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Posts Tagged ‘Laura Shovan’

Laura Shovan is an author-poet-friend who lives in Maryland. She posted this photo on Facebook with the following message:

Bloodwort is one of my favorite #secretgarden plants. They only bloom for a few days in early spring. The dogs (or I) stepped on this flower — rescued and happily in an espresso cup!

Laura Shovan, 3/22/22

I love the idea of a secret garden. I love the book The Secret Garden. When I first moved to the house I live in now, every season I would discover new-to-me plants and flowers.

I also love that Laura rescued this little blossom and placed it on a table in an espresso cup. Something so ceremonial and sacred about that.

Bloodwort is also known as bloodroot because the roots are red. Join me in musing on this photo today. Leave your small poem in the comments and encourage other writers with your responses.

Bloodwort by Laura Shovan

Prayer
Grace
from her secret garden
fell
at her feet.
She knelt in the still cold earth
to notice
and return its kindness,
placing the small flower
in a small cup,
like a prayer.

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.

This month of February has been rich for my writing life. I’m writing at least one poem a day along with other writers in Laura Shovan’s 10th Annual February Project on Facebook. The theme this year is Time. Susan Brisson posted a prompt that began like this: “Tiny moments in time, brief exchanges with nature, split seconds of seeing something so beautiful, as fast as the flash of your camera or the time it takes for your thoughts to travel from your eyes to your brain. Have you ever had such a moment? Not a life changing moment but a mood changing moment.”

I immediately thought of releasing monarchs. I’ve been raising monarchs in my kitchen since Christmas. We’ve had a few freezes, so I collected them from my own garden as well as a school garden. I had around 20 caterpillars that successfully made 11 chrysalises. Of those 11, 8 have eclosed into beautiful butterflies. They’ve all been males. They have to be released in temperatures above 50 degrees.

One afternoon last week I released two of them onto outdoor plants. When I checked the next morning, they were still there and completely still. One was even flat on the ground. I brought them back into the enclosure in my kitchen. After warming up, they actually revived, but getting them to let go and fly took a bit of coaxing.

Release

The male monarch
emerged whole
and beautifully designed,
contrast of orange and black wings.

On the day of release
I gently placed my finger near his tiny legs.
He held me so tight my skin tingled.
We walked together.

I tried to coax him to fly,
but he clung, walking gingerly up my arm. Not ready
to let go.
Not ready
to fly.

I held him on my shoulder like a baby.
Then, as a mother knows best,
laid him down
and let him go.

He flew away.
I remember his touch.

Margaret Simon, draft

It’s time to sign up for the Kidlit Progressive Poem for National Poetry Month. The sign up post is here.

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Poetry Friday is with Heidi at My Juicy Little Universe
Wikimedia Commons

In February I joined an amazing group of poets writing everyday to prompts about The Body on a Facebook group organized by Laura Shovan. Laura has posted all the marvelous prompts on her website.

Most days it was tough to get one poem written and some days I didn’t write, but one day I wrote two poems. The prompt was about the beautiful brain. On Facebook I posted a Golden Shovel from Emily Dickinson’s line “The brain is deeper than the sea.” But in searching my notebook for something to post today, I found a different poem. I didn’t like it when I wrote it, but now I kinda do.

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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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