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Posts Tagged ‘ekphrastic poetry’

This April, Renee LaTulippe of No Water River is hosting a wonderful month of poet visits and writing prompts. I saw a tweet about a prompt by the infamous Jane Yolen which drew me in.  She suggested that we all have topics that we go back to again and again.  (Mine is the bayou, of course.) She posted a poem in three acts and prompted us to write a poem about our favorite topic in three acts.

Since I am writing ekphrastic poetry, I searched for the just right image for a poem about the bayou.  My friend (and cousin, by marriage) Marjorie Pierson is a fine art photographer.  The wetlands is a common theme in her photos.  I think her photos are poems. Even though she lives in North Carolina, she visits South Louisiana often to be with her mother who happens to live across the street from us.  Today I am featuring her image titled “Cypress in Wind.”  To see more from Marjie, go over to her website.

 

 

Cypress in Wind by Marjorie Pierson.

Bayou Performance

Act I:

Dawning sun
plays peek-a-boo
with cypress trees.

Act II:

Breeze builds, waves
rippling, Baldcypress needles
helicopter down.

Act III:

Line of light
drawn from tree to tree
traffic light to the day.

–Margaret Simon (c) 2018

 

 

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National Poetry Month 2018

Heron in Flight by John Gibson

After Wallace Stevens, Thirteen Ways of Looking at a Blackbird. 

 

I.

Taking flight,
one heron, great and blue,
lifts on kite-wings.

II.

At daybreak, he stalks
early risers
stealthily staring
at the water’s surface.

III.

The heron looks long
at his own reflection,
beauty knows beauty.

IV.

Straight as an arrow on a hunt
for its mark, heron’s beak
pierces the sky.

V.

Sun beams dance on waves
winking at heron’s stature,
inviting his participation
in the day.

VI.

My totem, Heron,
teach me
your lessons of grace.

VII.

As evening falls, heron
circles back
to tell me good night.

VIII.

Times with heron
I value silence
and know God.

IX.

Heron’s squawk
scrapes on Goose’s last nerve.
A cacophony on courthouse steps.

X.

At the sight of heron flying,
barely skimming water’s surface,
even playful children
stop and admire.

XI.

Heron lifts his wing
to preen like an awkward teen
crumples over his tall body
to tie his shoelace.

XII.

A storm raged during the night,
heron stood still
never losing his grip
on the fallen log.

XIII.

I haven’t seen Heron for days.
He will return. He may not return.
The light on the lake fades.

–Margaret Simon (c) 2018

If you are interested in joining a photo-poetry exchange I am hosting, click here.

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Poetry Friday round-up is with Tabatha at The Opposite of Indifference

Photo by Molly Hogan, mbhmaine at Nix the Comfort Zone.

The world
inside a crystal ball
feels mystical
and magical,
a fairy tale land
where princes
fall in love
with glass slippers.

The world
inside ocean waves
feels treacherous
and terrifying,
a tossed ship
where pirates
set traps
for fair maidens.

The world
in a child’s mind
feels exciting
and thrilling,
a shore of seashells
where girls and boys
gather treasures
to share.

The photo above took my breath away.  I saw it on Molly Hogan’s blog and thought, “I want to write a poem about this.”  I also went to Amazon to buy my own crystal photo ball.  I changed my header image to one of the bayou with the ball placed on my deck railing.

I had an email conversation with my virtual-poetry-writing-photographer-friend Molly Hogan about exchanging photos and writing poems about them.  The idea grew into something we’d like to share with the Poetry Friday community.  We are calling it “More than Meets the Eye.”

I am hosting the Poetry Friday round-up on Friday, May 25th and would like to invite poets to fill out the form below and I’ll match you with someone to exchange photos with. I’m going to make an effort to match you to someone in a totally different geographical location. Your charge will be to write a poem about the photo you receive and post it on your blog on Friday, May 25th.  The photos should not include people. (People tend to complicate things.) There are no other rules except that the writer should give proper credit to the photographer and vice versa. Please sign up by Friday, April 27th.

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Star by Sarah Hazel

In a field of bluebonnets,
cockerpoo smiles for the Sky.
Royal Star of prairie grass.

Joy twinkles in his Star-eyes,
Inspiration for Sarah’s
hand to oil majestic poise.

–Margaret Simon, (c) 2018

This pet portrait looks just like my childhood dog, Lucky.  I was drawn in immediately, but the poem was elusive.  When I struggle with a poem, I often turn to form to guide me.  This one became a septercet, stanzas of three lines with seven syllables each.  Jane Yolen created the septercet.

Words are another hurdle, so I Googled bluebonnets and collected words.  The dog’s name is Star, but I decided to also capitalize Sky as if it is a character in the poem.  Sarah is the artist, and Joy is one of her daughters.  To see more of Sarah Hazel’s art, click here. 

 

 

 

 

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National Poetry Month 2018

 

See more posts at Two Writing Teachers Slice of Life .

 

My students and I have been writing to Amy Ludwig VanDerwater’s daily prompts at The Poem Farm.  I usually write alongside my students, so some days I have three poems done because I teach 3 different groups of kids.  On Monday, when we were writing using word play, I started writing at school number one about bees.

Dawson, 4th grade, helped me think about rhymes.  He told me that bees carry pollen in their mouths and spit it back and forth with other bees until it becomes honey, thus “honey primers.”

I turned to bee research and RhymeZone.

At school number two, Chloe, 2nd grade, told me that a bee’s dance is called a waggle.  Google confirmed it.

Last month, I had a bee incident in my classroom at school number 2 that caused a curse word to come out of my mouth, thus “cursing singer.” This incident happened in March, so I sliced about it here.

My students responded with pleasure at my completed poem.  They exclaimed “Boomchakalaka.”  Great word play for the ending!

 

Bees
hullabaloo
on flowering trees
humming,
drumming,
buzz-strumming.

Bees
hokey-pokey
through pollen fields
persnickety climbers,
expert mimers
honey primers.

Bees
waggle-dance
in the hive
insect communication
tapping out dictation
pointing to a destination.

Bee–one bashful bee
squirming
in my hair
angry stinger
hand slinger
cursing singer.

Boomchakalaka!

I am writing ekphrastic poetry this month for National Poetry Month.  Michelle Kogan is an poet-illustrator I’ve met through Poetry Friday.  Usually I start with the image to inform the poem.  This poem came before the illustration, but I knew Michelle would have one that fit just right. Thanks, Michelle.

Towering Tulip by Michelle Kogan. Click image to see Michelle’s website.

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National Poetry Month 2018

 

Garden of Eden

Garden of Eden

My dog lies heavy as the storm moves through.
Worry keeps him close.
Rain streaks the window with tears.
We are safe inside.

Infinite line of tangled roots and vines,
God’s garden grows wild.
Endless labyrinth of life to life.
We are safe inside.

–Margaret Simon (c) 2018

Commentary: In this poem, I began with what was happening in the moment.  A storm was pounding, and my dog was afraid.  I held him on my lap.  As he relaxed, much like an infant, he became heavier on my lap.  I then moved to the drawing for interpretation.  I saw the white lines as the lines of connection of humanity.  When I looked for a synonym for connection, I found labyrinth which alliterated with life to life.

From PoemCrazy #25: “there may be a measurable field of energy for the buzz of life around moments and things.  Poems are alive this way. When a poem comes to me I have to tend to it like a small fish, a possum, a snake or a puppy, depending on the poem.  It’s often kicking and unruly.”

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National Poetry Month 2018

Poetry Friday round-up is with Robyn at Life on the Deckle Edge.

 

Today the Kidlitosphere is celebrating Lee Bennett Hopkins’ 80th birthday.  Click the Poetry Friday button to go to Robyn Hood Black’s site to see more posts for this celebration. How fun to light up cyberspace with candles and confetti!

 

Lee Bennett Hopkins is well known as an anthologist.  He collects the best children poets and puts them together in unique ways.  His most recent collection is World Make Way. 

World Make Way

This book is a collection of ekphrastic poetry, poetry about art from The Metropolitan Museum of Art. The book opens with the following quote:

Painting is poetry that is seen rather than felt, and poetry is painting that is felt rather than seen.

Leonardo da Vinci

This month I’ve been writing poems about my father’s art and this quote speaks to what I believe to be true;  My father’s art is poetry that is seen.

Lee’s poetry collections are a canvas for poets, a place to find words that can be felt rather than seen.  To write my poem today, I have chosen a line from Early Evening by Charles Ghinga.

Steamboat by John Gibson

 

Coming Home

We are coming home
stretched across a canvas of time
waiting for steam to rise

into still humid air.
We carry a load
of dreams from far

away where seas meet rivers.
We are born of the river,
her muddy banks birthed

strength to carry us
through toil and trouble
all the way home.

–Margaret Simon (c) 2018

 

 

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