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Posts Tagged ‘nature poem’

This week’s round up is hosted by Rebecca at Sloth Reads.

Each week I receive an email with writing prompts from Poets & Writers The Time is Now. A few weeks ago this was the prompt for poetry.

Several years ago, New York Public Library staff discovered a box filled with file cards of written questions submitted to librarians from the 1940s to 1980s, many of which have been collected in the book Peculiar Questions and Practical Answers: A Little Book of Whimsy and Wisdom From the Files of the New York Public Library (St. Martin’s Griffin, 2019). Questions include: “What does it mean when you’re being chased by an elephant?” and “Can you give me the name of a book that dramatizes bedbugs?” and “What time does a bluebird sing?” Write a poem inspired by one of these curiously strange questions. Does your poem provide a practical answer, or avoid one altogether leading instead to more imaginative questions?

The Time is Now, Oct. 29, 2019

I used the question “What time does a bluebird sing?” to inspire a poem.

Photo by Henry Cancienne

What Time Does a Bluebird Sing?

Morning is filled with birdsong.
If it’s not yet sunrise, I hear the owl whoot.
If the sun’s up and there’s an electric pole nearby, 
it’s the woodpecker—drumming, not singing,
but musical all the same. 

Echoing through the breeze
sings Papa cardinal
and soon the mockingbird joins in
with a trill up the scales.

Where is the bluebird? 
Hiding in a grove of trees near the swamp,
shyly tweeting,
a flash of blue
the color of sky,
song of morning.

Margaret Simon, draft 2019

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Poetry Friday round-up is with Irene at Live Your Poem.

My poet-friend and writing group partner, Molly Hogan, is a fine art photographer in her spare time. She lives in Maine and posts amazing photos on her blog and Facebook page. Sometimes her photos inspire me to respond in poetry.

photo by Molly Hogan

Dawn on the Marsh

Dawn on the marsh glows
like embers, like the final flash of a torch
lighting the tiny particles of fog 
rising ghost-like and dreamy.

High in the sky
geese line up
to honk their way south

In the distance, deer graze,
tentatively perk their ears
to your sound.

You do not feel the cold
that numbs your fingers and toes
as you click the lens of your camera

whispering a prayer of thanks.

Margaret Simon, draft 2019

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Poetry Friday round-up is with Christie at Wondering and Wandering

Christie Wyman has invited the Poetry Friday community to write about trees this week. I am back in school and have so missed the days of writing alongside my students. Because I am itinerant and teach at three schools, I have three opportunities to write during the day. That gave me time to write, read aloud, revise, write. Not to mention the joy my students felt to be back in the saddle of writing.

We used “That was Summer” by Marci Ridlon as a mentor text. The repetition makes this form an easy one to mimic. I chose to write about the different trees we see each season.


Seasons of Trees
after Marci Ridlon “That was Summer”

Remember that time
when the rope swing hung
from the old oak tree
the knot round and rough?
You wrapped your skinny legs on tight
let someone give you a push
your head leaned back
tongue out, tasting the breeze.
That was summer.

Remember that time you gathered pecans
plopping one by one
into grandfather’s tin bucket?
You held the brown nut to the metal cracker,
and turned the handle until Crack!
Tasting hickory butter sweetness.
That was autumn.

Remember when the wind turned cold,
Flakes fell softly on the trees,
and you bundled up and walked
with your sisters through rows and rows
of Christmas spruce,
playing hide and seek
and searching for the just-right one.
That was winter.

Remember how the warm sun rose
on the Japanese magnolia
prompting firm blossoms
to open like helium-filled party balloons?
Remember how you walked near
to smell the strong rosy scent
that could make you sneeze?
That was spring.



Margaret Simon, draft, 2019
image from Pixabay

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Poetry Friday round-up is with Tricia at The Miss Rumphius Effect

It’s Poetry Friday, and I don’t have a post prepared.

I followed links to CLMOOC, a summer gathering of writing project folks to stretch their thinking. Kevin Hodgson writes:

Here in CLMOOC, we’ve always actively pushed back on the “massive”. While MOOCs often were built to scale large, CLMOOC has often comfortably settled into the small. So, this July and August, we invite you to look closer at the world, to find balance with the small scale of things around you.

Kevin Hodgson

Kevin introduced a new term to me, feldgang. A feldgang is slowing down to notice something in a new or different way. This idea fascinates me. Poetry lends itself to feldganging (not sure if that is a real word.)

This morning I am combining feldgang with greenbelt writing, that writing that is wild and unpredictable and possibly of no real worth at all. A first draft of a poem while looking out my kitchen window:

The chickadees come to the feeder
chick-a-dee-dee-deeing.
They flitter their tiny bodies
in the trees, and try to stay unnoticed,
like butterflies to a bright flower.

I notice them
and think of this simple act
of feeding the birds,
a small plastic feeder,
some seed from a plastic bag.

I invite these small visitors
to my kitchen window.
I laugh at their tiny tweets.
Begin my day with a lighter step.

Margaret Simon, draft, 2019

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See more posts at Two Writing Teachers Slice of Life

It doesn’t take much to bloom–
a space in the yard
tucked away from plain view
safe from weeds and snakes.

Just stretch out your branches,
bend to the light,
open your eyes
and be white lace, clouds of lace

woven on air
swept up in a tangle of wind
waiting for hope.
That’s all it takes to bloom.

(c) Margaret Simon

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Poetry Friday round-up is with Jama at Jama’s Alphabet Soup.

 

Autumn takes its time coming to South Louisiana.  It comes in small, unnoticeable ways like the browning of cypress trees, or in larger, violent ways as in a storm leading a cold front. So here we are on the second day of November and temperatures have dropped to the 50’s, a pleasant change from the 80’s to 90’s of the previous six months.  I so envy the images of orange and red fall leaves filling the trees.

Since we have not changed our clocks quite yet, the sun is coming up later each morning, and I’ve noticed a heron on the bayou sitting right in the direct ray of the rising sun.  I tried to capture him with my telephoto lens, but he heard me and flew off.  No matter.  I can still write him into a poem.

Carol Varsalona curates a gallery at her blog site for every season.  Currently she is collecting images and poems for Abundant Autumn. I borrowed a photograph of a heron at the beach from fellow poet (and better photographer than me) Wendi Romero to use as a backdrop to my poem. I love how the challenges of Poetry Friday peeps push me to spread my writing wings.

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Poetry Friday round-up  is with Carol at Carol's Corner.

Poetry Friday round-up is with Carol at Carol’s Corner.

Deer in woods near New Castle Lake.

Deer in woods near New Castle Lake.

I’m feeling a little guilty sitting on the porch on the lake in Mississippi surrounded by my loving family and a blanket of warmth (highs already reaching upper 90’s). There is so much happening in the world that feels out of control, out of my reach of consciousness. And yet I look at nature and see the connections.

On my drive here to my parents’ house, I listened to podcasts. On the TED radio hour episode titled Becoming Wise, I heard the word mbuntu. In this story, South African Boyd Varty speaks about how animals already know this concept, that I am because we are.

I think we all need more mbuntu in our lives. We need to turn our focus on each other to be fully who we are.

The kayaker doesn’t look up
to see me watching him,
seeing how his body,
his paddle,
the water are one.
Stroke right, stroke left
sends a ripple from the water
to the trees,
where light dances like fine feathers.

Branches spread from bald cypress
to shade the grass,
hide the tree frog,
nest the swallow.
A bird calls
Here-a-here-a-here.
Cicadas buzz
like maracas at a Spanish festival.
The sun rises
to the sound of Samba.

–Margaret Simon

mbuntu

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