Posts Tagged ‘Deep Wisdom Poems’

Photo by NASA on Unsplash

What the Hurricane Knows

Hot August oceans churn.
Tornadoes internally spurn
a meteorologist’s concern.

This is what the hurricane knows.

With strength beyond a whale’s tail,
swallow waves into booming gale,
loosen nature’s grip and WAIL!

Margaret Simon, draft

On Friday, I wrote wisdom poems with my students. I couldn’t focus on much except Hurricane Ida heading our way. They also wrote some wonderful wisdom poems linked below.

Adelyn, 3rd grade

Jaden, 6th grade

Katie, 6th grade

Read Full Post »

Poetry Friday round-up is with Elisabeth at Unexpected Intersections

For the end of the month Poetry Sisters challenge, Mary Lee posted this call to write deeper wisdom poems in the form of Jane Yolen’s What the Bear Knows. I recall a similar challenge from Michelle Barnes’ interview with Joyce Sidman on Today’s Little Ditty. I used this form in my book Bayou Song to write about the black-crowned night-heron.

(c) Margaret Simon, Bayou Song

photo by Henry Cancienne

To order a copy of Bayou Song: Creative Explorations of the South Louisiana Landscape, go to UL Press website.

On this anniversary of Hurricane Laura that devastated Lake Charles, Louisiana last year, we are once again bracing for a storm, Tropical Storm Ida that is predicted to come in around New Orleans as a Category 3 hurricane. We are preparing and watching news closely. Please keep us in your prayers. We know how to do this. I’ll post updates as I am able on Instagram/ Facebook. Thanks!

Read Full Post »

Find more Poetry Friday with Irene at Live your Poem.

Find more Poetry Friday with Irene at Live your Poem.


The shells went to school this week. Children are fascinated by shells. They loved picking out their own special shell to write about.

In her book Awakening the Heart, Georgia Heard writes about spinning metaphors, “Spinning metaphors and similes has the effect of spinning a kaleidoscope around to see the beautiful and multifaceted color variations.” On a clean notebook page, let’s see how many metaphors we can think of for our shells. Then we started spinning.

Wonderopolis has a number of seashell-oriented Wonders. We explored two of them: How Much is a Sand Dollar Worth? and How are Sea Shells Formed?

After enjoying the Wonders, shells, and discussion, we had a “sacred writing time.” During this time, I gave them the option to write a Deeper Wisdom poem introduced by Joyce Sidman at Today’s Little Ditty, Michelle H. Barnes.

The steps are:
1. Choose a subject. It can be anything: an ant, the Empire State Building, your father. Your poem will be called “What Does [your subject] Know?
2. Think about the greater Truths that this particular object knows, whether it is alive or not.
3. State these truths—six of them—in two stanzas, repeating your question before each stanza.
4. If you want, rhyme each final word—but this is not necessary. (Joyce Sidman)

My student Matthew met this challenge with an amazing result.

What does a seashell know?
It doesn’t know the Pythagorean Theorem
Or how to count by fives,
But it knows the ocean’s feelings.
It’s felt the sea god’s cries.
It knows it has an owner.
It knows that it’s a shield.
It has one life purpose—
to make the sea assassins yield.

By Matthew, 5th grade

I struggled with this form. Rhyme stumps me up every time. After quite a few tries, I tweaked the form a bit to write the poem I wanted to write.

Sea Shell Wisdom

Read Full Post »