Posts Tagged ‘Mississippi’

Thank you to Two Writing Teachers for creating an amazing community of writers and a safe, welcoming space to write and share.

Every summer I look forward to Kate Messner’s Teachers Write virtual writing camp. The first week is this week. Kate invites us to go outside and reflect on a time when we felt fully whole. I went outside and ended up weeding a flower bed. It wasn’t too hot, and for a minute, it wasn’t raining. I had a “clunker” line from Linda Mitchell to work with. “August was long of light.” There was a time when we didn’t start school in August, and it felt like summer would go on and on.

Mississippi Heat Wave

August was long of light
in a Mississippi heat wave that summer of ‘72.
On the path to Purple Creek,
my flip-flops kept the stickers away
and mosquitos preferred Missy’s freckle-juice.
Covered in Off and Coppertone, we’d hold hands
to cross the waterfall, tip-toe trickle over a concrete slab.
On the other side was an endless pine forest. We’d walk
the path of dirt bikes, side-stepping ruts in the muddy red clay.
Avoiding under-the-bridge where the smoking kids hung out,
we’d wander to the stables, pick out a favorite horse, pretend they were ours.
Endless summer days
stretched out like a Gulf Coast beach
burned our tender noses,
streaked our blonde hair,
became a backdrop to childhood memories.

Margaret Simon, draft
Pine forest in Mississippi, photo by Margaret Simon

Read Full Post »

See more posts at Two Writing Teachers Slice of Life .

Living near nature puts you in touch with the sanctity of all life. I am spending Memorial Day weekend at my parents’ home on a lake in Mississippi. They watch the birds that come and go like they are their own family. Mom called me a few months ago to tell me the goslings had hatched. And now those babies have grown and still come by every afternoon. When years ago the Canada geese were invasive and leaving behind a stinky mess, now they are part of the nature of things that live with my parents. They cry out, “The babies are here!” My father says he has new respect for the species because the father stays with the mother and goslings.

Two Canada Geese families

Around Easter, I noticed a new contraption in my neighbor’s front oak tree. I couldn’t tell what it was, but there was a metal ladder, a wooden platform with a small umbrella set above it. What could this project be?

We saw our neighbors at the Boy Scout banquet last week and Svitlana shared with me her story. She had rescued a baby owlet and the mother owl. They had both been injured in a storm. Ric made a platform for her to place a basket on. She cared for the mother and child for about 6 weeks. She fed the mother who then fed her baby. I was enthralled by her story. She sent some pictures to me.

Svitlana rescues an owlet.

Mother barred owl in basket.

In her poetry, Mary Oliver reminds me to pay attention. We are all part of the family of things. Nature can guide us to ourselves and to God. I want to live in this knowledge and appreciate the sanctity of nature.

Read Full Post »



Sometimes on the lake in June
white pelicans fly in together
and you get out the camera.
Then they turn as a drumline in step,
swim away swiftly in a cloud.

Sometimes on the lake in June
a lone blue heron fishes.
Sly step, long beak held high,
drinking in the sunlight.
A small boat passes by
lines thrown out,
catching nothing.

Sometimes on the lake in June,
I wake before dawn,
put the coffee on,
Sometimes Dad will join me
silent, reading the daily news.
Mom comes in pleased to have fresh coffee.
We sit on the porch, quiet
content to be together
on the lake in June.

My parents live on a lake in Mississippi.  I am anticipating my annual visit in June. This poetry exercise can be found in Kate Messner’s 59 Reasons to Write.

Diane is hosting today at Random Noodling.

Diane is hosting today at Random Noodling.

Read Full Post »

Discover. Play. Build.

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


I’m here at the lake
Quietly watching the day go by
Talking with Mom and Dad
Taking a walk in the morning breeze
Eating the perfect pancake
Relishing the gift of time
Lingering and loving life

Read Full Post »

Join the Tuesday Slice of Life

Join the Tuesday Slice of Life


I have had a wonderful, peaceful week with my parents in Madison, MS. on New Castle Lake. They look out at the lake every day. There is something so calming about watching water. Each day, they are visited by a great blue heron, a gaggle of Canada geese, and a family of mallards. Each evening, the sun sets over the horizon making a new painting in the sky.

Sunset 1

Each day we embarked on an outing. The first fell on my mother’s birthday. We attended her monthly book club meeting that took place in a Circa 1908 Revival mansion The Fairview Inn B&B and restaurant. I loved being surrounded by smart southern women discussing books and life! They put a candle in Mom’s crème brûlée.

Happy Birthday, Dot!

Happy Birthday, Dot!

The next day the three of us went to the Mississippi Museum of Art for lunch and a viewing of the Old Masters to Monet. We also enjoyed the permanent collection and the quilt competition.

On Thursday, we went to the Mississippi Craftsmen Center on the Natchez Trace. So many talented artists and craftsmen in Mississippi!

The rest of the week included hearing my brother play with two other musicians at a fine restaurant, a bookstore visit with my dad, and seeing my sister-in-law in Steel Magnolias. She played the mother, M’Lynn and had me sobbing by the end.


My favorite part was just being there, having time to read, write, and visit with my family. One evening we sat out on the screened-in porch. I read aloud poems by Natasha Trethewey (who is originally from Mississippi) while Mom tracked the stars on her iPad. I wrote the following poem:

instead of TV,
we stargaze;
chart the evening sky on the iPad app.

Mom announces Venus
above the horizon
glimmering like an orange diamond,

not unlike the firefly
with its lonely, silent flashes.

When we stop talking,
frogs moan, crying
like spoiled children resisting bedtime:

Let me stay a little longer,
to find more stars,
to catch more stories,
to be more awake!

Read Full Post »

Slice of Life Tuesday

Slice of Life Tuesday

In celebration of National Poetry Month, I am teaching my students a different poetry form each day. Because of all the interruptions, (testing week, field trips, etc.) we are only on the letter I. Today we wrote I am From poems. The I am From form originated with a poem by George Ella Lyon entitled, “Where I’m From.” Alan Wolf writes about the form in his book, Immersed in Verse. We begin by analyzing Lyon’s poem which uses some wonderful literary elements, specificity, imagery, alliteration, metaphor. Then the students make their own lists of sites, sounds, and tastes from their own lives. The challenge comes when you want to make the poem go beyond the personal to the universal. I have tried this form several times, and I’m never totally happy with the results. For last year’s attempt and some student samples, click here.

My students are continuing to post on their Slice of Life kidblog
, so click the link to read some of their poems. Be sure to leave a comment.

I am from Sunday drives to Morton,
kisses from Grandmother, Aunt Laurie, and Sister,
picking pecans, and the musty smell
of homemade quilts and old tobacco.

I am from Beechcrest Drive,
running behind the sno-cone truck,
catching fireflies, and roller-skating
on the driveway, cartwheels in the grass.

I’m from climbing Paw Paw’s pink mimosa tree,
listening to loud opera,
From jumping on the trampoline
singing “Shimmy, Shimmy, my playmate,
Come out and play with me!”

I’m from loyal companions Loopy then Lucky,
from Bless-this-food-to-our-use
at every supper, surrounded by yellow-flowered
curtains in a bay window.

I am from the solid soil of Mississippi,
deep roots of oak and pine,
legacy of patience and drawl.

c) Margaret Simon

Easter photo with me, the oldest sitting, my brother and my younger sister.

Easter photo with me, the oldest sitting, my brother and my younger sister.

There are so many great poetry month happenings in the blogoshere. Today, I am the guest blogger at Caroline Starr Rose’s blog site, Caroline by Line. Please stop in and leave a comment. Check out the progress of the progressive poem by clicking on the date in the right side bar. I am following Greg Pincus at GottaBook. He posts a poem each day. Heidi Mordhorst is building a poem at My Juicy Little Universe, 30 days, 30 words. She chooses a different word from the comments each day to add to the poem. An interesting process. Happy Poetry Month!

Read Full Post »