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Posts Tagged ‘Nature poems’

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What a wonderful month full of poetry love!  Looking back over the month, I wrote 28 posts. The thing is to write one poem worthy of publishing on this blog, I had to write more than one poem a day.  Some will stay buried in my notebook.

Thanks to Mary Lee Hahn for inviting me to play along with her this month.  I’ve enjoyed sharing this playtime with Christie, Molly, Jone, and Elisabeth.

One of the perks of my teaching job is I get to write poetry every day with my students, too.  They’ve been working on a poetry project that included writing at least 5 poems and reading a poetry book.  We were immersed in poetry, between testing sessions, that is. You can read their poems at our kidblog site. 

Last night I participated in the #NYED Twitter Chat.  If you have a chance, check out the hashtag.  I made a Padlet of resources to use throughout the year.  It’s public and open for comments and additions.

The Progressive Poem is complete! I am so amazed at the talents of Donna Smith who pulled out a “found” ending and actually put the song to music.  Check it out! 

Another exciting part of this month was being a featured poet-teacher on Today’s Little Ditty.  Being among these poets was an honor: Classroom Connections. 

When you walk in poetry every day, everything becomes a poem.  This morning on my walk I dictated this poem.  The air was sweet with the scent of jasmine, gardenia, and magnolia.  The scents of the southern landscape energize and inspire me.  What do you see, hear, smell while walking?  Make each step into a poem.

Breathe the jasmine air.
Rest in Love,
the love that created you
as perfect as
a star blossom
on the vine of the world.
-Margaret Simon, draft 2019

 

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Two Writing Teachers Slice of Life March Challenge

Outside my window,
wind chimes
percussion the air.

Outside my window,
sun sinking
flashlights the trees.

Outside my window,
sweet olive blooms
perfume my breath.

Outside my window,
baldcypress needles
paintbrush neon green.

Outside my window,
still bayou
mirrors spring’s dance.

–Margaret Simon, (c) 2018

wind chimes photo by Margaret Simon

 

 

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Poetry Friday is with Heidi at My Juicy Little Universe

Photo from Flickr: Kelly Colgan Azar

When I was home last weekend with my parents and my sister’s family, we watched a Carolina wren feed a nest of babies inside a flower pot.  I posted about this miracle of nature here.  ( I even made a short video of the nesting chicks.)

My summer discipline includes writing a poem every day. In the Practice of Poetry, Deborah Digges offers an exercise titled “Evolutions” that can be traced back to Philip Levine.  “When you can’t write, try writing about an animal.” This exercise takes some research.  Having the internet at my fingertips helped me find information about Carolina wrens.

This exercise came with warnings: “be careful not to sentimentalize, to usurp the animal you have chosen by turning it into a flaccid symbol for human emotions…The animal is itself.”  I tend to over-sentimentalize, so I tried to focus on the behaviors of the birds.  After some work and a few writing partner critiques, I feel good about this one.

 

 

 

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Poetry Friday round-up  is here today.  Leave your link .

Poetry Friday round-up is here today. Leave your link .

 

 

Hollyhocks don’t grow here in South Louisiana.  On a recent visit to upstate New York, I was attracted to their stately stalks with large blossoms.  We encountered a few at the local garden supplier in Hebron, NY.
purple hollyhocks

 

Later, Tara let me know that she went back and bought some for her garden.  

Hollyhocks at Old Bedlam Farm.

Hollyhocks at Old Bedlam Farm.

And then I encountered an image in Better Homes and Gardens. I didn’t order this magazine, but it seems to keep showing up in the mailbox.  I love the images of wild gardens that I could never grow.

 

 wild hollyhocks

While in New york, we visited Owl Pen books. I found a treasure, a collection of Emily Dickinson’s nature poems. I used the form of one of these poems and wrote my own version. This poem and the book are headed to my next poetry swap friend.

The Garden
After Emily Dickinson

I’ll tell you how the Hollyhocks rose–
A Blossom at a time–
The Petals glistened like Rubies–
The Bees and Hummers buzzed–
The Trees unfurled their branches–
The Bulbul–beloved–
Then I said softly to myself–
“That must have been the Dew!”
But how he wept–I saw not–
There seemed a dampness sincere
That little ants did clamor here
And led me to the waiting pew,
Woven easily among Lilies–
Morning Glories in blue–
And then I saw– You.

Poets and Readers: Use the Link Button below.

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NPM2016

Last week I led myself and my students into image poems.  We imagined a scene in nature (or on water) and wrote to this list of line prompts from the River of Words Teacher’s Guide. 

Prompts for the Teacher:

~ Think about this spot. Sketch it if you like.

~ Picture yourself in this location.Write a line or sentence that describes what you are doing and exactly where you are: “Sitting on a sandbar on the banks of the Calcasieu River in IndianVillage, Louisiana.”

~ In your imagination, look up.What do you see? Begin this line with “Above me” or “Over my head.”Try to use a simile in this line.

~ Now look into the distance, as far as you can see.Write what you see.

~ Describe a sound you might hear in this place.

~ What is on your right?

~ Hone in on a single detail in this scene.Try to describe it, using an unusual or vivid verb in the line.

~ Shift your perspective and your position—stand up, flop down, walk away—and notice another detail in the landscape: the quality of light, the time of day, a seasonal plant or animal,for example.

~ Finally, read over your images and see if you can conclude with a reflective line that somehow captures how you feel about being in this place.(You might caution students not to rush this line; it may occur to them later as they compose their poem).

rope swing

Swinging by the bayou on the grandmother oak,
legs curled around knotted rope,

Above me branches drape like outstretched arms
holding strong,

Sky opens up to a flash of egret flickering through the trees.

The echo of a far-off motor drums the quiet.

The holding tree is the oldest oak I know.
Hanging moss twirls in a wind-dance.

Jumping from the rope-grip,
my feet fall on fronds of greening fern.

My swinging is a brief sparkle in this grandmother’s eye.

–Margaret Simon

Here is Vannisa’s poem.  She pointed to a postcard from Marjorie Pierson’s collecting of wetlands photographs as her inspiration. Click here to view the image.

Standing in the shade,
on the edge of a swamp
where there are cypress trees
with snakes and alligators
lurking within the waters

Over my head,
thick branches and leaves
sway over me as a roof,
with moss dropping down
like the strings of balloons
that fly to the ceiling

In the distance
more trees and gators are
still creeping underneath

Insect buzzing
filling my ears,
the tweets of birds
travel from above

On my right,
a tree trunk
with bugs crawling in a line
making their way up and around

Mother duck and her ducklings
swim all over
yawing around places where
mother knows it’s unsafe

Moving away from the shade,
the water reflects
the afternoon sun into my eyes,
glistening in the light

This artistic landscape
won’t be able to stay forever,
you won’t notice it,
but the wetlands are quickly washing away.

–Vannisa, 6th grade

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SOL #27

SOL #27

Join the roundup with Jone at Check it Out.

Join the roundup with Jone at Check it Out.

Mr. Al surrounded by children.

Mr. Al surrounded by children.

With our 6th grade students in the parish (district), we have been doing an enrichment Wednesday each month that we call WOW for Way Out Wednesday. This year’s theme has been wonder. One of the wonders of our area is this huge old oak tree named Mr. Al. A few years ago, Mr. Al was in the way of a planned service road next to the highway. Protesters were instrumental in getting Mr. Al moved to a safer location. He now overlooks an intersection of the highway, Highway 90 at Weeks Island Road.

This past Wednesday was a gorgeous spring day. We took the 20 students out to Mr. Al for a picnic. They sketched and wrote poetry. I coached the poetry writing with a suggestion that they look outside and write description, then look inside for a memory or inner feelings, then go outside again. Darian came to me with an idea. She was caught up on the directions, though. She told me she saw the whole area as a kingdom and Mr. Al was the king. I loved this creative response and told her, “Yes, this idea is using your imagination that is inside you.” She crafted this poem.

What a wonderful way to honor Mr. Al with writing and drawing. The time was peaceful and productive. A true gift to the students and their teachers.

A tree in the middle of nowhere,
As lonely as can be.
But the tree is not as lonely,
As the eye can see.
Ferns and flowers, moss and thorns,
Give the tree some company.

The hill is a castle,
Its rightful ruler on top.
A king greater than all kings.
King Al is protected by his guards,
The ants and spiky plants.
His loyal citizens obey his commands,
For they are the flowers,
purple, yellow, white and green.
His advisers–the fern, magnolia and evergreen,
Work together in harmony.

Long branches reach out,
As if to be holding up the sky.
Leaves more numerous than stars.

Mr.Al is a wonder of nature,
Nature of wonder .​

–Darian, 6th grade

Mr. Al 2

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Join the roundup with Linda at Teacher Dance.

Join the roundup with Linda at Teacher Dance.

I like to keep my poetry in practice, so I often enlist my students in my pet projects.  I love Laura Purdie Salas and her blog site.  Every Thursday she posts a picture and asks writers to post a poem comment using 15 words or less.  Not every Thursday, but many of them, I show her image to my first bunch in the morning.  We talk about the image, someone rings the sacred writing bell, and we write.

Yesterday, Laura posted an old tree.  I listened to my first grader, the youngest of the bunch, explain to a fifth grader what he needed to do.  “Look at the picture.  Then use your imagination.”  We read Laura’s poem and Jacob said, “I’m stealing the word squirrels.”  I swear this kid could lead a writing workshop already!

LPSalas old tree

Old Tree by Laura Purdie Salas

 

 

I posted this poem early in the morning.  The tree image reminded me of the old live oak in our backyard.

 Grandmother Oak

With footholds to climb
Eyes that see time
Stories in my rings
Come swing.

–Margaret Simon

grandmother oak sunset

Grandmother oak in the sunset

 

 

Then I wrote again with my students.

Stories told
from a wisdom of scars
wrinkled into skin
like crevices on this old tree.

–Margaret Simon

 

If you would like to play, go to Laura’s site on Thursday mornings.  It’s a fun place to be.

Old People

Two old men
bickering every day
scaring nature away.
These old hags
should calm down.
–Tyler, 6th grade

 

Another poetry practice project I am doing is on another Laura’s site, Laura Shovan of Author Amok.  I am joining some fabulous poets writing to sound prompts.  Check it out!

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