Posts Tagged ‘ekphrastic poetry’

Poetry Friday round-up is with Sally Murphy.

I have five friends currently battling breast cancer.  This daily battle is heart-wrenching and hard. They are sharing their journey with me and others. It seems all I can do for them is pray or cry or write a poem.

On Monday, Kim wrote this: “As you know, chemo wreaks havoc on the immune system.  It lowers red and white blood counts and one specific type of white blood cell–the neutrophil–is especially critical because it plays an important role in fighting infection. If a chemo patient develops a fever, it sounds the alarm that the neutrophil concentration has likely fallen below 1000 and spurs doctors to take immediate action. If not treated with a strong course of antibiotics, the patient could develop a potentially life threatening infection. So, chemo comes with a strong warning: take fevers very seriously.”

On Tuesday, Sarah wrote this: “Exposed, hurting, lying on what seems like a narrow mortician’s table in a cavernous room, alone, encapsulated by an enormous machine shooting me with targeted radiation all in the name of cancer — I am a science experiment.”

On Wednesday, Amy wrote this: “What do you wear to hear the results of your pet/ct scan? A crown of course. Well I got good news and not so go news. The not so good news is the cancer is growing and has shown up in two new places. We’ll be looking at new treatment options at MD Anderson. The good news is my doctor said I can ride roller coasters at Disney next week. Bring it!! Thanks to all who have shown their concern and who have prayed for me. Please continue – the road just got bumpy.”

In Laura Shovan’s Daily February Writing Challenge, the image of a beautiful ocean scene came up, but all I could see was the dirty sand and the crashing waves.  I released my growing worry and concern in a poem.

Low Tide by Andrea Lavoie


Low Tide

That sand is frozen brown grass
flowing like the folds of a blanket,
fluffed and tucked over
the patient’s bed.

Does it comfort or scratch?
Cover or annoy?

Skin is sensitive with fever.
Chemo burns through her veins,
poison that saves
even as the waves
of a raging ocean
recede with the tide.

It’s the pull of the moon
holding her in a glowing stare.
Where is the silver lining?

–Margaret Simon, (c) 2018 for Kim, Sarah, Amy, Kelley, and Sandy



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Discover. Play. Build.

Ruth Ayres invites us the celebrate each week. Click over to her site Discover. Play. Build. to read more celebrations.

On Friday we took our youngest gifted students on a field trip. The day started at A&E Gallery. Paul Schexnayder, the owner, is an artist and teacher in our talent program. He opened up this old historical building to the wandering eyes of 1st-3rd grade kids. I asked them to find a piece of art that makes them amazed. I had made a form for them to use for a cinquain poem. After they wrote, they created a final draft to give to Mr. Paul. He will place the poems next to the art piece for visitors to see.

Gwen Voorhies, artist.

Gwen Voorhies, artist.

Madison wrote about the peaceful painting above.

Madison wrote about the peaceful painting above.

Lynzee wrote about a 3-D piece of an alligator on the high trapeze.

Lynzee wrote about a 3-D piece of an alligator on the high trapeze.

Jacob writing

We ventured onward to the Hilliard Museum in Lafayette. This museum is a fine art museum, different from the co-op gallery in New Iberia. The children drew a postcard of a painting and wrote as if they had visited the place. The docent then brought them to an art room where they could color their pictures with oil pastels and colored pencils. My students enjoyed exploring these art materials.

Exploring drawing with oil pastels.

Exploring drawing with oil pastels.

An art display of dresses made from cut up romance novels.

An art display of dresses made from cut up romance novels.

Our final stop (after lunch in the park) was the Lafayette Science Museum where the kids were allowed to roam freely to see dinosaur bones, insects, magnets, and a favorite of all, video games.
Field trips are a great way to expose our students to new things like art. As I was chatting with the docents, they shared with me that not many teachers take advantage of their program. This is disappointing to me. We need to take our students out of the school and into the world of ideas and creativity. This field trip was inexpensive, too. We only charged the students $5. They brought their own lunches and our gifted program procured the school bus.

I celebrate the beautiful day (temps in the 70’s), art, enthusiastic docents, and students writing, learning, and playing. An added bonus: Our students are all from different schools, so they made new friends, too.

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Poetry Friday round-up with Buffy at Buffy's Blog

Poetry Friday round-up with Buffy at Buffy’s Blog

Walking down Main Street you may find a poem in a window.

Christmas window

Or you can stop in at A&E Gallery and see that poets have been there.

Vannisa in the gallery

Space Man and Space Dog
walk the moon alone,
with only each other
to keep company
on the long way home

Paul Schexnayder has started a series of Circus Gators in his paintings. This makes for a crazy circus poem.

Cirque du GatorFullSizeRender
a green gator circus,
a scaly trapeze,
two mingy gymnasts,
and a sharp-toothed dancer.





flag gator painting
$100 is the price
for a patriotic watermelon sunrise.
A alligator
stealing a watermelon from a chubaka?
Greedy green gator
masking the red white and blue.




Beauty marks the spot.cross angel
An angel from high above is calling.
I won’t let go of your baby boy,
I promise.







I joined in the secret poem walk and wrote to the work in progress.

An empty framePaul painting poem
of color
a world,
a circus
of imagination.
–Margaret Simon

A field trip down Main Street can be a poetic treat.

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Photo by Marjorie Pierson, all rights reserved.

Photo by Marjorie Pierson, all rights reserved.

I’d like to introduce you to a my friend and cousin, photographer Marjorie Pierson. Marjie has an amazing eye for light in nature. She lives in North Carolina, teaches a fine art class at Duke, and sponsors a girls’ art club at Durham Academy. Her mother lives here (actually, across the street),so Marjie visits often. She always finds time to explore the bayous and marshes and take photographs. She creates large prints on canvas that look like oil paintings.

Marjie did not visit my class on her latest visit, but her photographs did. She has developed an inspiring website. I told my students about Marjie’s interest in wetlands preservation and talked to them about writing ekphrastic poetry. I used a 6-room organizer from Georgia Heard’s book Awakening the Heart.
Then I played classical music while the students watched a slideshow of wetlands beauty and wrote.

Magic happened as magic often does when writing combines with art. Here are some of the poems my students wrote.

Song of the Wetlands

The beautiful details of the wetlands.
Shadows reflecting off of the water.
I am silent.
I smell sweet and damp.
I feel wet, mossy, grassy and slimy.
I taste bitter, salty water and sweet.
I am pretty places
flowing everywhere,
a wetland full of
I am precious and you can preserve me to save me before I am gone.

Silhouette of the Sea

The fine art of blue dancing waters
embrace the feel of warmth

reflections of green
sounds of nature

a wind in the silhouette

smells like freshly cut grass
small droplets drip
on the smallest blade of grass

I’m Home

A green line of cane,
above the tan dirt,
under the bright blue
Louisiana sky.
Colorful, like a
shining rainbow after
a harsh rain,
like a path full of
roses and daisies.
There is a hushing noise,
made by the stalks slowly
and gently rubbing together,
hush. hush, hush.
With the touch of the angel’s wing
so delicate and free, reassuring
you that anything is possible.
Always giving off the soft, welcoming,
harmless, I’m home feeling.
I’m home,
I’m home,
I’m home.

Join the Poetry Friday blog hop at Merely Day by Day.

Join the Poetry Friday blog hop at Merely Day by Day.

Check out Matt Forrest’s Mortimer Minute over at Radio, Rhythm, and Rhyme.

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