Archive for February, 2020

Poetry Friday round-up is with Linda at Teacher Dance.

Because it’s Valentine’s Day, I won’t write about the week I’ve had or lost love or about the cold I’ve been fighting. Instead I’ll share a ditty I wrote this week for Laura Shovan’s challenge. Susan Brisson prompted us with frog pictures and a delightful video of her husband and son catching frogs from their pond to take them into the woods, so the little creatures would survive the winter.

Photo by Susan Brisson.

When my youngest daughter was two (she’s now 29), we had a small flower bed that always seemed to be its own pond. She could hear a frog croaking in the flower bed and decided to name it Hans. To this day, we don’t know why, but Hans the frog has become our family’s totem. One Christmas my husband made a huge plywood frog wearing a Santa hat, and we put it up every Christmas.

When watching Susan’s son hopping around gathering frogs into a bucket jogged this memory for me.

Dedicated to my daughter Martha

And here’s a lagniappe poem. Lagniappe is a common term used in Louisiana to mean a little something extra.

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See more posts at Two Writing Teachers Slice of Life
Photo by Kay McGriff: “This photo is from one of our favorite activities twice each year–the Friends of the Muscatatuck River Society River Clean up.”

I have been writing a lot of poems lately with my students as we respond daily in our notebooks and with a Facebook group for Laura Shovan’s February Poetry Project.

The picture above was shared by Kay McGriff. She and her family participate in a twice-a-year river clean-up. I haven’t done this yet, but living near the bayou, we see all sorts of things drift by. This picture inspired me to look into this project.

Armed with an article, I decided to create a Bop poem. I was introduced to this form by my friend and critique partner, Linda Mitchell. Here’s a link to the form: https://poets.org/glossary/bop

The quote comes directly from an article about the cleanup. http://www.therepublic.com/…/river_society_hosting…/

People are messy.
Rivers are easy to access.
Everything can be found–
shoes, tires, buckets, balls–
whatever falls in
sinks to a watery grave.

“You wouldn’t believe the stuff we find.”

Someone found a car,
an old boat motor, ten feet of rope.
It’s all trash pollution
and doesn’t belong here
buried in our drinking water.
Imagine what the fish are thinking.
People are crazy!
Let’s get out there and clean it up!

“You wouldn’t believe the stuff we find.”

So share in the fun
of the Annual Spring River Cleanup.
There’s something for everyone to do.
Volunteers will collect whatever they find
walking the bank or paddling a canoe.
Together we can save the river.

“You wouldn’t believe the stuff we find.”

Margaret Simon, draft 2020

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Poetry Friday round-up is with Laura at Writing the World for Kids.

Take a walk with me on this chilly day. The temperature dropped during the day yesterday from a rainy 55 degrees to a frigid 35 degrees with winds close to 20 mph. Bundle up in your winter coat and gloves. Did you bring your wool socks? As we walk past the bayou and along the road, we come to an open field. Watch your step because the ground is uneven here, and you may step in a puddle.

There near the neighboring house is a tree that looks like it may have been struck by lightning. It’s leaning slightly, but oh! It’s bright with pink blossoms. Flowers in winter? I think Japanese magnolia likes to be the first to show off her new spring dress.

My poetry swaggers group had a difficult challenge this month, given by Catherine Flynn. Terza Rima, she suggested, a form none of us had ever tried. But it’s from Dante, she delighted, not knowing yet that we are no Dantes.

Nevertheless, I gave it a shot. The first results lacked greatly. After a few rounds with my writing buddies, they helped me patch it up to present today. A terza rima is not going into my book of forms. This was a tough code to crack. Here’s a link to some confusing helpful guidelines.

A Japanese magnolia takes a chance
on blooming ‘fore the risk of frost is gone
with warming trends alive inside its branch.

Perhaps a passing storm had left it torn
in this winter field alone and gray,
when leaves of life from limbs are yet unborn.

Bold flowers burst bright pink and lift away
a fog; flamboyant beauty flirts for view
when wind blows chill across my path today. 

A Japanese magnolia takes a chance.

Margaret Simon, draft #5

Visit the Poetry Swaggers Sites for more (and better, if you ask me) Terza Rima poems.

Catherine Flynn
Molly Hogan
Linda Mitchell
Heidi Mordhorst

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Graphic design by Carol Varsalona. She is also hosting today at Beyond Literacy Link.

Living on the bayou gives me a daily view of seasonal changes. We have a huge cypress tree that drops its needles all over the back deck when the days grow shorter. They burst out in bright neon green as the days grow long.

While cypress respond to daylight, other plants respond to temperature changes. On my morning walk, I’ve been watching a Japanese magnolia bursting into bloom. Maybe it’s just me, but I think it blooms earlier and earlier each year. The beauty is striking. I used the tree as a subject for my Poetry Friday offering for tomorrow.

One way I pay attention to seasonal changes is to write poems. I am writing every day with #100daysofnotebooking and with Laura Shovan’s February poetry challenge. When I commit to a social media group, I have accountability, so I get it done.

On Saturday, I wrote a quick notebook draft responding to the quote by Robert Louis Stevenson “There is no music like a river’s”

Listen to the cry
of mother wood duck,
clicks of red-headed woodpecker
on the old oak.
Hear the train whistle
in the distance, and the peaceful
ringing of wind chimes.

The bayou wakes up slowly
on this winter Saturday
playing its music
for the clouds
welcoming first sun,
first light,
new day.

Margaret Simon, draft 2020
Photo by Nandhu Kimar, from Pexels.com

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