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Posts Tagged ‘Bayou Poems’

Today I am cheating and doing this prompt backwards. I wrote a poem that I like from another Taylor Mali prompt. I remembered that I took a picture of the image I conjured in the poem. I am convincing myself that this is fair because I had the image in mind when I wrote the poem. Taylor’s website has a collection of fun prompts for teachers to use with kids. They work even with the youngest students that I teach (8 year olds). The one I used can be found here: Once I was a Flower.

Live Oak Branches, Margaret Simon

Once an owl lifted off
from a tangle of branches;
it rose above me
like a hot-air balloon.
It was fall
and morning chill sprinkled fog
over the bayou.
There I was left
floating alone–
solid, steel canoe.

Margaret Simon, draft

Now it’s your turn. If you want to use the prompt, begin with Once and end with an inanimate object. Or just write whatever the photo muse brings forth. Be sure to leave encouraging comments for other writers.

This response to the Once prompt is from my student Jaden in 6th grade.

Once I saw a moth
flew across my face
in the path of others
it was a fall sunset
I stood still
I was a light
Jaden, 6th grade

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Poetry Friday round-up is with Jone.

The beginning of February is finally here and the Swaggers are posting responses to a new challenge. This month Catherine Flynn challenged us.

Copy a mentor poem (or other text) “word for word, then replace [that poet’s] language with your own.”
Inspired by S. Kirk Walsh’s essay “How E.L. Doctorow Taught an Aspiring Writer to Hear the Sounds of Fiction” (https://www.nytimes.com/2021/01/09/books/review/e-l-doctorow-virginia-woolf-music-literature-language.html )

The Writer’s Almanac comes daily in my email inbox. Some days I barely have time to read it, but others I find a kernel of inspiration, a poem, an author, a rabbit hole. On this day, I remembered Catherine’s prompt and tucked the poem into a document to work with later.

The process was fun. I used the suggesting tool in Google docs editor. That way I kept the original underneath the new text I added. In Greg Watson’s poem, the main character is a yellow lab waiting for its owner outside a coffee shop. We don’t have a yellow lab, but my little schnoodle Charlie goes bonkers when our resident raccoon visits to steal our outdoor cat’s food.

When I’m up early, I feed the cat before dawn. When the raccoon comes, I let Charlie out to the side yard when he goes crazy. One morning, I actually saw the raccoon. It did not run away as I expected, but just stood still like a stone creature from The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe. Watson’s poem gave me the perfect structure to capture this surprising moment.

Raccoon Outside the Back Door

The raccoon outside the back door
today does not move; but instead,

still with ever-expectant energy,
like a heron perched for the catch,

forepaws poised in the air
above the leaf-littered sidewalk,

he stops without making a sound,
knowing that any moment

the cat food will disappear,
slipped back into the human house,

and night will suddenly fall into
day: every sound, sight, and aroma

disturbed, the door swinging
open and shut, with a backward glance

awkward silhouette, following,
as if it had somewhere to go.

Margaret Simon, after Greg Watson

See other Swaggers poems from mentor poems:

Molly Hogan: Nix the Comfort Zone
Linda Mitchell: A Word Edgewise
Catherine Flynn: Reading to the Core
Heidi Mordhorst: My Juicy Little Universe

Photo by anne sch on Pexels.com

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