Origami Poetry

Join the Poetry Friday round-up is hosted today by Robyn Hood Black at Life on the Deckle Edge.

Join the Poetry Friday round-up is hosted today by Robyn Hood Black at Life on the Deckle Edge.

My celebration of National Poetry Month with my students has been interrupted many times by testing, field trips, and now spring break, but this week I had a few days to work with my youngest students, grades 1-3, on origami and poetry.

In a teacher workshop last week, I learned how to make an origami fox. I brought the activity to my little ones and we wrote Fib poems about foxes. A Fib poem follows a syllable count that corresponds to the first 6 numbers of the Fibonacci series, 1,1,2,3,5,8.

Here is Erin’s. She put her origami fox in a snow scene and made the poem appear in a flip-open book.

Origami fox in snow

Origami fox in snow

Fib poem by Erin.

Fib poem by Erin.

On Thursday, we made origami envelopes, read I Haiku You, and wrote love haiku. Some favorite teachers are going to be very happy.

Best teacher ever
makes origami poems
shine in the classroom.

origami envelope

Progressive Poem

The 2014 Progressive Poem is the creation of poet Irene Latham.

The 2014 Progressive Poem is the creation of poet Irene Latham.

I have been anxiously awaiting this day when the Progressive poem would head my way. As I watched the poem progress, I worried about the meter and rhyme. This poem had form and sometimes form can be intimidating. But this group of poets are anything but intimidating. I started participating in the kidlit Poetry Friday group over a year ago and have felt warmth, welcome, and encouragement. Pardon me while I get preachy. A collaborative project is not about you, the individual. It is about the product of the whole. It’s about being present and showing up when it’s your turn. Like being one voice in a chorus, you must blend in and fade out. I took this call seriously, so my line is not a punchline. It is not a Wow line. But I feel it belongs in this poem with this group of words. Carry on, Irene. I pass the baton on to the master, the creator, our leader, and our friend, Irene Latham at Live your Poem.

Sitting on a rock, airing out my feelings to the universe
Acting like a peacock, only making matters that much worse;

Should I trumpet like an elephant emoting to the moon,
Or just ignore the warnings written in the rune?

Those stars can’t seal my future; it’s not inscribed in stone.
The possibilities are endless! Who could have known?

Gathering courage, spiral like an eagle after prey
Then gird my wings for whirlwind gales in realms far, far away.

But, hold it! Let’s get practical! What’s needed before I go?
Time to be tactical— I’ll ask my friends what I should stow.

And in one breath, a honeyed word whispered low— dreams —
Whose voice? I turned to see. I was shocked. Irene’s

“Each voyage starts with tattered maps; your dreams dance on this page.
Determine these dreams—then breathe them! Engage your inner sage.”

The merry hen said, “Take my sapphire eggs to charm your host.”
I tuck them close – still warm – then take my first step toward the coast.

This journey will not make me rich, and yet I long to be

Backyard Amaryllis

Backyard Amaryllis by Sarah Hazel

Backyard Amaryllis by Sarah Hazel

My friend, Sarah Hazel, is an artist. She created this beautiful painting yesterday and posted it on her blog (I love her blog title!) Finding my Glasses.

Thinking about the letter K put me on a quest for a kyrielle. The kyrielle didn’t come to me, but a katauta did. Now I’m not really sure how a katauta is different from a haiku. It is a Japanese form with 5,7,5 or 5,7,7 syllable count. The word katauta means half poem. So I’m thinking if a kyrielle is not singing to me today, then maybe I’ll write a half poem.

Joy surprises me.
The morning amaryllis–
a prayer flag waving…
–Margaret Simon, all rights reserved

Click on the link to see the poem in Haiku Deck.

Created with Haiku Deck, the free presentation app

A Room for Writing

  Join the Two Writing Teachers Slice of Life Challenge.

Join the Two Writing Teachers Slice of Life Challenge.

I’m taking a break from the ABC’s of poetry to take you to a room. On Saturday at the Acadiana Center for the Arts, Valentine Pierce, a performance poet from New Orleans, presented a workshop for Acadiana Wordlab. She is a force in a room. She performed a few of her poems and had me rapping out the beats of my words as I tapped the pen to the page. For one of her prompts, she asked us to write about the room we were in. When I first walked into the room, Clare and three other women were wearing red. I commented, “I didn’t get the memo to wear red.” And then Clare introduced Valentine. So thus began my poem about the room.

A glance around the corner at the boardroom.  ChipperHatter Architects

A glance around the corner at the boardroom. ChipperHatter Architects

This Room is for Writing

I did not wear red today
to honor sweet Valentine.
I am wearing green
like the peridot of my birthstone.

I didn’t expect to give birth today
here in this blood-red chair
that pushes back on my shoulder slump.
Sit up, girl, and write a poem!

Shout it out like the rockets
speeding off the racetrack of the wall.
Lay your life down on the black boardroom table.
Place your heart on the frosted glass.

No one will mind if you cry a little.
They are crying, too,
for their children, their crazy aunts,
and for that empty beige wall

waiting for someone’s art
splattered in paint,
dripping down to the carpet
under our rock hard feet.

We stand sure;
All of us together
know that I will not be shamed
for not wearing red.

–Margaret Simon, all rights reserved

Please check the progress of the Progressive Poem in the right bar. I am coming up in 2 days!

The Writing Process Blog Tour continues with Clare Martin at Orphans of Dark and Rain.

Palm Crosses

Please use this button on your site for DigiLit Sunday posts

Please use this button on your site for DigiLit Sunday posts

Church of the Epiphany is surrounded by waving palms.

Church of the Epiphany is surrounded by waving palms.

There is a long history at my church, the Episcopal Church of the Epiphany, of palm cross making. Probably for close to 100 years, we have used palms from nearby Avery Island, home of Tabasco sauce. From the new fronds, we create strips and fold them into crosses. Everyone pins a cross on at the Palm Sunday service. When Katie was four years old, I taught her how to make the crosses. She is now 13. Yesterday, we made a YouTube video of the process. This was testing week, so I did not see my students. For DigiLit Sunday, Katie will be my stand-in.

The day school for Epiphany had a beautiful gala event last night at Avery Island. I took some pictures on the way of the palms growing there.

Palms growing on Avery Island.

Palms growing on Avery Island.

oak and palms

Place your DigiLit Sunday post in Mr. Linky. Thanks to everyone for participating. I will take off next week for Easter Sunday. Check back on Sunday, May 4th.

Celebration Jabber

Discover. Play. Build.

Public domain image

Public domain image

I am celebrating another week of poetry. This was testing week. I had the time (while monitoring a small group of 5th graders) to read and to write. I spent some time with my new favorite poetry book, Gold by Barbara Crooker. A poet-blogger friend recommended it. I love Barbara’s style. I sat with the poem At VCCA, I Hear a Red-Bellied Woodpecker, and Think of Martha Silano. I used the line This morning deliquesces. I had a dictionary nearby, so I looked up deliquesces. Then jumped over to the J’s. I found some great J words: jazz, jay, jettison, joyful.

I love playing with words. Thanks for being a part of my month of ABC’s in poetry.

I wish Storybuilder would appear in WordPress, but you have to click the link to see it.



The blue jay jazzes up to the birdbath
looks left, then right
bobs his head up and down
jettisons oak leaves and pollen curly Qs
lifts his nutcracker beak
to let the water flow down his throat.

I watch from the porthole of my kitchen,
think I should clean it today. This king
of jays shouldn’t have to drink dirty water.
This morning deliquesces, softens edges
of the dark night. I want to join
Mr. Jay making his daily rounds,
here and there, collecting
for his new nest. I would gather
blossoms from the fruit tree,
place their fragrance in your path
to let joyful praise of simple beauty
give your heart wings.

–Margaret Simon, all rights reserved

For this poem, I just wrote. I didn’t change much from the written draft to the typed one. This rarely happens to me. I did play around with the line breaks. I enjoy reading about other poet’s processes. Amy Ludwig VanDerwater shares her process on her site The Poem Farm. At the Two Writing Teachers, Betsy Hubbard shares a process she learned from Georgia Heard. I celebrate being a part of a community that learns together.

Why Poetry?

Poetry Friday Round-up is at  Today's Little Ditty.

Poetry Friday Round-up is at Today’s Little Ditty.


For National Poetry Month, Chris Lehman has invited teacher/poets to join together to read, listen, and discuss poetry. Chris posed this question to the group, “Why Poetry?” Inspired by Kevin Hodgson, I tried out Tapestry for my response. Click on the link to view my response.


Earlier in the week, I posted about my writing life responding to fellow blogger/writer Sandra Sarr’s questions. I am From poems have been around for a while and are written in many middle grade classrooms. But I wanted to take a different spin on the I am From and write about where my writing life comes from.

I am from a short story contest in tenth grade.
I won for my row.

I am from Dear Diary, “I want to be a writer
if only someone would give me the confidence.”

I am from “Where is Papa going with that ax?”
to “Blue is cackling something awful this morning.”
from Children’s Literature class to
the National Writing Project Teacher Institute.

I am from retreats, marathons, and critique groups
holding me accountable to find an authentic voice
and make writing a daily practice.

I am from pen to paper,
fingers to keyboard,
opening my veins and bleeding
my words,
trusting them to
the world.

–Margaret Simon, all rights reserved


Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 145 other followers