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Posts Tagged ‘#poemsofpresence’

I’ve noticed recently on my morning walks that the crepe myrtle trees are doing something weird, shedding their bark. Surely this is something they do yearly, but I’ve never noticed it. Of course, I googled it.

As all Crepe Myrtles grow and mature, they shed last year’s bark, revealing a colorful, mottled bark beneath. Once the tree has reached full maturity, several years after planting… you are in for a real show. Sit back and enjoy the unique texture and coloration that shows up on their wood once the bark is shed. Because the Crepe Myrtle is a deciduous tree, it sheds all its leaves during the winter, leaving behind the beautiful bark on the tree which makes it a centerpiece in many winter landscapes.

McDonald Garden Center Blog

I took a few pictures with my phone, but I wasn’t satisfied with the artistry of the photos. So I text my friend, teacher-photographer Lory Landry.

“Do you have any good pictures of the peeling bark of crepe myrtles? I love how you see things and photograph them with an artistic eye.”

“I don’t think so. If I knew where some were off hand, I could take some.”

Not a full hour later, she texted me 8 close ups. I had a hard time choosing. This was our next exchange.

Crepe Myrtle Bark by Lory Landry.
On Instagram @leauxlandry

When Sun warms Earth,
Myrtle knows to shed her skin
and show her inside beauty.

Margaret Simon, draft

Leave a small poem in the comments. Be kind in your response to others. Share your inside beauty.

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Joining a community of writers responding to
open invitation no. 59 at
Sharing Our Stories Magic.

You know how sometimes without any prompting from you a “memory” pops up on your phone, a photo that you’d totally forgotten about and most often, enjoy seeing again. Jogging a memory of another time and place. But I’ve noticed when it comes to flowers, the memories are a repeated vision of the flower I took a picture of yesterday. That happened to me twice this week. Blooming seems so miraculous and random and something we have little control over. It just happens. There is consistency in the blooming of a flower. They come back around again.

This week I took a picture of this amazing gladiola. I shared a small poem in response on my Instagram.

This May morning
shows its gladiola heart
sipping summer sun.
Margaret Simon, #haiku #poemsofpresence

I found a similar photo in my phone album from a year ago. Last year during lock down when I was walking every day.

On Monday, I heard a call for poems from Kwame Alexander on NPR. He creates crowdsourced poems based on small poems people send in. This week’s prompt was from Maya Angelou’s poem “Still I Rise.” I wrote and sent in this small poem.

Still, I rise
with the sun
following a path
through watermint
where the scent 
fills me.

Still, I rise
to feel her gentle kicks
inside a waterwomb
knowing love grows
from my seed.

Still, I rise
to watch ducklings
drop to waterglory
following Mama hen
through fervent streams.  

Margaret Simon, all rights reserved

So I rise each day for a walk. I take photographs of flowers again and again. I will keep taking photos of flowers. Why not? They make me happy!

This Canna Lily came back after the big freeze. I take a picture of it every year.
Gardenia is my favorite scent. I’ve been unsuccessful at the growing of a gardenia bush.
For now, I enjoy cut ones in a vase in the church hall.

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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.
Black-bellied whistling duck on top of the wood duck nest box.

Through the magic of a Ring doorbell camera, we are watching the wood duck nestbox in our backyard on the bayou. During the months of March and April, we had a reliable wood duck hen sitting on a clutch of 14 eggs. On April 15th, 13 ducklings, barely 24 hours old, jumped out of the nestbox into the bayou. And off they went.

We’ve had a wet spring, so the bayou has been high. My husband pulled a canoe up to the nestbox, tied it there, and climbed a stepladder to clean out the nestbox. The next day we had shoppers, new wood duck couples swimming by, poking around.

We thought we had a new hen sitting. Day by day a hen would fly into the house and lay an egg. She seemed to start the incubation a week ago; however, her sitting was erratic. There one day, gone the next.

A few days ago, I noticed a larger, louder duck inside the wood duck house. Invaders! Squatters! Thieves! The ducks were what we call Mexican Squealers or Black-bellied whistling ducks. This duck is larger, with a bright orange bill, long legs, and a loud squeal. Two of them. How did they get in? Why? Did they lay an egg? It was actually hilarious to watch these ducks try to get back out of the house. Lots of noisy squealing and legs scrambling.

Since this incident, the hen has come back and settled in. She doesn’t leave as often and for as long. Maybe we can start counting days. We’ll see. Nature is not predictable. Even an innocent nestbox is not always peaceful.

You can follow me on Twitter and Instagram (@margaretgsimon) for updates on the wood duck house. On Twitter during May I am posting #poemsofpresence. Here’s the poem-of-the-day for Monday.

Rainy grey Monday,
Watching new wood duck tenant
nestle for sitting.

Margaret Simon, #poemsofpresence

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This photo was not taken today. Today I am waking up to more rain after all night thunderstorms. But last week one morning was glorious. The sunrise lit up the cypress and oaks and sent a line of light down the bayou. I try again and again to capture this morning light in a photograph or a poem. Anything I try is an imperfect approximation.

Morning sunrise on the bayou, Margaret Simon

How many ways
does the sun rise?

How many days
are you alive
to bathe your face

in light?

Margaret Simon, quick draft

Consider writing with me today. Leave a small poem in the comments and post encouraging words for other writers. Join me on Twitter with #poemsofpresence.

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Leo, my 2 year old grandson, likes to scroll through my photo library. Mostly he wants to watch videos. Janet Fagel, a fellow poet grandmother, posted a picture on Facebook that I downloaded to use today. When Leo scrolled by this photo, he wanted to “play” it. I had to explain that it wasn’t a video. Beyond the idea that we are raising a new generation, a group of littles who know how to tap a screen and make it do things, I was fascinated by his fascination with this image. What did his little eyes see?

Later as we were walking in the garden, he tried to put a flower behind his ear. I placed it there for him and set the phone to selfie so he could see what he looked like. Phone as mirror.

Dandelion bow, photo by Janet Fagel

When I wear my unicorn dress,
and a dandelion for a hairbow,
I can be whatever I want to be.

Margaret Simon, with a nod to Cinderella, my favorite childhood movie

Please leave a small poem in the comments. Consider joining #PoemsofPresence on Twitter for the month of May. Encourage other poets with your comments here and there.

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I love to place flowers in a vase on my kitchen table. Last Sunday the rain finally stopped and the sun came out revealing new colors. Flowers were so happy about the rain. They were blooming like crazy. So I cut some and put them in a simple vase, a knock-out rose, yellow gerbera daisies, and blue flag iris. There they sat when I found an email with a link to a YouTube video on contour drawing. I drew this still life and I wasn’t disappointed in the results. I usually hate my drawing and often give up on any exercise that involves drawing skills. But to live creatively, you can’t give up. You shouldn’t deny the things you love. And you should always, always place flowers in a vase on your kitchen table.

Still life with flowers, photo by Margaret Simon enhanced by Waterlogue app

Buds today
will be blossoms tomorrow
Don’t forget to water
the seeds you plant.
They are yours
for only a moment.

Margaret Simon, draft

Use these photos to prompt a small verse and leave it in the comments. Encourage other writers with comment replies. Thanks for being here today.

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Morning Web by Jen Gray

Summer is here with peaceful mornings before temperatures rise. This image popped up on my Instagram feed. My friend, Jen Gray, owns a farm in Breaux Bridge, LA where she rents two houses for artist retreats. Unfortunately, I haven’t made my usual retreat there this year. I miss this place.

Jen’s photographic eye fascinates me. This photo has so much to offer, a foggy sunrise and dewdrop spider web. What will you write about? Please leave a small poem in the comments and comment on other poems. Thanks for stopping by.

What remains from
a slow walk in the field?
Dewdrop tears
for a peaceful world.

Margaret Simon, flash draft

A note about process: While writing my flash draft, I typed in about 21 words. In cutting it to 15, I found what the poem really wanted to say. There’s something to be said for small poems.

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Poetry Friday round-up is with Mary Lee at A Year of Reading.

I was at a loss for what I should write about today. Early this morning I read Linda Mitchell’s post in which she revisits her one little word for 2020. Ah, there is an idea I can embrace. Embrace is my 2020 word.

What I can embrace and celebrate is this amazing month of poetry of presence prompted by my interview at Today’s Little Ditty (See the wrap-up today.) Poetry friends old and new embraced the idea of writing a poem of presence every day in May. The Twitterverse has been happily inspiring and connecting us in a special, ever-present way. (#poemsofpresence)

I can embrace my baby grandsons. My school year has finished up, and my daughter from New Orleans needed help with her baby while she works, now from my home. We occasionally get the cousins together. They are not old enough to really engage with each other, but we are trying to nurture their relationship.

What I cannot embrace is the news of the world. I will not embrace racism and am sickened by the ways that it continues to mar our world. That’s all I’m going to say…

Last week April Halprin Wayland posted a new form: In One Word. Click the link to read the directions and her mentor poems. Here’s a draft using Wordmaker words from Embrace. The words I used are be, embrace, arm, mere, bee, me.

Shelter at Home

This time came to be
eerily easy
to embrace
with one arm,
a mere test
of my resolve
to stay here-present.
Like a bee
intent on nectar,
I tend this place
for you & me.

Margaret Simon, draft
Photo by Katherine Simon Andry at Petite Anse Farm, New Iberia, LA.

One more thing to embrace: the ingenuity of young people who create beauty out of a a field of dirt.

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Photographs fascinate me. How a beam of light can change a perspective. How switching to black and white (which can now be done with a click of a button) can focus on a single aspect.

My friend and writing group partner, Molly Hogan, loves taking photos in the early morning. I love the morning, too, but in Maine, I imagine mornings are quite cold. Molly embraces the cold and manages to capture amazing detail in her photographs. She often posts photos on her blog and will write a poem to them. For a treat, click on over and scroll.

This week she posted this photo on Facebook. It’s dandelion season and for Molly, that means lots of photo study of the fascinating flower. In this photo, she took a close up of the dandelion with dew still present and shifted it to black and white. The effect is perfect for a poem or two.

Dandelion by Molly Hogan, used with permission.

We are all stardust
making our way
to sparkling.

Margaret Simon, draft

Leave your own small poem in the comments. Please respond to other writers. We are all in this together.

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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.

My feelings are all over the place. Starting the day later because I can sleep longer wakes me rested, ready. A walk outside on a perfect spring morning energizes. But then the weight of all that is different, all that is not happening, not normal comes with cleaning out a classroom or picking up items at the store or watching the news.

Poetry helps me cope. In my email inbox, on my Instagram feed, or on the bedside table, I can find a poem that soothes, comforts, or inspires me.

On Twitter this month, a group of us teacher-poets are writing #Poemsof Presence. These poems capture a single moment in time. They honor the present without regard or worry over the future or past. I can find connection and hope in this task. If you are a poem dabbler, join us.

This poem by ADA LIMÓN has come across my path a few times. Today from Gratefulness.org. I love how the title Instructions on Not Giving Up tells me what she wants me to learn from nature. And the poem fills me with a beautiful image.

More than the fuchsia funnels breaking out
of the crabapple tree, more than the neighbor’s
almost obscene display of cherry limbs shoving
their cotton candy-colored blossoms to the slate
sky of Spring rains, it’s the greening of the trees
that really gets to me. 

Ada Limon, read the rest of the poem here.

Milkweed seeds
Release on silken wings
Like the butterflies they nourish.

Margaret Simon, #poemsofpresence

A little lagniappe of beauty in this video of a monarch butterfly swarm.

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