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Archive for March, 2019

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March Super Moon
Photo by Margaret Simon

I am your silent super moon
I light the equinox sky
I touch the tips of trees
I hear nocturnal owls
I whisper secrets to your soul.

I am your silent super moon
I tell the myths of constellations
I cry tears for fading Earth
I pretend to keep my eyes on you.
I pull tides of ocean waves.

I am your silent super moon.
I wonder if I’m magical
I play hide-n-seek with stars
I carry your wishes in my moondust
Sprinkle heaven with hope.
I am your silent super moon.

(c) Margaret Simon

This poem came to me in stages beginning with my morning walk with the super moon earlier this week.  I was reminded of this form when Elisabeth Ellington used it to write a response poem to the first poem in my book Bayou Song, I am a Beckoning Brown Bayou. I’ve used the form with students and adults in writing workshops.  Here is a template for the form.  If you use it to create your own poem or have students respond, let me know.  I love to share how Bayou Song inspires on my book Facebook page. 

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Bach Google Doodle screen shot

Did you see the Google doodle on Thursday and Friday?  To celebrate Johann Sebastian Bach’s birthday, Google had an app for writing music.

I come from a musical background.  My mother has her masters in piano and taught lessons for many years.  My brother got the talent in his fingers and still makes a living as a professional musician.

Me? I gave up piano after high school, but I can still read music and sing in the church choir.  But I’ve never written music before. That is, until Thursday.

In my last group of students, Madison and I played around with the doodle and discovered we could save a link and return to the song we created.  Of course, we also had to write words to go with our songs, all of which proved to be harder than you would think.

I introduced this idea to my first group on Friday morning.  We had to borrow headphones from the computer lab because all that composing going on in one room was enough to drive you crazy.

I was fascinated by how challenging this was for my kids.  They spent at least an hour on it and would have gone longer, but it was a gorgeous spring day, so I shooed them out for recess.

Here is a link to a tune I created for the words “When I sing this lovely song, I feel a sense of pride.

My students posted theirs on our kidblog site here. 

Who would think that you could build a whole class activity around a Google Doodle? Technology never ceases to amaze me.

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Poetry Friday round-up is with Rebecca at Sloth Reads.

On Thursday morning, I got some shocking and scary news.  My good friend who is battling cancer was air lifted to a larger, more equipped hospital.  A message went out asking for prayers.

I recalled being air lifted almost 34 years ago when my then 4 month old daughter went into heart tachycardia.  The medics placed me on the gurney and then laid her on top of me.  As the helicopter beat through the air, my attention went to prayer.  As I prayed begged, I remember feeling a physical presence with me, an actual laying on of hands, and my daughter’s heartbeat slowed.  When we arrived at Oschner Hospital in New Orleans, the doctors there explained that her heart was responding to an infection in her body; it was not her heart.  She had pneumonia.  Now, she is the mother of a near 4 month old herself, so this memory is close.

Laura Purdie Salas posts an image and prompt ever Thursday for “15 words or less.”  Her image Thursday was a rescue helicopter from the Coast Guard Monument in DC.  This was my poem:

First Flight

Steady drumming beat
of my heart against hers
matching the rhythm
to helicopter rotors–
Life!

When we write together in my classroom, we often use quotes.  Thursday morning I looked on my Wonder app and found this quote.

The Daily Wonder App

In my notebook I wrote a prayer poem:

Oh clouds!
You are so necessary for life, but
if you don’t mind, please
move aside.
Let sun’s light
shine on Amy.
Bring her out of darkness
into hope.

Oh clouds!
We are helpless to move
you out of the way.
We send smoke signals,
wave wands, dance in a circle,
all to overcome your gloom.
Show us the sun today.
Show us the way to hope.

–Margaret Simon

Amy is getting the care she needs, but if you are the praying type, it wouldn’t hurt to add her name to your list.  Thanks!

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Vernal Equinox on the Bayou Teche.

Begin with the source,
Lore told again and again,
ancient words from native people–
Teche,
Tesh,
Snake

Water runs through it
brown bayou mud
bound by an ever-eroding shore
Teche,
Tesh,
Snake.

Sun sets on vernal equinox
sends rays of light across
cypress trees reflected in still water
Teche,
Tesh,
Snake.

–Margaret Simon

Reflections

The name of my blog originates with the bayou that runs behind my house.  Bayou Teche was so named for an ancient Native American legend that the warriors battled a huge snake for days, and in finally killing it, the giant serpent created a waterway through where it lay.  The Bayou Teche meanders back and forth for 125 miles.

We recently joined the T.E.C.H.E. Project, Teche Ecology, Culture and History Education, a nonprofit with a mission to improve the Bayou Teche for recreation as well as for ecosystem health.  One of the perks of membership is the gift of a mile marker.  Our house is at mile 69.4.  We plan to mount the marker on our wood duck house, but we will wait until Eve, our resident mother, finishes her nesting.

The name of my blog has significance to me. It reflects the place where I live along with my own internal reflections about teaching and writing.  Literal and figurative reflections on the Teche.

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I’ve been following Elisabeth Ellington’s blog for at least 4, maybe 5 years.  We’ve actually met in person a few times at NCTE, and when we’ve had occasion to sit next to each other, we talk incessantly like two introverts in the sea.  Elisabeth lives in South Dakota, far north from Louisiana.  Nevertheless, we connect over our love of nature.  Yesterday on her blog the dirigible plum, she wrote a post with the title, “What did you Fall in Love with Today?”

As I read her post, a poem began to write itself in my head.  I could connect emotionally to all that she wrote.  I didn’t know anything about pronghorn, so I did a Google search (something else that Elisabeth mentions loving) and found this information on the National Wildlife Federation site.

Pronghorn are one of North America’s most impressive mammals. Not only do pronghorn have the longest land migration in the continental United States, they also are the fastest land animal in North America. Pronghorn can run at speeds close to 60 miles an hour. Even more amazing than its speed is the pronghorn’s migration. Herds of pronghorn migrate 150 miles each way between Wyoming’s Upper Green River Basin and Grand Teton National Park. The only other land animal to travel farther in North America is the caribou.

I’m in Love
found poem from Elisabeth Ellington’s Slice of Life

I’m in love
with the moon
over snow-covered hills
white,
then yellow.

I’m in love
with clouds
before sunrise
Venus bright
in the East.

I’m in love
with a field of pronghorn
lying in the snow
legs curled beneath
for warmth.

I’m even in love
with this open parking spot
right in front
of my favorite coffee shop.

I’m in love
with warm fires,
curled up cats,
and always,
every day
with my mug
of coffee.

What do you love today?

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Katelyn Gulotta as Elle Woods

I am not a theatre critic, but I do enjoy a good musical.  Our local little theatre, IPAL (Iberia Performing Arts League) is in its production of Legally Blonde: The Musical.  I attended  the matinee on Sunday afternoon.

IPAL has a reputation for producing top-notch musicals, and this year’s is one of the best.  It wasn’t just the singing that was good (it was!) or the orchestra’s sound (amazing!) or the choreography (spot on!), it was the coming together of a team of actors to create a most entertaining experience.  I laughed until I cried!

Scene after scene, the play drew me in.  IPAL is not called “Broadway on the Bayou” for no reason.  These volunteers who practiced night after night delivered, and made me feel I was right there with them on stage.  I was glad, however, that I was not chosen from the audience to try a bend and snap, but the precious twenty-something next to me was.

You know that a play has totally drawn in the audience when the main character Elle is proposed to by the jerk ex-boyfriend, someone yells, “No!”

All of the acting was good, but I was impressed with how Katelyn, who played Elle, handled the transformation from a giddy sorority girl to a serious lawyer seamlessly.

You should make time this weekend to attend IPAL’s Legally Blonde.  Even if they publicly announce they are sold out, there are often seats available.  I know this first hand because my ticket on Sunday was apparently for March 24th, but they had a ticket they could trade with me.

Musical theatre in a small town can surprise and entertain you and make you proud to be from Da’ Berry.

Curtain call for Legally Blonde, the Musical.

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Professor Bishop has been living in my husband’s closet for close to 13 years.  Our retired diocesan bishop, Willis Henton, died in February of 2006, and Jeff was in charge of his succession.  One day the new owners of Bishop Henton’s home called Jeff about a portrait in the shed.

Jeff called the son of Bishop Henton who was living in Texas.  The son said that it was an academic portrait of David Bishop, father of Martha Bishop Henton and chairman of the English Department at the University of Mississippi. The family had disliked the portrait so much they had it replaced. The original portrait was the one exiled to the shed. The Henton’s son told Jeff to throw the portrait away, but Jeff couldn’t bring himself to do that.  He put it in his closet.

Last week an artist stayed with us during her participation in the Shadows Plein Air competition.  Low and behold, she was from Oxford, MS, the original home of the portrait.  Some years ago, Jeff had discovered that the owner of an independent bookstore in Oxford was the grandson of Professor Bishop, so he contacted him about the portrait and promised that we would one day travel there and deliver Professor Bishop to him. Alas, that trip never happened.

However, Debbie was more than happy to deliver the portrait for us.  Jeff spent the morning on Saturday reframing (Mr. Bishop had fallen out of the frame) and packaging him up for the long drive to Oxford.

Jeff mentioned the new space in his closet.  We kind of miss that old man already, but we are happy he is on his way back to his family.  We still hope to visit Oxford some day to check out Square Books and visit Professor Bishop and our new artist friend.

Jeff proudly holds Professor Bishop after reframing him.

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