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Posts Tagged ‘Laura Shovan’

Poetry Friday gathering is at Molly’s place in Maine, Nix the Comfort Zone.

I am taking a creative-inducing drug called A-Poem-a-Day. It’s good for me. But it doesn’t always make me happy. Poetry is a place where emotions become raw. This week I heard of another community member’s death from Covid. He was 75 and battled for months. His family was dedicated, by his side, and hopeful until they couldn’t be. I don’t know this kind of loss. I’m a lucky one, and sometimes that makes me feel guilty.

Laura Shovan does a poetry writing project every February. This year the theme is body. If you are interested in seeing the week’s prompts, go to her site here.

Heather Meloche posted the prompt “lungs” with a profound graffiti art piece “I can’t breathe”. Not only do I wish I could breathe for those who can’t, I also wish I could take away the pain of loss. This empathy came out in my poem.

Misty morning
fills my lungs
with living.

On this day
I pray
for air,

a way to not care
people are drowning.

They can’t breathe.
A machine breathes for them.

I wish for a way
like roots of trees
breathe together underground,

a way
to pass
hand to hand
lung to lung

Health
Healing
Hearty
life.

Margaret Simon, draft

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This week was a sad one for my friend, poet-author Laura Shovan. Her beagle Rudy had a condition known as bloat. Bloat is a serious condition that few dogs survive. To learn more, please click this link to AKC information on bloat. If you own a dog, you need to know the warning signs.

Rudy fought but lost the fight. Laura posted multiple pictures of her beloved pet on social media. I was especially taken with this photo. A dreamy quality that reminds me that our pets know more than we think they know.

Laura and Rudy view the sky.

Leave a poem in the comments. I hope our poems will comfort Laura in some small way. Leave encouraging comments for other writers.

If we could see through
the eyes of a dog,
we’d know the secret
to unconditional love.

Margaret Simon, 2020

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Poetry Friday round-up is at Karen’s Blog.

Summer means the Summer Poetry Swap which is coordinated by Tabatha. I’ve already received two poetry gifts, and it feels like summer just began.

The first poem I received came from Laura Shovan, a dear poet friend and author of The Last Fifth Grade of Emerson Elementary and Takedown. Laura sent sourdough starter, a whimsical pen, and this poem.

Bread and Water by Laura Shovan

My second poem came from Buffy Silverman. Buffy and I have never met, but I have enjoyed her poetry for years. What delight to open an email from her with this image and beautiful poem about wild iris, blue flag!

Blue Flag by Buffy Silverman

This week Linda Mitchell and I teamed up to provide prompts for Ethical ELA. This site by Sarah Donovan is a wonderful place for teachers to write and receive positive feedback. I enjoyed being a part of the community this week. The poetic responses were amazing! Here is a link to the 5 Day Open Write.

I wrote two poems in response to Linda’s prompts. The first one was a list poem. I had a receipt marking my notebook page. My oldest daughter is having a girl (Yes!) in November. At a local children’s store, I bought the first thing for this new one, a newborn gown.

For the Little Ones
 
Shorts
Shirt
Gown–> NB
 
white silky soft
edged with pink stitching
to welcome
a sister
now growing
day by day
a girl to embrace
a girl to bless
a girl to love

Margaret Simon, draft

The second prompt from Linda came from Linda Baie’s prompt in Laura Shovan’s Water Poem Project, to write a fiction poem. I took some quotes from my weekend with my kids and built this scene.

Heat
 
What is it about the 90 degree mark
that turns a sunny day into fire
burning you through to the bone?
 
They didn’t speak in the heat;
Their brains thirsty, wrung out 
beyond droplets of sweat,
couldn’t fathom anything worthy of saying.
 
He handed her the phone,
clicked play on a video of animal faces,
noses in particular, that made her smile,
despite herself. She didn’t bother 
to ask why. 
 
Humor finds its way into the cracks
of relationship, beneath the surface
of burning skin to release toxins
from the crease of a smile. 

Margaret Simon, draft

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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.

Yesterday I read Sally Donnelly’s post about choosing a color to represent this time. She quoted an artist who represented the 9/11 tragedy with the color blue. Read her post here.

I started thinking about the color I would pick, and it has to be green. This is the time of year when green appears in all its amazing shades in my backyard. The cypress trees are bursting with a bright neon green.

Looking up through the cypress trees

Live oak trees lose their leaves in the spring as new leaves emerge.

Grandmother Live Oak bursting with spring growth

I am passing my stay-at-home time on my back deck, listening to wind chimes and watching for the occasional boat. And sometimes a poem comes. Using Irene Latham’s prompt from Laura Shovan’s #Waterpoemproject, I wrote this quick ditty.

Bayou Side

Buzzing
Hovering
Fat hungry bumblebee

Roaring
Speeding
Wave-jumping motor boat

Paddling
Parting
Water-whispering canoe

Sparkling
Greening
Spring-loving cypress trees

Margaret Simon, draft
“water-whispering canoe”

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See more posts at Two Writing Teachers Slice of Life

In addition to the Slice of Life Challenge, I am writing a poem each day with a Facebook group for Laura Shovan’s annual birthday project.  This year we are writing about food.  The prompt yesterday from Laura herself was sourdough bread.  Not having much experience in sourdough bread, the baking or the eating of it, I took the option to write about any bread.

I am currently in New Orleans with my girls celebrating Mardi Gras.  A staple pastry during the Mardi Gras season is King cake.  King Cake is symbolic of Epiphany, the season of the church year following Christmas.  On Epiphany, the three kings arrived to worship Jesus.  The dough is baked in a circle symbolizing unity of faith.  The frosting is colored sugar in purple, gold, and green.  Gold represents power, green is associated with faith, and purple illustrates justice. (Southern Living)

Of the many Mardi Gras traditions, this is one of my favorite.  In our small town of New Iberia, there is a donut bakery that makes King Cakes like a donut.  My son-in-law brought one yesterday that he swears weighs more than his 2 month old.  It’s infused with cream cheese and strawberry jam.  There are two more on the kitchen counter each with its own flavoring and pastry recipe.  The tradition is that a plastic baby is placed inside the King Cake to symbolize the search for baby Jesus.  Whomever gets the baby in their piece is obligated to buy the next King Cake for the next celebration.

I’ve decided to forego my no carb diet just for this weekend.  Let the good times roll!

 

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Poetry Friday round-up is here. Scroll down to link up with inlinkz.

Today I am hosting Poetry Friday.  What a joy to collect all the poetry goodness in the kidlitosphere. Scroll down to the inlinkz button to link up and to read posts.

This summer I participated in the Summer Poem Swap organized by Tabatha at The Opposite of Indifference.  I recently received a delightful package from Laura Shovan, (And it arrived on my birthday! Serendipity!) Laura received one of my books in a blog tour give-away. She made a copy of the “Write it” for writing a zeno poem.  The zeno form was invented by J. Patrick Lewis.  The syllable count is a mathematical sequence, 8,4,2,1,4,2,1,4,2,1 with the one syllable words rhyming.

I was inspired to try my own zeno.  Last week Christie Wyman challenged us to write bird poems. I loved Linda Baie’s poem and gathered words from it to create my zeno.  Then I made a zine. Zine is a new term for a folded paper mini-book. (See this post that includes videos.) I will be giving a few workshops in September in which we make zines, so I wanted to make a sample Zeno Zine.

Morning birds surround me with sound.
Flying quartets
choral
breeze
Sunrise music
echoes
seas
of symphonic
concert
trees.

Margaret Simon (c) 2018

 

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Poetry Friday round-up is with Sally Murphy.

I have five friends currently battling breast cancer.  This daily battle is heart-wrenching and hard. They are sharing their journey with me and others. It seems all I can do for them is pray or cry or write a poem.

On Monday, Kim wrote this: “As you know, chemo wreaks havoc on the immune system.  It lowers red and white blood counts and one specific type of white blood cell–the neutrophil–is especially critical because it plays an important role in fighting infection. If a chemo patient develops a fever, it sounds the alarm that the neutrophil concentration has likely fallen below 1000 and spurs doctors to take immediate action. If not treated with a strong course of antibiotics, the patient could develop a potentially life threatening infection. So, chemo comes with a strong warning: take fevers very seriously.”

On Tuesday, Sarah wrote this: “Exposed, hurting, lying on what seems like a narrow mortician’s table in a cavernous room, alone, encapsulated by an enormous machine shooting me with targeted radiation all in the name of cancer — I am a science experiment.”

On Wednesday, Amy wrote this: “What do you wear to hear the results of your pet/ct scan? A crown of course. Well I got good news and not so go news. The not so good news is the cancer is growing and has shown up in two new places. We’ll be looking at new treatment options at MD Anderson. The good news is my doctor said I can ride roller coasters at Disney next week. Bring it!! Thanks to all who have shown their concern and who have prayed for me. Please continue – the road just got bumpy.”

In Laura Shovan’s Daily February Writing Challenge, the image of a beautiful ocean scene came up, but all I could see was the dirty sand and the crashing waves.  I released my growing worry and concern in a poem.

Low Tide by Andrea Lavoie

 

Low Tide

That sand is frozen brown grass
flowing like the folds of a blanket,
fluffed and tucked over
the patient’s bed.

Does it comfort or scratch?
Cover or annoy?

Skin is sensitive with fever.
Chemo burns through her veins,
poison that saves
even as the waves
of a raging ocean
recede with the tide.

It’s the pull of the moon
holding her in a glowing stare.
Where is the silver lining?

–Margaret Simon, (c) 2018 for Kim, Sarah, Amy, Kelley, and Sandy

 

 

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Poetry Friday is with Katie at The Logonauts.

Poetry Friday is with Katie at The Logonauts.

I hate snakes! I always have for as long as I can remember. I grew up running around the piney woods of Mississippi and now I live on a bayou in Louisiana. Snakes are a part of my world, but they terrify me.

This week one of the news stories that we poets responded to was about a snake coming out of a toilet in Texas. If you want to never look at a toilet the same way again, read this article.  I decided against posting a picture on my blog.  It was bad enough that I had to see it repeatedly on my Facebook feed.

The day this prompt was posted for Laura Shovan’s February ten found words writing project I was teaching cinquains to my students. They were writing them about their names. I chose to write about this snake menace. I enjoyed sharing the frightful article and resulting poem with them.

The rules for a cinquain are 5 lines with 2, 4, 6, 8, 2 syllables in each line.

rattle
in the toilet
camouflaged cryptic sign
surprising an innocent boy
Nightmare!

shovel
slamming down hard
killing snake in a clump
unknowing den of twenty three
silent

cellar
perfect hiding
for slithering secrets
wondering when their diamonds
will shine

–Margaret Simon, all rights reserved

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Join the Two Writing Teachers blog for the Slice of Life Challenge.

Join the Two Writing Teachers blog for the Slice of Life Challenge.

Today marks post #1000 on my blog. Wow! This has happened one word at a time, one post at a time.  When I started this blog nearly 5 years ago, I had no idea where this writing journey would lead.  I have a wonderful community of friends through my connections with various weekly memes. Slice of Life was one of the first communities I joined. I appreciate all of you who read my musings. Here’s to the next thousand!

Through Poetry Friday, I connected with Laura Shovan. This year marks her 5th annual poem-a-day writing challenge for February, her birthday month. This year she’s hosting it on Facebook in a closed group. The theme is ten found words from current news articles. I check the morning post, copy the ten chosen words into a Google doc, and work on my poem whenever I have a chance throughout the day. At first, I didn’t want to have this much interaction with the daily news, but each article has been different. Not only am I reading poems, practicing writing, building community, I am also learning some amazing stuff.

nightly-sky-with-large-moon

On February 4th, the article was from earthsky.org, and I learned about the change in the moon’s orbit. Fascinating and certainly not an article I would normally have read. Sometimes the article informs the poetry, but more often the poems come from that inner poet, the one who surprises me constantly.

The axis turns
one rotation at a time
keeping in balance
this ancient path
tilting toward unity.

The gods knew this truth
when they painted pictures
in the night sky.

Our bodies want to return
to balance and knowing
and wandering; we look for a leader,
a shaman, a yogi master.

Analyze the words
of Langston, or Maya,
or Martin, and you’ll
see a common axis,
a dream that crept into each heart.

Spin around.
Face the stars.
Reach out.
Dream on.

–Margaret Simon

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Slice of Life Challenge

Join the Two Writing Teachers blog for the Slice of Life Challenge.

j-magnolia-dew

The Hallmark channel is on again.  I pour a glass of wine.  I search for something positive to say.  I’ve always thought of myself as an optimist, but these days are dark.  Winter is an apt metaphor for the state of our country.  I am carrying a weight of pessimism that I find too heavy and hard.

So I turn to my passion, poetry.  Poetry is like prayer for me.  I go inside my thoughts and work to make some sense of them.

Laura Shovan is getting ready for her annual February poetry project.  She has built a Facebook group.  It’s a closed group, but if you ask, you can join.  We are a bunch of liberals looking for ways to make sense of the news by taking 10 words from a current news report and writing poetry.

On Saturday, I found an empty journal on my shelf.  It is quite beautiful, a gift from someone, I’m sure.  The title reads, “Personal Journal with Quotes & Art by Women.”  I decided to use this book to pen the poems I am writing for Laura’s challenge.  On this page I share below is a sculpture called “Invocation” by Edith Schaller.  I wrote a poem for the January 25th warm-up using ten words from Janet Mock’s Women’s March speech.  I am not accustomed to being outspoken, political, or radical.  I am uncomfortable in this position, but I find solace in poetry, in writing, in words.

invocation

 

I am my sister’s keeper.
I hold her body.
I am committed to this work
of loving and comforting,
feeling safe and sensitive.

I refuse to crawl deeper into poverty,
refuse to give up all that we have fought for.
I will not be invisible or neglected.

But his words tear at a core
I fear is weak.  My liberation
is linked to my resolve
to not be moved, to hold fast.

Why must I turn into a revolutionary?
I once was a peaceful woman,
teaching, learning, writing,
minding my own business.

Why must I be confrontational?
Someone who has written herself
into this story of marches,
signs and petitions?

Sister, help me be this new me.

–Margaret Simon

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