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Posts Tagged ‘swamp’

  Join the Two Writing Teachers Slice of Life Challenge.

Join the Two Writing Teachers Slice of Life Challenge.

Hydrilla

Hydrilla

Acadiana Wordlab keeps me in touch with my creative side. This weekend Clare Martin led us in a mysterious exercise. Well, she touted it as a mysterious exercise. In truth, she led us in open-ended prompts.

For our first round of writing, she had us each choose a page of the newspaper. I grabbed an article about Hydrilla, a plant that is invading local marshes. I was fascinated by the article and learned about this intrusive species as well as about the mythical creature for which it is named. My poem is more of a found poem, reworking words from the article. I can see this activity working in the classroom, finding poetry in the news.

Hydra1

Hydrilla

Hydra, that nine-headed creature,
kept growing heads—two
for every one cut off.

This monster invaded the lake years ago
choking waterways, native plants,
and your boat’s propeller.

Beware! it grows over
and under the swamp, a nuisance,
a bother, a downright sore oppressor.

There is a plan from the parish president
to lower the level of water
dry out the hellacious suckers.

“Time to nurture kindness
to our natural ecosystem, to restore
the old cycle of flood to dry-bed.”

Don’t let your heart bleed
for this monstrous water weed.
Just allow the soft earth to learn

from her mistakes,
To chop off its head and wait
with a hatchet in hand to catch
the two growing back.

–Margaret Simon, all rights reserved

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Slice of Life Challenge Day 18

Slice of Life Challenge Day 18


One year old alligators wait to be tossed into the wild swamp.

One year old alligators wait to be tossed into the wild swamp.

When you live in South Louisiana, you have to get used to eating crawfish (love them!) and boudin (haven’t developed a taste for this one.) We live near bayous, not rivers. We dance to Cajun and Zydeco music. And we wrestle with alligators! Not really. In fact, I’ve lived on the Bayou Teche for more than 8 years, and I have not seen one anywhere close to our yard. Nevertheless, the alligator is an important and sometimes frightful reptile around here.

When I was scrolling through Facebook yesterday, I enjoyed the pictures and video of one of my daughter’s friends, Lizzy. She and her mom had gone out that morning to a rice farm near Abbeville to help release baby alligators back into the wild. The farmers harvest the eggs and incubate them. In the spring, they hatch them. I recall years ago when these same farmers showed up in the parking lot of our school hauling crates of dead grass. When the crates were opened, we could see soft white eggs popping up from the grass bed. When the farmer handed an egg to a student, he instructed them to rub the eggs and the tiny alligator began to emerge. The stimulation helped them hatch out of the egg. Of course, in the wild, the momma gator rubs her eggs when the time comes. The kids were so thrilled to be hatching the little gators. I even did it, as scared as I am of reptiles.

The first gator to be tossed.  Behind notice all the bags.  Each holds 1-2 baby alligators.

The first gator to be tossed. Behind notice all the bags. Each holds 1-2 baby alligators.

Lizzy and her mom, Lisa were invited to help release some of the baby alligators that were hatched last year. They were tossing them into the swamp. According to Lizzy, the eggs had been harvested, incubated, and hatched a year ago. Because of the policies of Wildlife and Fisheries, a percentage of the hatch has to be returned to the wild. This is the way they do it. A grand celebration of lively gator tossing.

From Lizzy: ” It was fun to handle baby alligators (in a safe environment with skilled professionals). It was a bit scary when the animals wiggled around (I am a person who does not like the company of snakes because of their serpentine movements) since the motion is a bit creepy to me. I often forgot that their mouths were banded (before we tossed them), so when I would grab them from the sack/ground, my natural reaction was always to flinch each time the alligator lifted its head in defense. Overall, it was a lively and entertaining experience.”

This video shows Lizzy’s mom, Lisa, tossing a gator.

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Traveling Haiku

foggy highway

I.
Fog lingers with mist–
highway disappears from view:
keep the low lights on.

II.
Black and white spots graze
in fertile flat fields green–
cow-friends meeting.

III.
One road to same sky–
winter trees sleep in bare branches
showing their true selves.

IV.
Turn on a new playlist–
sun illuminates sprouting
swamp grass wildflowers.

Margaret Simon, all rights reserved

Follow me on Twitter at @MargaretGSimon

Linda at Teacher Dance is hosting Poetry Friday.

Linda at Teacher Dance is hosting Poetry Friday.

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