social media, but in the last month, he’s posting almost daily reports, “Reports from an independent retirement home.” They have been on lockdown for two weeks and were finally released on Saturday (Covid tests negative) to go downstairs for meals again. Here is one of my dad’s posts.

What does one look forward to when you are in quarantine? It’s different I imagine for everyone. As days go by, the options diminish. It gets down to such things as the next nap, the next meal, the next unexpected package, even the mail. Then there’s TV, which ends up being a search for the never found good program. My solace is a good book, which often ends up being the next nap. And so the circle goes on and on. The challenge becomes the acknowledgment that where you are is where you are and you’d better adjust to it. Part of the adjustment is to occasionally posting my thoughts. I hope you don’t mind.

John Gibson

Dad doesn’t know it, but I’m collecting his posts. I started doing this thinking I’d make a found poem, but now I like the way they speak themselves, full of his unique voice.

Andy Schoenborn posted the #OpenWrite prompt on Monday’s Ethical ELA. (Click the link to see the full prompt and read some amazing poetic responses.) Here is my poem draft:

My dog, Charlie

Weather Report

The dog lies at my feet
on the cold floor because
Heat is unbearable at 91
in dog years, the age of Mac
in human years, when the virus
took him.

Heat doesn’t care
if you are young or old
or if you have people
who love you. I see my parents
through a screen.
Their weather changes daily
with temperature checks, sticks up the nose.
(It was reported that my dad yelled from the pain.)
Funny
if we didn’t care so much
about isolation, the comfort
of a friend to eat ice cream with.

Hurricanes come in late summer
when we’ve let our guard down,
when masks fall to our chins,
when we just want to hug
because another person, human,
grandmother, friend has died.

The weather channel
broadcasts
24 hours
a map covered in red.

Margaret Simon, draft

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National Poetry Month 2018

See more posts at Two Writing Teachers Slice of Life .

 

Afternoon Light by John Gibson

Sometimes it’s in the details of the day,
these spokes of wheel, pattern of brick, leaf fall.

Sometimes it’s the conversation you hear,
standing by, eavesdropping, that gossip-talk.

Sometimes it’s the way you walk to and fro,
wandering through tall grass and stepping into light.

–Margaret Simon, (c) 2018

“A poet needs to keep his wilderness alive inside him.” Stanley Kunitz

As I write a poem every day to my father’s incredible art, I feel unworthy, like a child waiting for a parent’s approval.  When I wrote the poem above and many of the ones I’ve done this month, I hear the echo of a first line in my head.  I go with it and follow it through the path to a poem.  Sometimes I don’t think it’s really me writing.  More like scribing.  The Stanley Kunitz quote above speaks to this wilderness inside me where poems live.  I’ve decided to trust this voice even when I don’t really understand her.

 

 

 

 

 

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National Poetry Month 2018

Raven by John Gibson

Raven lights a fire
before dawning of sunrise,
forewarning of death,

calms darkness before released
hatred causes senseless grief.

Tanka: The Japanese tanka is a thirty-one-syllable poem, traditionally written in a single unbroken line. A form of waka, Japanese song or verse, tanka translates as “short song,” and is better known in its five-line, 5/7/5/7/7 syllable count form. From Poets.org

“The Irish goddess, Morrighan, had a number of different guises. In her aspect as bloodthirsty goddess of war, she was thought to be present on the battlefield in the form of a raven.” From Trees for Life, Mythology and Folklore.

 

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National Poetry Month 2018

Poetry Friday round-up is with Amy at The Poem Farm.

Welcome to my National Poetry Month Day 5.  I’m writing ekphrastic poetry about my father’s art.

 

 

 

 

 

Country Barn by John Gibson

Here
we take our time,
climb through barnwood
and tell secrets.

Here
we find ourselves
wrapped in fieldgrass
and speak whispers.

Here
we lower our masks
stay safely sunfree
and hum memories.

–Margaret Simon, (c) 2018

Quote from PoemCrazy by Susan Goldsmith Wooldridge: “I feel safe because poems take me to a place out of normal time and thought, dipping me below the surface to where we all meet.  The poem speaks in confidence, the reader feels included, honored, and keeps the secret.”

The form beginning with the word “here” borrowed from Janet Wong’s poem Walking to Temple found in Lee Bennett Hopkins collection World Make Way. 

 

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National Poetry Month 2018

 

Three Trees by John Gibson

 

I have watched my father draw all my life.  He is still doing it in his 80’s.  I marvel at how he creates shapes with ink dots. One of his favorite subjects is trees.

I am using Amy Ludwig VanDerwater’s book Poems are Teachers and following her posts on The Poem Farm to prompt my students writing every day.  She has opened padlets for each prompt, so my students are posting on these.

Poem number 3 was a mask poem. She tells what a mask poem is here.

I wrote alongside my students, so today’s poem is not ekphrasis but a mask poem from the point of view of the artist.

 

The Artist

I begin with an image
a photograph, a landscape,
a walk outside.

Drawn to the space
between light and dark,
I trace a line, soft and simple.

As time stands still,
my hand moves, dabbles, dots
until a shape appears.

Art is a way of seeing,
a definition from my eyes,
a miracle of my hands.

Margaret Simon, (c) 2018

For more Spiritual Thursday posts, click over to Carol’s Beyond Literacy Link.

Today is the first Thursday, and a group of fellow bloggers link up and share our spiritual journeys.

The theme for this month is Poetry as a Spiritual Practice. If I were to analyze word choice in my poetry, I would find many words that speak to the spirit, words like miracle, grace, sacred, God, and love.  The spirit breathes through these words. I am forever grateful for the gift of writing, for I believe it is a spiritual gift.  I am not alone when I write.  The Holy Spirit guides my hand.  Poetry is a spiritual practice.

On Good Friday last week, I was moved by Psalm 22 to write my own psalm.  I am reposting it here as a response to Carol’s call for today’s posts.

Deus, Deus meus

My God, my God, why have you forgiven me?
The toll of the cardinal song
echoes You are my child.

Long ago, I carried a child in my own womb
felt her heart beat with mine,
felt the soft body roll inside.

Is this how you love me, God?

I held the hand of his father
as he passed into your light.
I let go of his quiet strength.

Is this how you love me, God?

When I think on these things,
I can know kindness.
I can hear stillness in the noise.
I can feel love in the bird’s song.

When you are near me, God,
My soul lives for you.

–Margaret Simon (c) 2018

 

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National Poetry Month 2018

 

Afternoon by John Gibson

I come from an ocean of afternoons
where the sun hangs
onto the sky
splashing shadows long.

I pedal my bicycle
along the path
racing with the wind,
my hair flying like curly kite ribbons.

I come from this afternoon,
an open endless time
holding onto the handlebars,
then letting go…

Just to test my balance.

Margaret Simon (c) 2018

From PoemCrazy p.64: “Look for a place in a picture that feels like somewhere you’ve come from. Begin to write about where you feel you come from.”

 

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National Poetry Month 2018

See more posts at Two Writing Teachers Slice of Life .

For National Poetry Month, I am writing poems to art, ekphrastic poetry.  My father has generously offered his art work for my project.  He works in pen and ink, using a method called pointillism in which tiny dots create the image.   The white spaces are defined by the dark.

Doves by John Gibson

Turtle doves are nesting
in
sanctified
altars,
hovering
in
holy
spaces.
Tranquility
in
nesting turtle doves.

 

Skinny Poetry Form: A Skinny is a short poem form that consists of eleven lines. The first and eleventh lines can be any length (although shorter lines are favored). The eleventh and last line must be repeated using the same words from the first and opening line (however, they can be rearranged). The second, sixth, and tenth lines must be identical. All the lines in this form, except for the first and last lines, must be comprised of ONLY one word. The Skinny was created by Truth Thomas in the Tony Medina Poetry Workshop at Howard University in 2005.

 

“Names are powerful. They influence our perception. The Chinese master Confucius believed all wisdom came from learning to call things by the right name.” PoemCrazy by Susan Goldsmith Wooldridge

The name turtle doves originates from the Hebrew word tor meaning twice, which became tur tur, transliterated into English as turtle dove. Thus turtle doves have nothing to do with turtles. They are referred to often in the Bible.

 

 

 

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National Poetry Month 2018

Dark Clouds by John Gibson

I fade as light
brightens maple leaves
before they fall
to soft ground below.

Branches overshadow me
grip my confidence
and shun me.

I land without sound
without notice
without glee.

–Margaret Simon, (c) 2018

From Poem Crazy by Susan Goldsmith Wooldridge: “Writing poems using images can create an experience allowing others to feel what we feel. Perhaps more important, poems can put us in touch with our own often buried or unexpected feelings.”

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Please use this button on your site for DigiLit Sunday posts

Find more celebration posts at Ruth’s blog.

Some weeks call for combination posts. Today I am celebrating story in my DigiLitSunday post.

I am privileged to be in a family of writers. After her retirement as a district judge, my mother-in-law started writing crime novels. In each of her books, she fictionalizes actual cases that came across her bench in the courtroom. Sunday I am hosting a book signing for her third book, Blood of the Believers.


In this book, Detective Ted D’Aquin is struggling with the disappearance of his wife. But after a year and a half of leave from the St. Martinville Sheriff’s office, he returns to investigate two homicides. I know from my mother-in-law, Anne Simon, the parts of the cases that are real and which ones she made up. Sometimes real life can be crazier than fiction.

Reading her latest book, I could hear her voice. Even though she was writing as a male character, some of her ways of saying things came through. The average reader may not recognize these idiosyncrasies that our family lovingly calls “Minga-isms.” (Minga is her grandmother name.)

My father has published his first novel, Into the Silence. He’s been writing this book since 1975 when I was still a young teen. I encouraged him to get it published with my friends at Border Press. He will have a book signing in my home town of Jackson, MS at Lemuria Books on June 16th at 5:00.  Diane Moore wrote a glowing review on her blog, A Word’s Worth. 

When I was home last weekend, I got one of the hot-off-the-presses copies. I read furiously, couldn’t put it down. The protagonist is Todd Sutherland, a cardiologist, but to me, he is my father. Dad admits that he wanted to be a cardiologist. He was a radiologist by profession. Interspersed in the story of how Todd falls in love with one of his patients and is faced with her certain death are parts of my father’s life story, the death of his own father to Parkinson’s and his intense study of shamanism, Greek literature, and theology. The fictional story is intriguing, but I will hold on to the parts of my dad that live on in this story.

Why do we write? For both my mother-in-law Anne and my father John, they write to reveal the deepest parts of themselves while creating a strong compelling story. I am blessed to be among such mentors.

If you have stories about stories, please leave a link below. Click to read more DigiLitSunday posts.

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Find more celebration posts at Ruth's blog.

Find more celebration posts at Ruth’s blog.

 

For the last 13 years my father has created a drawing for my parents’ annual Christmas card.  In 2013, I published a small chapbook of his drawings along with poems that I wrote.  The book, Illuminate, seems to still be available on Amazon.

Earlier this week I visited my parents and talked to my dad about this year’s card.  This summer, my husband Jeff was building a pirogue in our carport.  When he was close to finishing, I took a picture and posted it on Facebook.

jeff-with-pirogue

 

The artist in my dad saw this image.

what-dad-saw

 

He emailed me and asked for the picture.  Then he blew it up and printed only the trees from the background.  These are crepe myrtle trees that are actually on the front of our house.

The photograph became the inspiration for his abstract drawing.  My dad works with pen and ink in pointillism.  Each drawing is a miracle.  I celebrate this creative gift.

John Gibson, 2016

John Gibson, 2016

 

Haiku #31

Happy New Year’s Eve!
Even trees have a party.
Sparks of light illume.

Thanks to Mary Lee Hahn for the haiku-a-day challenge. I celebrate:

  • We lightened the world with our words.
  • We grew as a community of writers.
  • We made it.

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