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Posts Tagged ‘This Photo Wants to be a Poem’

Do you love to travel? I do, but my travel this year has been vicariously through a Facebook group called “Women Who Keep Traveling.” This week, Jan posted a call for photos in different color schemes. “Show us something green from the travel pics on your phone. The more random the better.”

I enjoyed scrolling through the random photos. This one appealed to me for our week’s prompt. The photo comes from Crystal Bridges Museum in Bentonville, AR taken by Aimée Dominique.

Would you like to try a new form? My student Chloe invented a form she calls a Penta-poem with the syllable count of 5,4,3,2,1,2,3,4,5. She also thought about calling it an hourglass poem because the resulting poem looks like an hour glass.

Please share your poem drafts in the comments and write encouraging replies on other poems.

A maze of red hills
dancing landscape
ribbon stream
Seuss-like
dream
wonder
fantasy
hallway jungle
unique artistry

Margaret Simon, draft

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Old barn between Kalispell and White Fish, Montana by Jan Risher

How many of us have wanderlust? After pandemic shut downs have kept us homebound with theaters, museums, and art galleries closed, many of us have suffered from the strong desire to go somewhere else. My friend, journalist Jan Risher, hit the road a few weeks ago with her husband. Finding travel somewhat doable again, she posted picture after picture of our amazing country.

I was drawn in by her pictures of Montana. We were there only a few summers ago and enjoyed a train ride from Seattle to White Fish. To see more of Jan’s pictures, follow her on Instagram. To read her article about her trip, click The Advocate.

If the spirit moves, write a small poem in the comments. Please encourage other writers with kind comments. I’m sorry this post is late today. I discovered that I can access my blog on my school computer, but I can’t edit or publish the post.

Here where land
reaches up to sky
with a hand on the heart
of America…
We see
sacred space.

Margaret Simon, draft

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I’m in my second week of teaching, and it’s going pretty well, despite the weather which has been churned up by Tropical Storm Beta. Dreaming of travel, I took notice of Paula Bourque’s pictures from Maine. She’s taking day-adventures with her husband. This was her message on Sunday:

Mornings are filled with meaningful lessons. They show me that everything changes and moves on. If I can embrace that, I can be open to new wonders and stop wishing for what was, to always be. Life is change.
Sunday sermon over.

Paula Bourque, Facebook post

Paula is the author of Spark! Quick Writes to Kindle Hearts and Minds in Elementary Classrooms. We met at NCTE last year when I was the “chair” of her round table session. She presented ways to use images to prompt quick writes in the classroom. So here I am, full circle, using one of her photos as a prompt for a quick write.

Sunrise at Gardiner Landing by Paula Bourque

Leave a small poem in the comments or jot one in your journal. If you share, please respond to other writers with encouraging words.

I would like to be remembered*
as someone who softened things
like the still, blue surface
of a lake at dawn.

Margaret Simon, draft
  • words from a Ruth Bader Ginsburg quote, “I would like to be remembered as someone who used whatever talent she had to do her work to the very best of her ability.”

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These first days of school have been exhausting. Yet I am happy to be doing what I am meant to do. When I get home, I mindlessly scroll through my Facebook feed. I love posts that relax my brain, beautiful landscapes, quotes, flowers…

This one caught my eye. I haven’t seen these colors yet. Dianne Dempsey-Legnon posted this wistful message, “It’s almost here. Looking forward to the crunch of leaves under my feet, the crackle of a fireplace, and cinnamon in my hot tea.” Ah, yes! With all the back to school prep, I forgot that the season is changing. Fall will come.

Photo taken on Pig Trail outside of Hot Springs, Arkansas by Dianne Dempsey-Legnon, 2019

In the comments, post a small poem inspired by the photo. Please comment on other writers with encouraging words.

Fall in the air
makes me sneeze.
Mumbled through a cloth mask,
you say, Bless you
and mean it.

Margaret Simon, draft

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This week I feature another amazing photo by Molly Hogan. I know we’ve written about webs before, but this one caught my eye for its uniqueness. Find a detail to focus and meditate on, the punctum (See the quote below). Write a poem about this detail. Could our individual poems be put together to create the complete photograph?

In Roland Barthes’s 1981 book Camera Lucida, he introduces the concept of a photograph’s punctum, which can be defined as the sensory, intensely subjective effect of a photograph on the viewer, or as he puts it: “that accident which pricks me (but also bruises me, is poignant to me).” Barthes contrasts the punctum with the studium, which is the more general approach to a photograph informed by historical and cultural experiences. Choose a personal photograph and meditate on the specific conditions, feelings, and circumstances behind it. What do you feel and know from looking at it? Then, identify the precise detail in the photograph you are drawn to—what is it exactly? Using your senses, write a poem that centers and delves into the punctum, the precise detail. What does a detail reveal about the whole?

From The Time is Now Weekly Writing Prompt from Poets&Writers
Twin Webs by Molly Hogan

Molly posted the photo on Twitter, and Linda Mitchell responded with a small poem that can start us off.

I chose to focus on the fulcrum that binds the web to the marsh grass.

Silk arrow,
a fulcrum balance
for delicate lace.

Margaret Simon, draft

Due to the aftermath (no power or internet) of Hurricane Laura, I am posting this for Poetry Friday. We fared well through the storm and have recovered for the most part. Please keep our friends in Lake Charles, LA in your prayers.

Poetry Friday round-up is with Heidi at my juicy little universe.

Please leave a small poem in the comments and respond to other poets.

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Welcome to This Photo Wants to be a Poem, a weekly poetry prompt modeled after Laura Purdie Salas’s 15 Words or Less. We invite you to write a small poem in the comments and write encouraging comments to other writers. No judgements here. Just playing with words.

Today’s photo comes from poet Donna Smith. She lives in Maine and recently biked near the Kennebec River. Maine is a place I’ve never been, but I imagine summer is for outdoors. Not like in Louisiana where you can only tolerate short bursts outside. Donna has returned to Maine after spending some time in Pennsylvania. She is happy to be back. On Facebook she draws a squiggle and writes a poem each day. Here’s a recent one:

The Stairs

The stairs go up
The stairs go down
They also turn and
Turn around
They go from here
And end up there
Just when you think
You know just where
The stairs will lead
You to a place
You’ve never set
your foot or face
But don’t despair
Don’t cry or mope
The stairs mean that
There’s always hope
Hope for a place
Of peace and love
Of open doors
And blue above
I know it’s there
And you can, too
Step up, step down
Keep stepping true.
Then all at once
You will arrive
The steps lead you
To full alive.

By Donna JT Smith, 8/18/2020

“Me and my bike relaxing by the Kennebec on a beautiful summer evening.” by Donna Smith

By the river
a blue bike
waits
for a friend.

Margaret Simon, draft

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Welcome to This Photo Wants to be a Poem, a weekly poetry prompt modeled after Laura Purdie Salas’s 15 Words or Less. We invite you to write a small poem in the comments and write encouraging comments to other writers. No judgements here. Just playing with words.

Today’s photo comes from teacher/poet/photographer Molly Hogan. She lives in Maine and recently photographed the marsh. This photo with its sepia tones attracted me. The soothing sway of nature keeps me sane these days, and I am grateful for Molly and others who post such wonderful natural landscapes.

Marsh by Molly Hogan

In this yellow light,
an elegant ballet
of marsh grasses
shine.

Margaret Simon, draft

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Welcome to my weekly photo writing prompt. Take a peaceful moment to lose yourself in words. Write a poem of 16 words or so and place it in the comments. Write encouraging words to others by commenting on their poems. This week we are writing with the hashtag poeticdiversion that Molly Hogan started on Twitter.

This week’s image comes from my friend and neighbor James Edmunds. James does a lot of creative work including photography. I once took a class from him about iPhone photography and learned some cool tricks. I don’t know if he took this picture with his phone, but I doubt it. James, if you stop by, let us know.

Way down south here we’ve been getting a great deal of rain lately. The resurrection fern loves rain, and it pops up in beautiful green carpets on our trees. In nature, there are small miracles like this every day.

Resurrection Fern by James Edmunds, all rights reserved

Inside the depths
of fronds and rhizomes
fairies twinkle
&
dance.

Margaret Simon, draft

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This week’s photo comes from an art teacher whose specialty is photography. Jennifer Graycheck (click to read an article I wrote about her family for our local newspaper) is a young mother of two adorable children. Her talents at capturing and sharing her experiences add light and love to my social media feed. Recently her family took a beach trip. That’s an ironic statement when you live in South Louisiana. Our coastline is marshy with spider-leg inlets cut to allow for boats carrying fish and oil. Not many beaches to speak of.

Jennifer’s family took a Sunday day-trip to “The Point.” Cypremort Point is a local state park where many families have camps. The man-made beach is a far cry from white sands of Alabama and Florida. But Jennifer and her family did not let that stop them from having a safe and fun day together.

Lorelei’s mud bath by Jennifer Graycheck, all rights reserved

This photo of Jennifer’s daughter, Lorelei, may take you somewhere else, and that’s the point. Be creative. Imagine you are the child. What is she dreaming? Write a poem of 16 words or so. Be sure to comment on other writers with encouraging support.

Cajun Queen
senses sun in her soul
becomes one with the mud
whispers Follow me forever.

Margaret Simon, draft

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I miss traveling. I usually have a trip or two planned for the summer. A few summers ago my husband and I took a trip to the Pacific Northwest. The beaches there are very different from Gulf Coast beaches. For one thing, the temperatures are colder. With our heat rising to 95 or more degrees these days, I wish for the cool breeze of a Northwest beach.

My friend, JoAnne Duncan lives in Washington state within driving distance of beautiful mountains and beaches. She’s traveling near Seattle this week. She’s been posting some gorgeous photos of her trip on Facebook. This one just begged to be a poem.

Feather at Sea by JoAnne Duncan.

I am a feather
tethered
to blue stones
tossed from sea.
Notice me
before I fly.

Margaret Simon, draft

Take a minute to look outside at this image, look inside to your heart, and put down a few words, 16 or so, in the comments as a small poem. Please encourage other writers with your comments. Poetry is balm.

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