Posts Tagged ‘National Geographic’

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

I have subscribed to the National Geographic newsletter. One of these days I will break down and pay the subscription fee for full access because the images and articles are so inspiring. This one included photographs taken all around the world during the pandemic selected to express “how we deal.” My prompt for my students: select a photograph and take words from the text descriptions to write a poem. And I wrote, too.

I chose a photograph of a pregnant woman. My daughter found out she was pregnant around this day a year ago. I was drawn to the woman. Having a child during a pandemic can bring about heightened anxiety. As the grandmother, I felt the joy.

A moment
is all it takes
to cancel

A test
of our humanity
our hunger
our resilience.

We cannot close our eyes, blind-out reality.

To grow a life
inside a womb,
nourish and protect,
celebrate its birth– there is somewhere

to go, to be
with a moment,
comforted and belonging
to the insanity
of things.

Margaret Simon, draft
Baby toes, photo by Margaret Simon

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Poetry Friday round-up is with Laura at Writing the World for Kids.

I love writing from photographs.  There are many different perspectives to take, as an observer, as someone in the photo, or as description. I shared the National Geographic photo archives with my students.  I asked them to select a photo to write about.  We gathered information first in a T-chart.  “What I see, What I think, What I wonder, What I know, What I feel.”  I found this idea in Amy Ludwig VanDerwater’s book, Poems are Teachers. 

I was attracted to a photo of a lioness in water carrying a cub in her mouth.  Your Shot photographer Connie Bowen said, “We were in awe of her mothering and tolerance.”  I used this as a repeated line in my poem.

Chloe also chose this photo to write about, without knowing I had selected it, too.  Madison is a budding young artist.  She is taking art classes.  She wanted to raise some money to get a laptop so she can do more with her art.  I commissioned her to draw the photograph.


Maternal Instincts

We were in awe of her mothering,
how she gently yet firmly
held the cub in her jaws
hanging loosely, trusting.

We were in awe of her grace,
as she swept through the water
knowing her cubs would follow
in her wake, head up, alert to mother’s gait.

We were in awe of her tolerance,
lioness in African grass, patience
in her eyes, confidence in stride.
Mother nature teaches us tolerant, mothering grace.

–Margaret Simon, (c) 2018

A Likely Loving Lioness

by Chloe

A likely loving lioness
loves her cubs with a smile.
And when they’re sad
she makes them glad
by playing with them all day.

Here is a link to Chloe’s poem on Kidblog if you’d like to comment to her directly.

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