Posts Tagged ‘Louisiana’

What do you do with a perfect day?

Sky’s a clear blue… let’s canoe…bayou still…no wind…smooth strokes…sun setting slow…an orange glow behind the towering smoke stack…abandoned mill…concrete riprap…a nest for trash…discarded life tokens.

A distant roar…speed boat…they see us hanging at the edge…cut the motor……push, pull, turn…cross waves…speed on.

Crossing under the bridge…sun’s gone…sky darkens…paddle strengthens…then we hear it…a distant hoot…the owl swishes overhead…beginning his hunt…who-cooks-for-you-you-all familiar call…calling sunset’s end… pull to dock…warm glow of home.

The idea for this poetry format came from Poets and Writers The Time is Now Writing Prompts. 

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

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


The rain started early Friday morning.  I knew this was a serious rain because school was cancelled 5 minutes before I walked out the door.  The rain stayed for days, falling in sheets for hours and hours.  By Friday afternoon, the news media was calling this an Historic Flood.  One of my colleagues posted on Facebook that her house was going under.  I watched and waited.  Finally a text came that she and her family were rescued and safe.

But the rain kept falling.  By Saturday morning, I went into a panic.  The bayou water had not risen this high in the 12 years we’d been living here, and neighbors said not in 20+ years.  This was truly an historical event.

The sun peeks through the trees. Water is up to the back step.

We put the furniture up, rolled rugs, emptied book shelves, and watched and waited.

Sofas raised up on kitchen chairs. Mimi watches the sun come out.

Sofas raised up on kitchen chairs. Mimi watches the sun come out.

Then on Sunday morning, the sun came out.  The water was a few feet from our back door, but it hadn’t come in.

Not everyone in our area was as lucky.  This incessant rain was worse than any hurricane.  And the flood waters did not discriminate.  Everyone here knows someone who is cleaning up today.

Painting the rain, collaborative work by a mother and son at the shelter.

Painting the rain, collaborative work by a mother and son at the shelter.


In my gratitude, I went to the shelter in our City Park to help out with an art activity with the kids.  It was crazy and messy and just what I needed.

Messy art is the best kind!

Messy art is the best kind!


Today, I want to focus on the sunshine.

The sun will come out.
We know this is true.
There is always light after the rain.

reflection flood poem


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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.

Twitter is buzzing this morning. My friends in cyberspace are posting images of their writing spaces. Such a fun way to connect with other teacher/writers. My writing space is messy. I sit at the kitchen table most days because Charlie (my dog) is here, so he keeps me company. Mimi, the cat, is often lying on some random piece of paper. What is it about cats and paper? I have a tablet for notes, a leather journal for quick poems, and my school notebook where many ideas are stored. I celebrate time to sit here, connect with others, and write.



Celebrating Rainbows: The good thing about summer rain showers (which are happening daily) is rainbows. I know the science behind a rainbow, but I still marvel at the sight and believe in the promise. May your summer be filled with rainbows.

Thursday morning rainbow

Thursday morning rainbow

Celebrating coffee shop visits: Yesterday I had two coffee shop dates. A wonderful way to relax and reconnect with friends over summer days.

I'm in between Jen and Sandy.  Coffee cups and friends!

I’m in between Jen and Sandy. Coffee cups and friends!

Celebrating antique shopping:
This is a rare treat for me, to wander through an antique market. This one is next to the Joie De Vivre Coffee Shop in Breaux Bridge, Lagniappe Antiques Mall. Lagniappe is a French word that means a little something extra. That’s an understatement. It was a warehouse full of somethings extra. I bought a few things that jumped off the shelves at me, silver napkin rings, a 1961 Life magazine, and vintage postcards.

Lagniappe Antiques Mall

Lagniappe Antiques Mall

Antique store finds, a 1961 Life magazine and vintage postcards.

Antique store finds, a 1961 Life magazine and vintage postcards.

What are you celebrating today?

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  Join the Two Writing Teachers Slice of Life Challenge.

Join the Two Writing Teachers Slice of Life Challenge.

NCTE Presentation Flier

Anticipation is building for the 2014 NCTE Convention. I’ve gotten the catalog and my badge. My bag is waiting to be packed. And I have laryngitis. Yes, you heard me. I am nursing it with hot tea and rest. I hope I will have a voice by Thursday when I accept the Donald Graves Award and on Friday when I present with my friends from the National Writing Project Professional Writing Retreat. If you are there, I’d love to meet you. The Two Writing Teachers Blog writers are having a Slicers dinner on Saturday night. I look forward to meeting many fellow bloggers there.

Sunset at Lake Martin, Breaux Bridge, LA.

Sunset at Lake Martin, Breaux Bridge, LA.

This weekend a group from our church went on a canoe trip on Lake Martin. Lake Martin is a beautiful wildlife preserve where cypress woods grow and birds nest. We even saw two bald eagles high in matching trees. It was an overcast cool day around 54 degrees, but welcomed with no mosquitoes or humidity.

We paddled around the lake to the edge of the bird sanctuary where white ibis were nesting. Thousands dotted the trees with snow white wings. When we got close enough to see them, they took off. I made a quick video of this (It’s a bit shaky; I was in a canoe.) In the background you can hear my husband explaining the Cajun French word for Ibis, “bec croche,” means crooked beak.

On the road to Lake Martin, we passed a burning cane field. The field of sugarcane is traditionally burned before harvesting to make it easier to transport. There is controversy over whether this is harmful to the environment. To me, it is the scent of fall, smokey and sweet. Take a moment to listen to the burning of the cane field.

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Slice of Life Day 25.  Join the Two Writing Teachers Slice of Life Challenge.

Slice of Life Day 25. Join the Two Writing Teachers Slice of Life Challenge.

yellow top, butterweed

Driving down the road,
I stop to praise the wildflowers
guarding the gully
like yellow-billed soldiers.

I praise your sensible size,
clustered in God’s bouquet,
open to the arrival of bees,
spreading the wings of spring.

Your beauty is the first swamp color,
popping up in winter’s wake.
A glorious butterweed ribbon
unbounded, blowing in the fresh breeze.

Even with your death, you feed us,
such is the circle of life,
from compost to crawfish,
trapped, boiled, and Cayenne-peppered,
just in time for Good Friday Feasts.

–Margaret Simon

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Poetry Friday is here today!  Post links in the comments!

Poetry Friday is here today! Post links in the comments!

This summer I have been participating in Tabatha Yeats’ Poem Swap. In writing a poem a week, I have been discovering threads in my writing. I love nature, not to be confused with a love of gardening. But I often look to nature for my poetry wisdom. I recently sent a group of poems to a contest. I titled the group “Among the Oaks.” When I walk in my neighborhood, I look to nature for inspiration, everything from the water of the bayou to the birds in the trees, and, of course, the trees themselves. When Tabatha sent me my 4th name, I was thinking, “OK, this time I will write something for that person.” But the poem turned out to be another nature poem. I give up. This is where my pen wants to move, so I will follow it.

A poet friend once told me, “Write a poem every week and by the end of the year, you have 52 poems. A whole manuscript!” I have not put together a whole manuscript of poems. I’m frankly scared to think about it. Perhaps I can follow this nature thread to a whole book? Then I fear the inspiration will end. Hah, you thought you knew what you were doing. Nope, not yet.

I have gotten so much inspiration and encouragement from this Poetry Friday community. We seem to have unwritten rules of respect and appreciation. Since many of you will stop in today to link up, I just wanted to thank you. Thanks for reading, commenting, encouraging, and being a lover of poetry.

Neighborhood Oaks photo collage by Margaret Simon

Neighborhood Oaks photo collage by Margaret Simon

I took these pictures in my neighborhood. It had rained the night before, so the resurrection fern was full and green. The moss was particularly shiny and wiggling in the wind. The title came first, which is seldom the case. It came from a statement my father made about a heron on his dock, “She is queen of all she surveys.” I loved the line and thought how it would apply to the live oak. The poem did not come as easily, and I am still not completely satisfied. It started off much more prose-like. I cut words, moved stanzas around. All this work ended up taking me to the same place a few other poems have this summer, to the idea of the mother, the mother in nature that loves us unconditionally and protects us always.

(I want to thank Tabatha for her suggestion for this poem’s ending. I have made these changes. See what I mean about a supportive and helpful community?)

What threads do you see in your poetry? How do you follow or resist these threads?

She is Queen of all She Surveys

Mother oak stands
for generations,
her long arms
clothed in fern,
open and green.

Here the mockingbird
defends her nest, squawking
at the passing squirrel.
Hanging moss wiggles grey fingers,
tickling the wind.

I want to live here
in her branches
among the birds
nestled in fern,
swaying, free,
still holding on to my mother
with tight fists.

–Margaret Simon, all rights reserved

Father Goose is here with light verse poems from the new online Light Quarterly today from his perch in the treehouse at the FATHER GOOSE Blog

Matt has a poem about George.

Myra at Gathering Books continues with her Loss, Heartbreak, and Coming of Age bimonthly theme with Frida Kahlo’s letter to Marty McConnell.

Mary Lee Hahn has a poem about habits at A Year of Reading.

At Random Noodling, Diane Mayr has an illustrated poem that she wrote to send to a Summer Poem Swap partner. Kurious Kitty is looking at snakes today with a poem by Margaret Atwood. KK’s Kwotes has a quote by Frances Clarke Sayers.

Laura Shovan has a tree poem today, too. Hers is told from the point of view of a fifth grader with learning differences. Author Amok

Tara was inspired by an exhibition of Georgia O’Keefe’s leaves at A Teaching Life.

Tabatha Yeats at The Opposite of Indifference is writing about sirens and their irresistible songs.

Liz Steinglass is writing about nature, too, observing herself observing the natural world.

Carol at Carol’s Corner is sharing Bob Raczka’s seasons series and even giving away a book!

Robin Hood Black has an August poem by Albert Garcia.

Today at The Poem Farm, Amy has a small how-to poem and a visit from Margy Grosswendt. She tells about her recent travels to Bosnia where she volunteered in an orphanage and shared creative movement exercises with the children there.

Mandy joins in at Enjoy and Embrace Learning with a Hello original poem.

Steven Withrow has an original poem at Crackles of Speech, Chain Rhyme for Goldilocks.

Violet Nesdoly has a review of a friend’s chapbook, Humble Fare.

Anastasia posted a small poem about a large number of steps.

MM Socks has royalty on the mind with an original poem “Playing King.”

A short poem by Richard Brautigan entitled April 7, 1969 is on the menu at the Florian Cafe.

Semicolon Sherry has some thoughts on the Korean poems called Sijo, and on Linda Sue Park’s book called Tap Dancing on the Roof.

Heidi at My Juicy Little Universe has a reentry poem about the joy of 5-year-olds and a little dip-your-toes-in original.

Keri at Keri Recommends is sharing a poem gift from noodle-icious Diane Mayr for the Summer Poem Swap.

Joy Acey is waving to us from the top of a wavy poem at Poetry for Kids Joy.

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Slice of Life Challenge Day 25

Slice of Life Challenge Day 25


This is a clogyrnach, a Welsh poetry form inspired by Paul at birds and trees of the mind. This wisteria blooms each spring outside my bedroom window. I think I write a poem about it every year.

Lavender locks lighten the sky.
In bloom, wisteria curls cry
sweet nectar of tears,
purple popcorn tears.
Bumblebees lick them dry.

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