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Posts Tagged ‘The Time is Now’

Poetry Friday round-up is with Irene at Live Your Poem.

I am judging the first round of Cybils Poetry this fall. If you have a favorite poetry book or verse novel that was published between October 16, 2020 and October 15, 2021, consider nominating it here.

In her poem “Taking Out the Trash,” the late poet Kamilah Aisha Moon, who died at the age of forty-eight last week, takes a seemingly mundane task and makes the activity profound. Write a poem about a daily chore or everyday task that brings attention to your body. Try, as Moon does in her poem, to take time describing the movements of your body.

Poets and Writers, The Time is Now

I often write poems on my daily walks. Maybe I’m building a collection of these? Today’s poem is in conversation with Kamilah Aisha’s poem Taking out the Trash. It is definitely in drafty draft stage.

Viking Funeral
after Kamilah Aisha Moon

On trash Monday
when the men of the house rush out
to fill the can with white bags bulging 
with detritus of our lives,
I turn my pace against the wind,
watch toilet paper streamers (is it homecoming?) 
grow into ghostlings dancing beneath old oaks.
They mound like fairy mushrooms in a circle around bulging roots.
I gather my dog’s waste into a green bag,
flip it around my hand like a glove. The neighbor
stops her barely awake car, rolls down the window to say thank you
for being a responsible pet owner.
I guess not everyone does this. Some leave their trash
where it lands to rot and rest until the soaking rain washes
it out to sea. Place me
in a canoe for a Viking’s burial
, my husband says.
There will come a time to say goodbye, to lay our bodies
down to fire, but let me be
breathing today, again and again,
not ready to release air into fire.

Margaret Simon, draft
Sign of the times, Trash on my walk photo by Margaret Simon

Ever since I read Naomi Shihab Nye’s collection Cast Away with poems about trash, I pay more careful attention on my walks. I pick up things I can carry and create my own poems about trash.

Irene has the round-up today. She has an amazing collection of poems about art called Artspeak. I asked my second grader to choose a poem to read today and copy. She chose Why Roses. We copied the form on the board like this:

Why ____________

because…

because…

because…

because…

I am __________________

Here is Avalyn’s debut poem on my blog about the Van Gogh painting Starry Starry Night.

Why Starry Night!
after Irene Latham

because our solar system has stars
because the stars are in the Milky Way
because the moon looks like a face
because stars make constellations
I am the galaxy.

by Avalyn, second grade

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Poetry Friday round-up is with Ruth in Haiti.

Happy New Year! If you are looking for a way to feed your writing life, subscribe to Poets & Writers’ The Time is Now. I do not do their prompt every week, but this week when I was feeling out of touch with writing, I opened it to find a prompt that worked well for me.

“Mars Being Red” by the late poet Marvin Bell lyrically explores the color red as a state of being, likening it to a list of images that both physically resemble the color and provide memories, such as that of youth. In this compact, twelve-line poem, Bell begins what seems to be a portrait of the planet Mars and then delves into a series of digressions that find resolve in a meditation on the possibility of change: “You will not be this quick-to-redden / forever. You will be green again, again and again.” Inspired by Bell, write a poem that serves as a portrait of a color. Use physical descriptions to begin and then personal memories to develop a transformation in this study of hue.
From The Time is Now

Bayou Being Green

Being green is the color of an amaryllis
bud before blooming. Color of time lost
in growth, of soul lost inside
meditation. Green of grassy meadows
we walked with the dog, while our steps
made time disappear for a moment.
Contemplation becomes green in your eyes,
emerald of stars, early light reflects
sage from the bayou surface where green
water darkens as we stroll west toward
sunset, away from dawn into an age
of white on white on white. 

Margaret Simon, draft after Marvin Bell “Mars Being Red”
Bayou Teche in November, Margaret Simon

If you are looking for a weekly photo writing prompt, subscribe to my blog, I am posting a photo each week on Thursdays and invite you to write a small poem response. This Photo Wants to be a Poem.

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This week’s round up is hosted by Rebecca at Sloth Reads.

Each week I receive an email with writing prompts from Poets & Writers The Time is Now. A few weeks ago this was the prompt for poetry.

Several years ago, New York Public Library staff discovered a box filled with file cards of written questions submitted to librarians from the 1940s to 1980s, many of which have been collected in the book Peculiar Questions and Practical Answers: A Little Book of Whimsy and Wisdom From the Files of the New York Public Library (St. Martin’s Griffin, 2019). Questions include: “What does it mean when you’re being chased by an elephant?” and “Can you give me the name of a book that dramatizes bedbugs?” and “What time does a bluebird sing?” Write a poem inspired by one of these curiously strange questions. Does your poem provide a practical answer, or avoid one altogether leading instead to more imaginative questions?

The Time is Now, Oct. 29, 2019

I used the question “What time does a bluebird sing?” to inspire a poem.

Photo by Henry Cancienne

What Time Does a Bluebird Sing?

Morning is filled with birdsong.
If it’s not yet sunrise, I hear the owl whoot.
If the sun’s up and there’s an electric pole nearby, 
it’s the woodpecker—drumming, not singing,
but musical all the same. 

Echoing through the breeze
sings Papa cardinal
and soon the mockingbird joins in
with a trill up the scales.

Where is the bluebird? 
Hiding in a grove of trees near the swamp,
shyly tweeting,
a flash of blue
the color of sky,
song of morning.

Margaret Simon, draft 2019

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Tabatha at The Opposite of Indifference is hosting today.

Tabatha at The Opposite of Indifference is hosting today.

I subscribe to Poets and Writers The Time is Now writing prompts. This week the poetry prompt intrigued me.

“Choose any word from the dictionary and read its definitions. Write a poem using only the language of these definitions. Try repeating them in different combinations and using line break to create unexpected phrases. Experiment with how far you can push the limits of the language you’re working with. Use the word you’ve chosen as the title of the poem.”

fair

I tried the exercise myself with varied results. I tried it with my elementary gifted students. At first I was worried. It took a while for them to even choose a word. My favorite came from a third grader. I’m not sure how much of the original definition became a part of her poem, but I loved her play with language.

Fair

People say you’re the fairest of them all.
Of course they say that in fairy tales,
you know,
when a fairy comes to help the fair lady.
She’s not that fair.
She is wicked. She is cruel.
The real fairest of them all
comes to help, to defeat
that so-called fair queen.
That’s why they say
you’re only fair
in fairy tales.

–Vannisa

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