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Posts Tagged ‘Nature poems’

Always on the lookout for a photo wanting to be a poem, I pay attention to photography on Instagram. James Edmunds often posts amazing photos from his travels with Susan. James and Susan live in my neighborhood and have been friends of ours for years. James has a wit comparable to his good friend, author Calvin Trillin. He posted this photo of a heron taken in Gulf State Park, Alabama on his most recent jaunt into nature with Susan. Not only did the picture attract my eye, but his clever wordplay caption made me chuckle.

Inside every heron is… hero! by James Smith Edmunds

I’ve been playing with metaphor dice lately, and thanks to Taylor Mali, now have a set of make-your-own dice. I rolled and got this metaphor. “Kindness is a blue poem.” Even when you make your own, they stretch the brain cells.

Kindness
is a blue
poem
written for
the hero
who makes
me smile.

Margaret Simon, draft

Now it’s your turn. You can use the metaphor dice roll or not. As always, support other writers with comments. I am considering making a Facebook group to expand our horizons a bit. Let me know your thoughts. If you don’t already, follow me on Facebook @MargaretGibsonSimon.

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

The last two weeks have offered a wealth of writing inspiration as we participated in #write0ut, a National Writing Project and National Park Service collaboration. Teaching gifted kids challenges me to find quality writing activities that will inspire, motivate, and engage my young students. #Writeout 2021 did not disappoint. And the resources will remain available on the website here.

My students have created storyboards with Storyboard That about geological changes over time.

Chloe’s storyboard about Louisiana’s loss of wetlands.

They wrote poetry. Things to do if you’re a puppy by Avalyn:

Pound on a window when you want
to go on a walk, purr when you want pets.
Go outside and dig when you’re bored.
Lastly 
only bark when you’re in danger.

Avalyn, 2nd grade

On Friday, we ventured outside to the playground. At one school, there is a large live oak. My students sat underneath the tree for writing inspiration and gathered natural materials to create an art piece.

Katie gathers leaves for her notebook.
Avalyn observes a live oak tree.
Jaden’s are collage and poem

Golden petaled flowers
spring up from the ground

Leaves slowly drift
from each branch

Clouds painted
on the sky’s canvas

Tall great trees
with green leaves

Spider webs
glisten in the sunlight

Squawking birds
angrily yell

Fellow rodent squirrels
sprint across branches

For nature
For habitats
For life

Jaden, 6th grade (form inspired by Irene Latham)

Another #writeout prompt asked students to make a poster. We used Canva and Adalyn create this one. On Canva it’s animated. You can view the animated version here.

Created by Adalyn, 3rd grade using Canva

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After hurricanes and weeks and weeks of heat, things in the deep south are finally feeling like fall. Fall is one of my favorite seasons. Surprisingly not for the colorful foliage of today’s image, but for the scents in the air. Here in Louisiana, the sweet olive blooms. The satsuma ripens, and the sugarcane is harvested. A plethora of scent-sations. And don’t get me started on gumbo. If someone is making a roux, you can smell it for miles around.

This photo comes from the Northwest where my blogging friend Ramona Behnke lives and writes at Pleasures from the Page. We do not get this kind of color here. Most of our trees are live oaks and pines that stay green and cypress trees that drop brown fuzzies. But I do love a good photograph of fall leaves.

Fall leaves by Ramona Behnke

If the trees could play
a melody the wind
would sing, we’d know
the secrets of the song
and blend with
harmony.

Margaret Simon, draft

Write a small poem in the comments. Let the muse take you where it will. I have no idea where my little poem came from. Writing is like that, mysterious and magical in so many ways. Be sure to come back and write encouraging comments to each other. I love it when someone sees something in my poem in a new and different way than I did.

Today is the National Day on Writing, an initiative of NCTE and National Writing Project. Use the hashtag #WhyIWrite.

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Today I am cheating and doing this prompt backwards. I wrote a poem that I like from another Taylor Mali prompt. I remembered that I took a picture of the image I conjured in the poem. I am convincing myself that this is fair because I had the image in mind when I wrote the poem. Taylor’s website has a collection of fun prompts for teachers to use with kids. They work even with the youngest students that I teach (8 year olds). The one I used can be found here: Once I was a Flower.

Live Oak Branches, Margaret Simon

Once an owl lifted off
from a tangle of branches;
it rose above me
like a hot-air balloon.
It was fall
and morning chill sprinkled fog
over the bayou.
There I was left
floating alone–
solid, steel canoe.

Margaret Simon, draft

Now it’s your turn. If you want to use the prompt, begin with Once and end with an inanimate object. Or just write whatever the photo muse brings forth. Be sure to leave encouraging comments for other writers.

This response to the Once prompt is from my student Jaden in 6th grade.

Once I saw a moth
flew across my face
in the path of others
it was a fall sunset
I stood still
I was a light
Jaden, 6th grade

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Joining a community of writers responding to
open invitation no. 59 at
Sharing Our Stories Magic.

You know how sometimes without any prompting from you a “memory” pops up on your phone, a photo that you’d totally forgotten about and most often, enjoy seeing again. Jogging a memory of another time and place. But I’ve noticed when it comes to flowers, the memories are a repeated vision of the flower I took a picture of yesterday. That happened to me twice this week. Blooming seems so miraculous and random and something we have little control over. It just happens. There is consistency in the blooming of a flower. They come back around again.

This week I took a picture of this amazing gladiola. I shared a small poem in response on my Instagram.

This May morning
shows its gladiola heart
sipping summer sun.
Margaret Simon, #haiku #poemsofpresence

I found a similar photo in my phone album from a year ago. Last year during lock down when I was walking every day.

On Monday, I heard a call for poems from Kwame Alexander on NPR. He creates crowdsourced poems based on small poems people send in. This week’s prompt was from Maya Angelou’s poem “Still I Rise.” I wrote and sent in this small poem.

Still, I rise
with the sun
following a path
through watermint
where the scent 
fills me.

Still, I rise
to feel her gentle kicks
inside a waterwomb
knowing love grows
from my seed.

Still, I rise
to watch ducklings
drop to waterglory
following Mama hen
through fervent streams.  

Margaret Simon, all rights reserved

So I rise each day for a walk. I take photographs of flowers again and again. I will keep taking photos of flowers. Why not? They make me happy!

This Canna Lily came back after the big freeze. I take a picture of it every year.
Gardenia is my favorite scent. I’ve been unsuccessful at the growing of a gardenia bush.
For now, I enjoy cut ones in a vase in the church hall.

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Poetry Friday round-up is with Ramona at Pleasures from the Page.
Monarch momma in my backyard. Margaret Simon

Earlier this week, I witnessed a female monarch laying eggs in my milkweed. She was an unexpected, yet welcomed visitor. I watched while she flitted from leaf to leaf. I have gathered 10 of the leaves into a net habitat to wait and watch.

My writing partner Catherine Flynn wrote an etheree today on her site, Reading to the Core. Here is the definition of the form:

An etheree is a poem of ten lines in which each line contains one more syllable than the last. Beginning with one syllable and ending with ten, this unrhymed form is named for its creator, 20th century American poet Etheree Taylor Armstrong.

Inspired by Catherine’s Queen Anne’s Lace Etheree , I decided to write one about my monarch eggs.

Monarch Nursery

Pearl
on milkweed,
seed for monarch,
still and quiet August:
Promised ingredient
to Mother Earth’s recipe
for autumn migration glory.
Like watching the birth of a grandchild,
I’m mere observer of this miracle.

Margaret Simon, 2020

For my birthday last week, Catherine sent me this sweet golden shovel. I’ve met many kind people in the Poetry Friday community, and Catherine is one of the best. We’ve been in a writing group for five years. We meet by Zoom (even before the pandemic) every other week. I am blessed to have such a kind and loving writing partner. Thanks, Catherine. The feeling is mutual.

“…all that might be gained
from opening one’s heart wider.
Rebecca Mead, My Life in Middlemarch

How fortunate am I that of all
the people in the world that
I might
have met, I met you, a kindred spirit, destined to be
friends. So much to give, so much to be gained
by writing together, learning from
you, opening
my eyes to new vistas, so different from ones
I know, reaching my heart,
helping it grow wider.

Catherine Flynn

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Graphic design by Carol Varsalona. She is also hosting today at Beyond Literacy Link.

Living on the bayou gives me a daily view of seasonal changes. We have a huge cypress tree that drops its needles all over the back deck when the days grow shorter. They burst out in bright neon green as the days grow long.

While cypress respond to daylight, other plants respond to temperature changes. On my morning walk, I’ve been watching a Japanese magnolia bursting into bloom. Maybe it’s just me, but I think it blooms earlier and earlier each year. The beauty is striking. I used the tree as a subject for my Poetry Friday offering for tomorrow.

One way I pay attention to seasonal changes is to write poems. I am writing every day with #100daysofnotebooking and with Laura Shovan’s February poetry challenge. When I commit to a social media group, I have accountability, so I get it done.

On Saturday, I wrote a quick notebook draft responding to the quote by Robert Louis Stevenson “There is no music like a river’s”

Listen to the cry
of mother wood duck,
clicks of red-headed woodpecker
on the old oak.
Hear the train whistle
in the distance, and the peaceful
ringing of wind chimes.

The bayou wakes up slowly
on this winter Saturday
playing its music
for the clouds
welcoming first sun,
first light,
new day.

Margaret Simon, draft 2020
Photo by Nandhu Kimar, from Pexels.com

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Poetry Friday round-up is with Tabatha at The Opposite of Indifference.

Today is National Author’s Day, and my friend and critique partner Linda Mitchell challenged our writing group, The Sunday Night Swaggers, to write a poem inspired by a favorite author.

When she challenged us, I thought of the most recent book I read Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens. According to The New York Times Book Review, this book is “Painfully beautiful…At once a murder mystery, a coming-of-age narrative, and a celebration of nature.”

The poet in me was inspired by her beautiful writing about nature. I turned to a page and gathered words and lines to put together a poem “after Delia Owens.”

Sandbar

How quickly the sea and clouds 
defeat the spring heat,
how the grand sweep of the sea
and sand catch-net the most precious shells.
How its current
designs a sandbar, and another
but never this one again.

She had long known that people don’t stay.
This fiery current
was her heart-tide
releasing love to drift
among seaweed.

How drifting back to the predictable cycles
of tadpoles and the ballet of fireflies,
Nature is the only stone
that does not slip midstream.

Margaret Simon, found poem from Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens

Read my writing partners’ offerings for National Author’s Day:

Catherine at Reading to the Core
Linda at A Word Edgewise
Molly at Nix the Comfort Zone
Heidi at My Juicy Little Universe

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See more posts at Two Writing Teachers Slice of Life

 

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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