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Summer Poem Swap 2015 smaller copy

Poetry Friday round up is here!

Poetry Friday round up is here!

One of the joys of summer is the Summer Poem Swap, the brainchild of Tabatha Yeatts at The Opposite of Indifference. I sent a summer sonnet to Tabatha and she is featuring it on her site today. Thanks, Tabatha, for encouraging the sharing of poetry, making connections among us, and for keeping us writing.

Last week, I received a beautiful collage from Irene Latham. There are so many things I love about her poems. She chose two of my favorite subjects, herons and the bayou. She used a picture of a canoe. My husband and I have a canoe and don’t use it as much as we should, but when we do, it’s magical. Irene has obviously read my middle grade novel, Blessen, because there’s Blessen smiling next to the bayou. Thanks, Irene, for such a personal and special gift.

Two Poems by Irene

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Poetry Friday is here today!  Post links in the comments!

Poetry Friday is here today! Post links in the comments!

This summer I have been participating in Tabatha Yeats’ Poem Swap. In writing a poem a week, I have been discovering threads in my writing. I love nature, not to be confused with a love of gardening. But I often look to nature for my poetry wisdom. I recently sent a group of poems to a contest. I titled the group “Among the Oaks.” When I walk in my neighborhood, I look to nature for inspiration, everything from the water of the bayou to the birds in the trees, and, of course, the trees themselves. When Tabatha sent me my 4th name, I was thinking, “OK, this time I will write something for that person.” But the poem turned out to be another nature poem. I give up. This is where my pen wants to move, so I will follow it.

A poet friend once told me, “Write a poem every week and by the end of the year, you have 52 poems. A whole manuscript!” I have not put together a whole manuscript of poems. I’m frankly scared to think about it. Perhaps I can follow this nature thread to a whole book? Then I fear the inspiration will end. Hah, you thought you knew what you were doing. Nope, not yet.

I have gotten so much inspiration and encouragement from this Poetry Friday community. We seem to have unwritten rules of respect and appreciation. Since many of you will stop in today to link up, I just wanted to thank you. Thanks for reading, commenting, encouraging, and being a lover of poetry.

Neighborhood Oaks photo collage by Margaret Simon

Neighborhood Oaks photo collage by Margaret Simon

I took these pictures in my neighborhood. It had rained the night before, so the resurrection fern was full and green. The moss was particularly shiny and wiggling in the wind. The title came first, which is seldom the case. It came from a statement my father made about a heron on his dock, “She is queen of all she surveys.” I loved the line and thought how it would apply to the live oak. The poem did not come as easily, and I am still not completely satisfied. It started off much more prose-like. I cut words, moved stanzas around. All this work ended up taking me to the same place a few other poems have this summer, to the idea of the mother, the mother in nature that loves us unconditionally and protects us always.

(I want to thank Tabatha for her suggestion for this poem’s ending. I have made these changes. See what I mean about a supportive and helpful community?)

What threads do you see in your poetry? How do you follow or resist these threads?

She is Queen of all She Surveys

Mother oak stands
for generations,
her long arms
clothed in fern,
open and green.

Here the mockingbird
defends her nest, squawking
at the passing squirrel.
Hanging moss wiggles grey fingers,
tickling the wind.

I want to live here
in her branches
among the birds
nestled in fern,
swaying, free,
still holding on to my mother
with tight fists.

–Margaret Simon, all rights reserved

Father Goose is here with light verse poems from the new online Light Quarterly today from his perch in the treehouse at the FATHER GOOSE Blog

Matt has a poem about George.

Myra at Gathering Books continues with her Loss, Heartbreak, and Coming of Age bimonthly theme with Frida Kahlo’s letter to Marty McConnell.

Mary Lee Hahn has a poem about habits at A Year of Reading.

At Random Noodling, Diane Mayr has an illustrated poem that she wrote to send to a Summer Poem Swap partner. Kurious Kitty is looking at snakes today with a poem by Margaret Atwood. KK’s Kwotes has a quote by Frances Clarke Sayers.

Laura Shovan has a tree poem today, too. Hers is told from the point of view of a fifth grader with learning differences. Author Amok

Tara was inspired by an exhibition of Georgia O’Keefe’s leaves at A Teaching Life.

Tabatha Yeats at The Opposite of Indifference is writing about sirens and their irresistible songs.

Liz Steinglass is writing about nature, too, observing herself observing the natural world.

Carol at Carol’s Corner is sharing Bob Raczka’s seasons series and even giving away a book!

Robin Hood Black has an August poem by Albert Garcia.

Today at The Poem Farm, Amy has a small how-to poem and a visit from Margy Grosswendt. She tells about her recent travels to Bosnia where she volunteered in an orphanage and shared creative movement exercises with the children there.

Mandy joins in at Enjoy and Embrace Learning with a Hello original poem.

Steven Withrow has an original poem at Crackles of Speech, Chain Rhyme for Goldilocks.

Violet Nesdoly has a review of a friend’s chapbook, Humble Fare.

Anastasia posted a small poem about a large number of steps.

MM Socks has royalty on the mind with an original poem “Playing King.”

A short poem by Richard Brautigan entitled April 7, 1969 is on the menu at the Florian Cafe.

Semicolon Sherry has some thoughts on the Korean poems called Sijo, and on Linda Sue Park’s book called Tap Dancing on the Roof.

Heidi at My Juicy Little Universe has a reentry poem about the joy of 5-year-olds and a little dip-your-toes-in original.

Keri at Keri Recommends is sharing a poem gift from noodle-icious Diane Mayr for the Summer Poem Swap.

Joy Acey is waving to us from the top of a wavy poem at Poetry for Kids Joy.

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2013 poetry swap with stamp included

Last week Tabatha sent me the name of my 3rd Poem Swap for this summer. I was so excited to see Linda Baie‘s name. Linda is a presence in the kidlitosphere. She won the prize (a copy of my book Blessen) for the biggest commenter on my blog during the March Slice of Life Challenge with the Two Writing Teachers. I have embraced Linda as a cyber-friend with hopes to one day meet her in person. She is so kind and supportive, I wanted to do something special for her.

My father had given me back issues of art magazines to use in my classroom, so I pulled one out for inspiration. I found a poem in the words of the magazine. Then I decided to make a collage of pictures. That didn’t work out so well. While my result was something and may have been creative, it didn’t please me. It wasn’t good enough for Linda, so I made another one. This one pleased me. The found poem came from The International Artist. The images came from American Artist.

play in art collage and poem

Introduce Play into your Art
a found poem from the International Artist
Imagine the surface
alive with light
not pure white—a combination
of source and object.

Look out the window.
See a passenger train
in late afternoon,
a spider web
on a dewy morning,
the cornfield
below the horizon,
tree branches
on a rainy night.

If you follow the light,
you will find the sun.
Light is like salt—
a little is all you need.

–Margaret Simon

Poetry Friday is hosted today by Michelle at Today's Little Ditty.

Poetry Friday is hosted today by Michelle at Today’s Little Ditty.

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Ocean Call

I am participating in the 2013 summer Poem Swap that Tabatha Yeatts is organizing. What fun it is to receive a poem in the real snail mail! This week Tabatha sent out a picture prompt suggesting an ekphrastic poem. Some poet will receive this poem this week.

The photo that prompted this poem is Noise of the Waves by Phillip Schumacher.

Ocean Call

If you feel small,
sit on the grass-lined dune
near the sea,

cross your legs,
cup your ear,
listen.

The wind will call to you
on wisps of white clouds,
over the roar of waves

drowning
your simple thoughts,
inviting you to be one
with the sculptor of things.

–Margaret Simon

For more Poetry Friday, go to Amy’s site Poem Farm.

Poetry Friday is hosted today by Amy at Poem Farm

Poetry Friday is hosted today by Amy at Poem Farm

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