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Archive for the ‘Photography’ Category

Poetry Friday posts with Laura Purdie Salas at Writing the World for Kids

 

While summer seems far away as I end my eighth week in school, my poetry swap gifts continue to come.  Jone and Iphigene both contacted me by email to say their poetry gifts were late.  I was late, too, so I didn’t mind.  In fact, I love receiving a surprise in the mail…anytime.  Iphigene’s gift included this beautiful painting of the bayou.  She lives in the Philippines, so she had to use images from my blog to imagine this scene.  She definitely captured the peacefulness.

Bayou Teche by Iphigene Daradar. Acrylic on paper.

This is what Iphigene said in her note to me about composing the poem:

“When I was conceptualizing the poem, I thought I’d write about the Teche, but as I read your recent blog posts, the idea of impossible, possible, and overcoming kept surfacing.  In the end, I wrote a poem with those words in mind. The tone of the poem, too, is not my usual.  It was influenced by the biopic of Emily Dickinson called A Quiet Passion.”

The Extent of Our Souls

By Iphigene (For Margaret)

There is an extent by which our soul stretches
One that is measured by words
Short phrases echoed through
In the silence of our minds

In the loose utterance of
‘stupid’ and ‘can’t’
Mingled in laughter, our skin
Think as nothing

Our souls call as truth
Like a seed planted
In perfect day, bears root
Bears bloom, each day

And so, our soul, fits itself
In the limits of our bodies
Brittle for the measure—
Impossible.

However,
As those who know words
Who play with the scales of phrases
Our measures change with space
And rightly placed punctuation

I’m possible.
Feel the impossible stretch
And the soul re-tells its truth
Stretching to ‘greatness’
And knowing it can.

Bearing roots that bloom
Perennial in the hearts
Of those who try to stretch
Their souls to possibility
and its truth.

This week I was blessed by a gift from Jone MacCulloch.  She takes beautiful photographs.  She sent an amazing close-up of a dahlia and her poem printed on a plaque that stands.  In addition to the photo-plaque, she sent a copy of her book  Solace in Nature which is a collection of her photos and poems.

photo and poem by Jone MacCulloch

 

Here is a photo and poem from her book, Solace in Nature.

winged fighter pilots
dive bomb daily
over sweet nectar
by Jone MacCulloch

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Join the Two Writing Teachers blog for the Slice of Life Challenge.

..out in de camp, out yonda in da camp, de ole, ole women too old to work and too old to make babies, dey stay an mind de young chilens so dat de me kin all work in de fields and dey fee dam an all so when de ma come back all dey got to do is to push ’em in de bed, all of dem in de same bed. –Frances Doby, age 100
Cammie G. Henry Research Center
Northwestern State University of Louisiana
Federal Writers Project Folder 19

On Monday, I went on a summer field trip to Whitney Plantation located in Wallace, LA. Established in 1752, Whitney Plantation was a working sugar plantation until the early 1970’s. Recently, it has been transformed into an active museum that captures the experience of enslavement.  This place tells the unheard story of all other plantation homes.  This story is not a romanticized version of plantation life.  This story is gripping and harrowing and sad.

Inside the old Antioch Church, statues of enslaved children stand, some sit on the pews.  The children of the slaves from Whitney Plantation tell you the story with their staring eyes.  These stories were captured by a Federal Writers Project led by John Lomax in 1936.  The plantation now honors over 100,000 names of slaves and children.

The Antioch Baptist Church was moved to the plantation in 1999. This church was built post Civil War (1870) by former slaves.

This memorial statue stands in the Field of Angels to honor all the slave children lost before age 3.

Panels in the Field of Angels include etched photographs, prayers, and quotes along with 2,200 names from documents in the Sacramental Records of the Archdiocese of New Orleans.

A Jamaica line of sugar kettles remind us of the long, arduous task of turning cane into sugar.

If you are ever in the New Orleans area, Whitney Plantation is a worthy side trip.  I believe we must try to understand our history to move forward into a better future.

 

 

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Poetry Friday is Carol at Beyond Literacy Link

 

While I was vacationing for the 4th of July in Santa Fe, NM, my Voxer Good2Great friend, Jen Hayhurst tagged me in a post about her #ProjectPoetry.  I wrote about the project on my Slice of Life post on Tuesday. 

I have this self-assigned goal of writing a poem a day.  That gets tough when you have a husband who wants to walk all over New Mexico.  My writing muscles had to give way to my walking muscles.  Nevertheless, I took some pictures that planted some ideas in my brain.  Once home I had time to sit.  Sit with the images and process a poem.  Jen’s goals for writing poems are to synthesize experience and ignite curiosity.  This is what poetry should be, in our lives as well as in our classrooms.

Last night I watched Kylene Beers and Bob Probst do a Facebook live video about their book, Disrupting Thinking. When someone asked if poetry should be the first unit taught in the school year, Kylene answered, “Poetry is not a unit. Poetry is something we breath in.  We should breathe in poetry every day.”

Take a deep breath and look at the amazing sky.  I was astounded and mesmerized by the huge sky of New Mexico.  It seemed somehow bigger and brighter and mightier there.  Maybe because I was paying attention.  Maybe because there was something to be learned.  Maybe just to be captured in a poem.

The Magic Sky
Sculpts grey clouds
into bursts
of sparkling rain.

Then a rainbow,
a puffy horse
riding beside.

I stand above
this Rio Grande Gorge,
feel like a speck
of dust in the wind
to the magician
of the sky.

–Margaret Simon

Next Friday is National Mac and Cheese Day.  Who knew there was such a thing?  So Poetry Friday folks are planning to write about Mac-n-Cheese.  Join in the yummy fun.

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Join the Two Writing Teachers blog for the Slice of Life Challenge.

An invitation to #ProjectPoem

Jenn Hayhurst tagged me in a post on Facebook asking me to join in a project she is playing with this summer: #ProjectPoem. The premise is that teachers of writing should write, a mantra of mine adapted from the work of Donald Graves. She is asking teachers to synthesize experience into poetic form in 140 characters.

I joined in with the image below. I am on vacation in Santa Fe, NM and staying at a lovely casita. The patio is private, quiet, and inviting. The picture is a side garden of Aspen trees.

My writing friend, Linda Mitchell, recently visited Seattle. There she collected words and made collage poems from them. I took inspiration from her to capture the feeling in Santa Fe. There was a procession to return an old statue of Mary to the Cathedral of Saint Frances. The people here are serious about their worship of Mary.

Consider joining in the summer writing fun by tweeting your poem to #ProjectPoem and tagging me @MargaretGSimon and Jenn @hayhurst3.  I made the first image using the app WordSwag, the second in Canva.

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Join the Two Writing Teachers blog for the Slice of Life Challenge.

Carolina wren carries food to her babies.

Sitting on the back porch at the lake, we noticed a small bird coming and going, in and out of the flower pot of red vinca.

“I wonder if there’s a nest in there,” said Mom while sipping her morning coffee. “When I watered it yesterday, I noticed a big hole, but I didn’t think anything of it.”

A little while later when I didn’t see the adult bird around, I peeked into the pot.  When I moved a stem of the flower, I saw movement and then three wide-open yellow beaks, hoping I had a juicy insect to drop in.

With excitement, I ran inside to announce to everyone that there indeed was a nest and there were baby chicks in it.

Last summer on my yearly visit we watched goslings of a Canada Geese couple.

My visits to the lake are spent hanging out on the back porch talking with my family.  Nature moves around us every day, and we never seem to have the time to really pay attention.  This nest of Carolina wrens (it took some internet research, a bird book, and consulting a bird expert to know what kind they were) entertained us and helped us focus on what’s really important: life, love, and family nesting.

Can you see the mama bird? Babies are right underneath.

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Find more celebration posts at Ruth’s blog.

My view this morning. A cup of coffee. Dog Charlie at my feet.  Cats cuddling. And a chat with a friend.  Doesn’t get better than this.

 

Buzz snoozing in the sun.

 

Jen with Rio

On Wednesday I drove to Breaux Bridge to visit my friend Jen’s farm, Bonne Terre (which means good earth).  She has been working hard all year to get her property ready for renting.  She offered her place for a writing retreat, so I am working on plans.  Check out her new website here. 

Above Jen is flirting with her horse Rio.  I loved watching her interact with her animals.  She is a natural mother to them all.

Everywhere I turned there were writing prompts.  Sitting on the porch watching the birds, looking at all the artisan knick-knacks she has around, or reading the inspirational messages on her walls, I felt relaxed and inspired.

Today I celebrate friendship and the long relaxing days of summer.

 

Jen’s cow, Matilda, peeks at use over the fence to her pasture.

 

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Today, our Spiritual Journey blogging group is writing about Joy, Finding Joy.  I am gathering the posts in the Link button below this post.

I find joy on my morning walks.  Over the years I have joined different gyms.  I’d wake up in the dark, pull on some tights or other fashionable exercise wear, and go to a class or climb on the treadmill or rotate among the machines when Curves was around.  Last year I gave up all memberships and just started walking.  During the school year, I try to get out by 6 AM.  But now that it’s summer, and the days are getting warmer, and I don’t have to be anywhere, I’m out at 7 AM.  Charlie on the leash.  I carry my phone in a pouch that fits over my pants and stays in place with a magnetic grip.  Sometimes I talk to my Voxer pals.  Sometimes I listen to a podcast, and sometimes I run into a neighbor to chat with or who will join me.

These walks have become my Joy.

I find joy in the songs of birds.

I find joy in watching Charlie explore.

I find joy in waving to neighbors.

I find joy in the flowers, the trees, and the bayou beyond.

Another source of joy for me is poetry.  For this poem, I turned to one of my favorite collections, The Woman in this Poem.  Georgia Heard signed my copy with these words, “For the joy of poetry–and life!”

 

Happiness

by Jane Kenyon

There’s just no accounting for happiness,
or the way it turns up like a prodigal
who comes back to the dust at your feet
having squandered a fortune far away.

And how can you not forgive?
You make a feast in honor of what
was lost, and take from its place the finest
garment, which you saved for an occasion
you could not imagine, and you weep night and day
to know that you were not abandoned,
that happiness saved its most extreme form

for you alone.

No, happiness is the uncle you never
knew about, who flies a single-engine plane
onto the grassy landing strip, hitchhikes
into town, and inquires at every door
until he finds you asleep midafternoon
as you so often are during the unmerciful

hours of your despair.

It comes to the monk in his cell.
It comes to the woman sweeping the street
with a birch broom, to the child
whose mother has passed out from drink.
It comes to the lover, to the dog chewing
a sock, to the pusher, to the basketmaker,
and to the clerk stacking cans of carrots
in the night.
                     It even comes to the boulder
in the perpetual shade of pine barrens,
to rain falling on the open sea,

to the wineglass, weary of holding wine.

From The Woman in this Poem Selected and Introduced by Georgia Heard

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