Archives: Poems about Nature

A Visit to the Bayou

Welcome, readers. We’re going on a field trip today!

Don’t worry, there are no planes, trains, or automobiles involved in this trip. To join me on Louisiana’s Bayou Teche, all you need to do is open the pages of a book.

Bayou Song was published in June by University of Louisiana at Lafayette Press. You can find it on Indiebound.

We have two tour guides to the plant and animal life, the sights and sounds of the bayou. Poet and educator Margaret Gibson Simon and illustrator Anna Amelia Cantrell. The book also includes photography by Henry Cancienne. (Note: The photographs were not available in my review copy of Bayou Song.)

From the opening poem and images of our Bayou Song experience, Margaret and Anna invite us to read, explore, write our own poems, sketch, and learn about the natural world of this unique landscape.

Although I have traveled to many states and a few countries, I have never been to Louisiana. As a lifelong resident of the Mid-Atlantic states (New Jersey and Maryland, specifically), I found this poetic field guide to the bayou fascinating. For each animal, plant, and tree featured in the book, the reader is treated to brief informative text and photos, a poem and accompanying illustration, and a “you try” spread with prompts — and extra space — for writing and drawing.

Let’s take a peek at one stop on the tour: Bald Cypress Trees.

From Bayou Song: Creative Explorations of the South Louisiana Landscape. Click on the picture for a better view.

You’ll find photographs of Bald Cypress trees at the National Forest Foundation’s Sentinels of the Swamp page. Now let’s look at the poem and illustration.

Click on the image to get a closer look.

Cypress Zeno
by Margaret Gibson Simon

They stick up like a woody weed
grounding cypress
roots that
sculpted figures
Not really knees
so I’m

Do you ask questions when you’re on a tour? I usually do. Here are a few things I wanted to ask Margaret:

You have not always lived near the bayou. What were your first impressions of it?

I grew up in Jackson, Mississippi.  Purple Creek ran behind my childhood home. It was a small body of water, but I remember taking walks in the woods over the “waterfall” which was actually a group of concrete scraps.  The sounds of nature and the animals that lived near water have always attracted me.  My parents currently live on a lake.  The herons, ducks, and Canada geese on their lake have all made their way into my poems. Waterways have always been a part of my life.

My first impressions of the bayou were more cautious and fearful than they are now.  After spending time out canoeing with my husband, I am not so worried about the creatures there.  I once watched a snake back away from our canoe as it tried to ingest a large fish.  It was actually more fascinating than frightening.

How has this setting influenced your writing?

I don’t think I have yet exhausted the ways I can write about the bayou.  As I answer your questions, I am looking out at the setting sun beaming a light on a cypress tree and listening to the loud cicadas.  Poetry allows me to capture this amazing setting over and over.

If you were playing tour guide for a friend who had never been to the bayou, where would you take them? What would you want them to see? 

We have taken visitors on canoe trips on the bayou.  I would not take them in any other kind of boat.  A canoe makes you one with the water.  You become part of the bayou.  The experience is slow and peaceful.  I would show them grandmother oak in our backyard, a live oak that is one of the oldest in New Iberia, 250+ years. I would also show them the fields of sugarcane and the old mill down the bayou.  I’d take them to a boardwalk off Main Street or on a walk in City Park.  We have a plantation home, The Shadows on the Teche, where I’ve taken students on a writing marathon.  The grounds are beautiful and make you feel like you are walking in a different time. I hope you will come someday, Laura.

I would love that, Margaret. “A canoe makes you one with the water” is tugging at my heart already.

Margaret Simon is a Mississippi native who married into a Louisiana life.  She lives on the Bayou Teche in New Iberia, Louisiana with her husband, Jeff.  Their now empty nest once housed three daughters, Maggie, Katherine, and Martha.  Margaret has been an elementary school teacher for 31 years, most recently teaching gifted students in Iberia Parish.  She has published poems in the journal The Aurorean, anthologies for Today’s Little Ditty, in Poetry Friday Power Book Here We Go, and in National Geographic’s the Poetry of US.  Border Press published her collection of poems with her father’s Christmas card art, Illuminate in fall of 2013.  Blessen, a novel for young readers, was published in April 2012, also by Border Press. In her teaching profession, she has a Masters degree in Gifted Education and certification by the National Boards for Professional Teaching Standards.  Margaret writes a blog regularly at

Would you like to know more about Bayou Song? Continue your tour at these blogs, where you’ll find more poems and illustrations from the book, interviews with Margaret Gibson Simon, and other surprises.

Friday, June 22: Michelle Kogan
Tuesday, June 26: Catherine Flynn at Reading to the Core
Friday, July 6: Kimberly Hutmacher at Kimberly Hutmacher Writes
Friday, July 13: Linda Mitchell at A Word Edgewise
Tuesday, July 17: Laura Shovan 
Tuesday, July 24 Amanda Potts at Persistence and Pedagogy
Friday, July 27: Carol Varsalona at Beyond LiteracyLink
Monday, July 30 Linda Baie at Teacher Dance
Friday, Aug. 3 Dani Burtsfield at Doing the Work that Matters

2016 Found Object Poem Project: Day 24

It’s Day 24 of our 2016 daily write-in. This year’s theme is FOUND OBJECTS. We have a new writing prompt for every day in February.

For those of you who are new to my blog, please read my introductory post about the February daily write-in. You’ll find more information and all of the Week 4 FOUND OBJECTS at this post.

I’ve ordered the prizes for most frequent contributors. Can you believe we have less than a week to go?

Now that we are in the home stretch, do you find your words flowing quickly? I missed several days last week, but surprised myself with a steamy ode to a book cart yesterday.

On to Day 24. I’m having some formatting issues with today’s post — sorry about that!

106FOUND: Bird’s Nest

We’ve had several natural objects over the course of the project. Many of us have stories about happening upon a birds’ nest in an unexpected place. I remember little birds nesting in my grandparents’ hedgerows when I was a child. It was a thrill to peek between the tight leaves and branches to see eggs sitting in their nest.

I hope that Matt Forrest Esenwine will stop by today to tell us more about this nest. Here is his haiku, which identifies the birds.

Phoebe meets Phoebe,
family flourishes; soon
five wee Phoebes fly

– © 2016, Matt Forrest Esenwine, all rights reserved

Jessica Bigi sent me a note along with her poem today. When an image or object like this nest triggers a memory, that’s rich soil for a piece of writing to grow in.

Jessica shared these memories: “I had a dear neighbor, Hannah, who always talked of birds building nest on her porch… One year a robin built a nest on my mom’s window sill around Easter. When I was just a little girl I had scared a robin and it dropped its worm. I picked it up and hid behind our lilac bush and dangled it. The bird took it from my hand.”

Photograph: Jessica Bigi

Seasons of Our Lives
By Jessica Bigi

We rest in woven words
Of those we love
How’s wings of love cradled us
When home seems distant
We wrap ourselves
In broken memories of
A home we once remembered
Nests of hope on the
windowsills of our hearts
For in the springs of our lives
Robins build their nest
At summers end their hatchlings
Fly into new beginnings of life
Reminding us that our lives and
homes must change as each season
folds into new beginings
We rest in woven words
Of those we love
Diane Mayr is in with one of her wonderful haiku. On her blog, Random Noodling, Diane has a great series called “Haiku Sticky.”
humans resign
themselves to the back entry
…swallows’ nest
I like the way that Heidi Mordhorst’s language in this poem mimics the “found object” quality of a birds’ nest built from whatever materials are on hand.
homewe daren’t open that door© Heidi Mordhorst 2016
Mary Lee Hahn has a poem in the voice of the nest’s inhabitants.

Sure, it’s small,
but to us, it’s cozy.

Yes, there’s a lot of traffic here,
but, well, you get used to it.

It’s kind of a mess,
but I’ll tidy up just as soon as I get the chance.

What you can’t see
is the perfection of light in the mornings.

You can’t know
the lingering warmth in the early evenings.

And I’m sure you can’t imagine
our view of the stars when the rest of the world is dark.

©Mary Lee Hahn, 2016

Check out Mary Lee’s blog post for today

I decided to work with the memory of my British grandmother’s garden.
by Laura Shovan
Every nest is tucked into the hedgerows
of the Old Rectory. Every scolding sparrow
watches my brother and me
with a nervous eye. Every nest
holds a memory of my grandmother
in her brown dress, parting the branches
so we might peer into that dark,
tight bramble of green, which hid
a bowl of eggs no bigger than my thumb.
Charles Waters incorporated a schoolyard rhyme into his poem. What fun!

By Charles Waters

Two love birds sitting in a tree:
Lovely, dovey, OMG.
T – W – Double E – T
Hubba, Hubba, leave them be.


We are in the haiku zone today, my friends. Here, Linda Baie made me think of the noise and movement that come with a busy nest.
on the back porch,
kids crowd the nest in cozy congestion –
millennials in the bird world.
Linda Baie ©All Rights Reserved
Donna Smith used the detail that Matt shared about the nest’s inhabitants in her poem.

We Three Phoebes (or Christmas in July)
By Donna Smith

We three Phoebes of
New Hampshire peek
Out of the nest
And open each beak;
Flies from Mamma,
Beetles from Papa,
Insects are what we seek.

Ohhh – oh!

Wings of wonder,
Wings of flight,
Wings of phoebes
Strong and light;
Nest we’re leaving,
Flight achieving,
We will fledge in a fortnight.

©2016, Donna JT Smith, all rights reserved


Carol Varsalona also has a family connection with the nest and her poem for today. I hope you’ll stop by her blog to see the photograph she’s paired with this poem and story.

Carol says, “I have one of my own at my post but my daughter who is buying for the first time fell in love with a house that has pet odors (dog, cats, birds). This may mean having to take up the hardwood floors.”

Home Builders

Keys to a new home-
closer look-
a festive spring touch
outside our new front door-
a do it yourself decorating service?

Wait a minute,
did we ask for
shared space with neighbors?

Residency requirement needed immediately.
Whose paying the rent?

Moving day!!!

©Carol Varsalona, 2016


Sticking with our haiku theme today, here is Jone Rush MacCulloch’s contribution.

Sayornis phoebe
mud and grass dwellers
no flies here


Hawaii 088


See you tomorrow for Day 25.

REMINDER: If you have contributed any poems that have not been posted yet, please send me a reminder either in the comments or via email. I aim to have all of the poems up by the project wrap-up on Friday, March 4.

Interested in what we’ve written so far? Here are links to this week’s poems:

Sunday, February 21
FOUND OBJECT: Antique Sewing Machine
Poems by: Diane Mayr, Linda Baie, Jone Rush MacCulloch, Jessica Bigi, Matt Forrest Esenwine, Donna Smith, Carol Varsalona, Charles Waters.

Note: You will find links to all of  the Week 1, 2, and 3 poems at this post.

Monday, February 22
FOUND OBJECT: Stick Insect
Poems by: Mary Lee Hahn, Donna Smith, Carol Varsalona, Jessica Bigi, Charles Watesr, Jone Rush MacCulloch, Linda Baie, Diane Mayr.

Tuesday, February 23 at BOOKSEED STUDIO
FOUND OBJECT: Library of Congress Cart
Poems by: Jan Godown Annino, Jessica Bigi, Donna Smith, Linda Baie, Laura Shovan, Carol Varsalona, Diane Mayr, Mary Lee Hahn, Charles Waters.

2016 Found Object Poem Project: Day 22


Enjoy some birthday cake with me.

It’s Day 22 of our 2016 daily write-in. This year’s theme is FOUND OBJECTS. We have a new writing prompt for every day in February.

For those of you who are new to my blog, please read my introductory post about the February daily write-in. You’ll find more information and all of the Week 4 FOUND OBJECTS at this post.

PLEASE NOTE: This year, a few friendly bloggers have volunteered to host a day or two. Tomorrow’s post, which is DAY 23, will be at Jan Godown Annino’s blog, Bookseed Studio. Leave your Day 23 responses here, in the comments, or you can leave them at Jan’s blog. We will both make sure your poems get posted.


Thanks to Poetry Friday blogger Buffy Silverman for finding this handsome master of camouflage for us today.

Mary Lee Hahn is looking at the symbiotic relationship between creature and tree.


You can’t see me.
I’m not here.
I freeze.
I blend.
I pose.

Glance away, then.
Lose attention.
I’m gone.
Gone where?
Tree knows.

©Mary Lee Hahn, 2016

Check out Mary Lee’s post here:


Remember when we wrote about moth eggs, all the way back during week one? Donna Smith’s poem reminded me of that prompt.

ONE With the Tree

I freeze on the tree
I am ONE with the tree
I AM the tree
To act like a tree
One must BE the tree
When I am the TREE
You don’t see me
I am the perfect
Even my eggs like free-
Falling seeds
Drop from me
When I am
The tree
I AM the perfect
Or am I
The tree?

©2016, Donna JT Smith, all rights reserved


Carol Varsalona is backtracking and catching up on prompts (something I need to do also). You can find her Day 22, Day 21, and Day 1  poems at

hidden on a tree
game playing with predators
camouflage ante

©CVarsalona, 2016


I’m going to attempt some formatting with Jessica Bigi’s poem. I like how the form resembles our stick insect.

Walking Stick
By Jessica Bigi

On stilts
Out of
Out loud
At the
I have see
Walking on
Stick legs
Up our


Here’s a wonderful portrait poem from Diane Mayr.

Gran Called Her, “My Walking Stick.”
By Diane Mayr

Afraid to ask why,
she pondered its
meaning in relation
to herself–did Gran
think she was skinny
like a stick insect?
Did she move slowly,
stiffly, awkwardly?
Was her complexion a
bit on the green side?

On a summer’s noon
Gran put a hand on
on the young girl’s
shoulder, “Let’s go
into lunch, My Walking
Stick.” She leaned into
the child who guided
her, while the girl
thought only of her
elbows and knees.


Another haiku from Charles Waters, this one focusing on the texture of the tree.

Tree Bark
By Charles Waters

tree bark follicles
peel away, fall like snowflakes
on frosted earth.


It’s interesting that many of us wrote today about what the insect is doing, the act of camouflage. Jone MacCulloch has a poem on this topic.


tree bark
veiled twig
feigning death
the predator

© 2016 Jone Rush MacCulloch all rights reserved


Linda Baie turned her response into a little love poem.


At this time it’s trying hard
to find a proper mate.
Crawling slowly up a tree,
it spies a winsome date.

But brownish gray, tall, thin and rough
tree twigs tend to trick
the hidden branching insect
we call the walking stick.

Linda Baie ©All Rights Reserved


DAY 23 FOUND OBJECT PROMPT (February 23 at Bookseed Studio)

Reminder: Tomorrow, we’ll be spending Day 23  at Jan Godown Annino’s blog, Bookseed Studio.

Interested in what we’ve written so far? Here are links to this week’s poems:

Sunday, February 21
FOUND OBJECT: Antique Sewing Machine
Poems by: Diane Mayr, Linda Baie, Jone Rush MacCulloch, Jessica Bigi, Matt Forrest Esenwine, Donna Smith, Carol Varsalona.

Note: You will find links to all of  the Week 1, 2, and 3 poems at this post.


2016 Found Object Poem Project: Day 19

It’s Day 19 of our 2016 daily write-in. This year’s theme is FOUND OBJECTS. We have a new writing prompt for every day in February.

For those of you who are new to my blog, please read my introductory post about the February daily write-in. You’ll find more information and all of the Week 3 FOUND OBJECTS at this post.

As I’ve mentioned before, often in the middle of this month of daily writing, I get a little silly. Okay, a lot silly. I have a stretch of days when I don’t have much to say, and what I write turns playful, even if I’m not 100% happy with it. It’s good practice for me to share these poems anyway, to put the focus on effort instead of outcome.

PLEASE NOTE: This year, a few friendly bloggers have volunteered to host a day or two. I am visiting family this weekend. Tomorrow’s post, which is DAY 20, will be at Jone Rush MacCulloch’s blog, Deowriter. Leave your Day 20 responses here, in the comments, or you can leave them at Jone’s blog. We will both make sure your poems get posted.

deer skull


FOUND: Deer Skull

Today’s FOUND OBJECT is in the nature category. It is a literal found object — found and brought home by my friend, the poet Mike Ratcliffe.

As you know, I love hearing about people’s writing process — the journey from prompt to idea to poem. Mary Lee Hahn left us a message about her response to the deer skull:

“When I started writing, I had no idea how this poem would go with the skull and antlers. I had the phrase ‘There’s ___, but then there’s ____’ in my mind and I opened the post and started writing from that. Somehow my brain gave me pride and hubris. We’ve been noticing similes and metaphors in my 5th grade class, so I had fun making a simile-metaphor-vocabulary poem that will hopefully teach my students a new word. When I was finished, I looked back at the skull and wondered what HE knows about pride vs. hubris, sitting there on the sidewalk for all to see…”


There’s pride —
(nothing wrong with pride)
a warm sense of self-worth
sitting quietly inside you
like a steaming cup of cocoa on a winter morning.

But then there’s hubris —
a venti double mocha latte with whip and extra sprinkles
standing there beside your computer in the cafe
while you pose with your earbuds
open notebook
fancy pen
empty page.

The trick is knowing the difference.

©Mary Lee Hahn, 2016


I am so excited to see the return of Herman the Hermit Crab! We were first introduced to Donna Smith’s invention on Day 8. Donna says, “I didn’t have a clue what to write, but then I heard Herman talking from inside the skull, as he tried to cross the sidewalk.”

Herman, the Hermit Part 2

Yes, sweet, yes, dear,
I know I’m slow
But the first one was lighter
And smaller to tow!
This one won’t fit me,
It’s harder to walk;
I barely can breathe and
It’s harder to talk!
No, it’s all right, dear,
Ill try to adjust.
I’ll carry it, dear,
If you think that I must.
But I really don’t see how
This shell’s any better.
It won’t keep out wind,
And in rain I get wetter.
I know I look handsome,
But can’t I come out
And get my old shell back?
I don’t mean to pout.
But maybe I just need
My small house to carry
And then, my sweet dear,
I’d not have to tarry.
I can still do it, but
Perhaps I’d not linger
To get you a ring
To wear on your finger.
Oh, sorry, not finger –
I meant one of your claws
As I try to propose here
Can we put this on pause?
For I’m out of breath
I just have to rest.

It’s okay, dear Herman,
You’ve just passed my test!

We’ll get your old shell back
‘Cause it’s cozy, though drab
You can wear it on weekends
And I won’t even crab.

©2016, Donna JT Smith, all rights reserved


Linda Baie is in with a lovely haiku today. I’m noticing the contrast between the natural skull and the cement sidewalk.

the skull reminds
as we walk our cement path –
whose passage was taken

Linda Baie ©All Rights Reserved



Abstract Cactus by Jessica Bigi

Jessica Bigi’s poem is meant to curve and waver down the page. I’ll try to update the formatting if I can figure it out. I’ll also be adding artwork from Jessica soon.

Of one

by Jessica Bigi


I’ve been enjoying Matt Forrest Esenwine’s short poems during this project. Love the play on words here.

“Hunting Season”

Been hunting these woods
for whitetail deer,
and wouldn’t you know –
the buck stopped here.

– © 2016, Matt Forrest Esenwine, all rights reserved


antlersAnd Carol Varsalona posted today’s digital creation to Twitter.


Patricia VanAmburg has been on vacation, but wrote in, “I was really drawn to this skull which reminded me of the significance of horned animals in antiquity, and I hoped to write a pantoum.  But life has been a blur—so here is a haiku of sorts—because I cannot pass this particular object without response…”

I was lucky enough to hear Patricia give a wonderful talk on mythology and art recently. I see those same themes reflected in this haiku.

By Patricia VanAmburg

Bone without flesh but
Consort to his goddess still
Grazing on her walk


With more shootings in the news, Charles Waters’ poem hit home for me today.

By Charles Waters

Two shots of rock salt,
one corpse stripped of her spirit,
one family gorging on her flesh.
Another innocent life … gone.


I’m so pleased to introduce you all to poet and YA author Heather Meloche today. Heather is one of my fellow 2016 debut authors, part of the Sweet 16 group. Her novel is entitled RIPPLE.

Heather wrote, “I am a poet before I am a novelist, and my debut novel was written in verse before it was edited into prose. After editing prose for long hours every day, I feel like sentences and words all feel the same. I forget how full and satisfied poetry makes me feel.”

We are all bone, dear.
When I left you standing on the crooked
porch steps, the weed and drink diffusing
your clarity, you waved goodbye to the neighbor, not me.
But I saw you, shucked and shivering, the simple white
of calcium phosphate and running nerves, the hollows
built by oxygen and form. I had breathed you
in a thousand times, draped your structure through
mine for months that grew to years, until we made
a horrifying skeletal thing, a mish-mash
of splinters and fragments of ourselves.
We would have fossilized there, creaked and
cracked into later adulthood, then blamed
the other for our fractures. My packed bags
tore against my ligaments that day I left, the lightness
of the air between us ripped at tendons, popped through
the joints your fingers had caressed in the dark. And in the hollow
of my new apartment, I had to search and scrounge for the minor
cells that became true bone, and crawl through a maze of
connective tissue that brought me to today. When I heard
from a friend you still stand, straight and angled, marrowed
by your own doing. I sensed in me a cell of yours still
remaining, fibrous and tough along a deep membrane. But I asked
for no details. Let the rush of osteoblasts and blood take
you from me again. Because we are all bone, dear. Breaking down.
Renewing. Solidifying. Before we fall
to the parched rigidity of age.

by Heather Smith Meloche


I’m going to add my poem early tomorrow (UPDATE: Ha ha! That’s funny. Still haven’t written my poem yet). I had a full day of teaching, yoga, and a poetry event with Eamon Grennan this evening!

My students and I were looking at a photograph of Georgia O’Keeffe. I have a feeling the skull in my poem will be Georgia’s famous deer skull.

Finally… my Georgia O’Keefe-inspired poem.

Deer Skull with Flowers
By Laura Shovan

After Georgia O’Keeffe

He brought it home,
left it in our yard,
so I filled its eye sockets
with white hibiscus,
the red center of each flower
like a pupil. I did not know
how else to tell him, I have seen
spent flowers curl themselves
into their own shrouds
and drop like sailors
wrapped in canvas, pushed
into their ocean graves.
He brought it home,
so I placed between its antlers
three blue morning glories,
The rhythm of their opening
and closing reflected blue
on white bone, like a bruise
spreading and healing
across its cracked skull.


IMPORTANT NOTE FOR EVERYONE: Hey, poets. It’s Day 19. I know we all feel like we’re running out of steam. First, skip a day or two if that’s what you need. Second, *push through.* By the time we get to Sunday, Day 21, you’ll feel like we’re all cascading down a mountain of words together through the last week of prompts.

If I missed your poem for today, please let me know. I will add it ASAP.


DAY 20 FOUND OBJECT PROMPT (February 20 at Deowriter)

Reminder: Tomorrow, we’ll be spending Day 20  at Rush MacCulloch’s blog, Deowriter

Interested in what we’ve written so far? Here are links to this week’s poems:

Sunday, February 14
Poems by: Violet Nesdoly, Jessica Bigi, Laura Shovan, Carol Varsalona, Heidi Mordhorst, Diane Mayr, Linda Baie, Jone Rush MacCulloch, Mary Lee Hahn, Donna Smith, Charles Waters.

Note: You will find links to all of  the Week 1 and Week 2 poems at this post.

Monday, February 15 at My Juicy Little Universe
Poems by: Jessica Bigi, Matt Forrest Esenwine, Catherine Flynn, Laura Shovan, Mary Lee Hahn, Heidi Mordhorst, Diane Mayr, Buffy Silverman, Carol Varsalona, Linda Baie, Donna Smith, Julieanne Harmatz, Jone Rush  MacCulloch, Charles Waters.

Tuesday, February 16
Poems by: Victoria Costa, Jessica Bigi, Laura Shovan, Carol Varsalona, Mary Lee Hahn, Donna Smith, Catherine Flynn, Diane Mayr, Linda Baie, Robyn Hood Black, Buffy Silverman, Jone Rush MacCulloch.

Wednesday, February 17 at Mainely Write
FOUND OBJECT: Hot  Pink Sandal
Poems by: Diane Mayr, Jessica Bigi, Carol Varsalona, Linda Baie, Catherine Flynn, Mary Lee Hahn, Buffy Silverman, Donna Smith, Jone Rush MacCulloch, Laura Shovan, Heidi Mordhorst, Margaret Simon.

Thursday, February 18
FOUND OBJECT: “Typewriter Eraser, Scale X” Sculpture
Poems by: Jessica Bigi, Diane Mayr, Donna Smith, Carol Varsalona, Mary Lee Hahn, Linda Baie, Catherine Flynn, Margaret Simon, Laura Shovan, Matt Forrest Esenwine.

2016 Found Object Poem Project: Day 13

It’s Day 13 of our 2016 daily write-in. This year’s theme is FOUND OBJECTS. We have a new writing prompt for every day in February.

For those of you who are new to my blog, please read my introductory post about the February daily write-in. You’ll find more information and all of the Week 2 FOUND OBJECT prompts at this post.

We’re almost at the mid-way point! The project has grown in both participants and in poems produced this year. Tomorrow, along with the Week 3 prompts, I will share some early project statistics with you.

Important reminder: I can only take contributions left in the comments. Unless you have an art element that must be emailed, please leave your poems here, marked with the day, so I know which object you are writing in response to. I’m thrilled that so many people are participating this year, but I’m unable to keep track of poems sent in by email. Thanks for understanding!

baieFOUND: Sculpture? Skelton?

When Linda Baie of the blog Teacher Dance sent in this object, I knew I had to include it.

As you know by now, I don’t ask for information on the objects. Sometimes the contributor identifies what’s in the picture. This was not one of those times.

I have very little idea of what this object might be. I’m excited to hear what everyone makes of it!

It makes me happy when I hear that the Found Object of the day took someone down an unexpected path. Diane Mayr wrote in, “The object looked to me to be a seed pod, and when I was researching seed pods, I found the Jimson weed.  Wikipedia had an excerpt from The History and Present State of Virginia (1705) in its article on Jimson weed.  I ‘borrowed’ it for this poem.”

Psychedelic Jamestown, 1676: A Found Poem
By Diane Mayr

An early plant
gather’d very young
for a boil’d salad
by some of the soldiers
ate plentifully of it.

The effect of which
was a very pleasant comedy.
They turned natural fools.

One would blow up
a feather in the air.
Another would dart
straws at it with much fury.

And another, stark naked,
was sitting up in a corner
like a monkey, grinning.

A fourth would fondly kiss
and paw his companions
with a countenance
more antic than any
in a Dutch droll.

A thousand such simple
tricks they played
and after eleven days
returned themselves again
not remembering any
thing that had passed.


I also guessed at what the object might be and ended up leaning on information from an article in my poem. My response is 75% found poem. The last four lines are my own addition.

Found Poem
Pufferfish: National Geographic Kids
By Laura Shovan

These clumsy
fill their elastic
with water,
blow them
selves up-
several times
normal size.
Imagine seeing
a trick like that
right before
your hungry eyes.


Jessica Bigi’s poem, along with adorable art, made me laugh out loud. I didn’t “see” this when I looked at our Found Object, but of course it could be…


DAY 13 art and poem by Jessica Bigi.

all year
She sewed
that day
she saw


Another found poem?! We were really searching for information on today’s object.
Margaret Simon writes, “I know from my research that the picture is not a porcupine, but it sure looks like one.  I played with a found poem today.  I took the text of a Wonderopolis article, copied it into Word, crossed out word, and rewrote a final draft to revise.  I enjoyed the process.  Again, thanks for this invitation to play with poetry every day.”
porcupinePorcupine Found Poem for Two Voices
Love animals?
Give them a hug.
A porcupine?
What’s the big deal?
Sharp quills!
The prickliest!
Quill pigs Quill pigs
Like arrows,
quills detach.
Tiny needles
to pierce to pierce
an important lesson
from a porcupine–
Don’t touch! Don’t touch!
by Margaret Simon
Found from Wonderopolis “Can Porcupines Shoot Their Quills?”
And here is our object contributor, Linda Baie, with her response. Such fun wordplay in this poem.

Close Encounters – Advice?

And if you know a puffer fish
at times, they make a ball.
They float away from danger,
quite the smartest act of all.

No one can imagine hidden
in the amazing moon-like puff,
is a prickle that more than tickles
and you’ll soon be feeling rough.

Don’t take a bite or lickle it.
It’ll stop your taste of any dish.
And you certainly cannot tickle it,
the pretty prickle puffer fish.

Linda Baie ©All Rights Reserved


More play with form! Mary Lee Hahn has what is sometimes called a “counting out” rhyme, a form that hearkens back to schoolyard games.

Jumprope Rhyme




never want to
meet you
or find you
in my dish

©Mary Lee Hahn, 2016


Donna Smith says, “Just started listing all the words to go with spiny – no clue what it was, but that was okay. And since my maiden name is on the prickly, spiny list… I wrote that out, too!” What a clever, creative response to our found object!

A Pointed Remark

Ah, looks like a spiny problem –
A prickly situation!
I bristled when I heard the barbs
With spinous insinuation.

A piercingly sharp comment –
Painful thorn in my side;
It’s best to dodge the scratches;
Avoid the burrs of the snide.

@Donna J Thistle Smith, all rights reserved


Charles Waters’ poem makes a nice pairing with Donna’s response for today.

By Charles Waters

Green with envy,
your needle point prickliness
hides the ugliness you
feel inside yourself.


Please visit Carol Varsalona’s blog Beyond LiteracyLink for a full post about her process in drafting today’s poem.

Prickly Pal
looking at me,
what noticings
do I see?
-wooden carving
-round hole on side
-sharpened quills
-big open eyed
Will you join me
for a feast
at my table,
you woodland beast?
But wait, you are not
a friendly guest
your sharpened edges
would prick my chest.
©CVarsalona, 2016


Catherine Flynn took two of our guesses and combined them into one poem.

“Defense Mechanism”
By Catherine Flynn

Instead of blending
into the background, melting
out of sight, pufferfish shout


Ballooning, tripling
in size, drawing
their swords, warning


Porcupine of the sea.


We had some funny poems today. From the first line of Jone MacCulloch’s poem, I was smiling along with our object.

Oh hedgie
you prickly little rascal
I want to hold you
in my hands
those poky spikes
keep me away

Who made you?
Why do you smile?
Were you carve from one piece?
What secrets do you keep?

© 2016 Jone Rush MacCulloch all rights reserved




See you tomorrow for Day 14 and the Week 3 FOUND OBJECTS.

Interested in what we’ve written so far? Here are links to this week’s poems:

Sunday, February 7
FOUND OBJECT: Blood Letting Knife
Poems by: Diane Mayr, Jessica Bigi, Laura Shovan, Catherine Flynn, Linda Baie, Molly Hogan, Carol Varsalona, Mary Lee Hahn, Matt Forrest Esenwine.

Note: You will find links to all of  the Week 1 poems at this post.

Monday, February 8
Poems by: Laura Shovan, Jessica Bigi, Heidi Mordhorst, Carol Varsalona, Linda Baie, Margaret Simon, Donna Smith, Diane Mayr, Joanne R. Polner, Kay McGriff, Molly Hogan, Mary Lee Hahn, Catherine Flynn, Jone Rush MacCulloch.

Tuesday, February 9
Poems by: Molly Hogan, Jessica Bigi, Linda Baie, Violet Nesdoly, Carol Varsalona, Mary Lee Hahn, Donna Smith, Laura Shovan, Diane Mayr, Jone Rush MacCulloch, Catherine Flynn, Kay McGiff, Charles Waters.

Wednesday, February 10 at Reflections on the Teche
Poems by: Diane Mayr, Patricia VanAmburg, Jessica Bigi, Molly Hogan, Laura Shovan, Charles Waters, Buffy Silverman, Catherine Flynn, Linda Baie, Carol Varsalona, Violet Nesdoly, Heidi Mordhorst, Donna Smith, Mary Lee Hahn, Margaret Simon.

Thursday, February 11
Poems by: Diane Mayr, Carol Varsalona, Laura Shovan, Linda Baie, Violet Nesdoly, Donna Smith, Jessica Bigi, Mary Lee Hahn, Matt Forrest Esenwine, Margaret Simon.

Friday, February 12
Poems by: Patricia VanAmburg, Diane Mayr, Jessica Bigi, Margaret Simon, Mary Lee Hahn, Donna Smith, Linda Baie, Carol Varsalona,  Matt Forrest Esenwine, Laura Shovan, Heidi Mordhorst.

2016 Found Object Poem Project: Day 9

It’s Day 9 of our 2016 daily write-in. This year’s theme is FOUND OBJECTS. We have a new writing prompt for every day in February.

For those of you who are new to my blog, please read my introductory post about the February daily write-in. You’ll find more information and all of the Week 1 FOUND OBJECTS at this post.

Sometimes, in the middle of this month of daily writing, I hit the doldrums — a stretch of days when I don’t have much to say, don’t feel very happy with what I’ve written. It’s good practice for me to share these poems anyway, to put the focus on effort instead of outcome. Are you there yet?

I put aside the computer earlier than usual yesterday, so I added several poems to our Day 8 collection this afternoon. I hope you’ll have a chance to go back and read them all.

PLEASE NOTE: This year, a few friendly bloggers have volunteered to host a day or two. Tomorrow’s post, which is DAY 10, will be at Margaret Simon’s blog, Reflections on the Teche. Leave your Day 10 responses here, in the comments, as usual. I will get your writing to Margaret.

hahnFOUND: Tire Tracks in Snow

Mary Lee Hahn contributed today’s found object. It’s tempting to put this image in the Art category. The snow qualifies it as Nature, but the tire tracks are a sort of Functional Object. What do you think?

Threat of snow is enough to cancel schools here in Maryland, and that’s exactly what happened today. It’s been snowing all day, but the ground is so warm that roads are merely wet. Still, no school. Not so where Molly Hogan lives.

Winter Sorrow
by  Molly Hogan

Looking at the treadmarks
a mere tracery of snow
I sigh,
No snow day.


Today’s prompt also has Diane Mayr thinking about the weather.

Winter Weather
By Diane Mayr

“…bread, milk, and eggs are popular panic-buys everywhere from Knoxville to New England.” Joe Pinsker, The Atlantic, January 22, 2016

Why is it common
sense rarely
survives a forecast
of winter weather?

Hold onto it, and
your sense of humor.
Your sense of wonder,
too. The only sense

worth leaving out
in the cold, is your
sense of entitlement.
Give that one the boot.


It was Donna Smith’s comment on yesterday’s post that sent me off on my poetic adventure today. Donna — thanks for comparing the tracks to “a fresh piece of paper staring at me.”

By Laura Shovan

The lines on my paper
have all gone astray.
They zig, then they zag.
They invite me to play.
The lines where I  write
zip diagonally
with no pattern or form,
so  my verse must be free.
The lines you are reading
fell loose in a wave.
I prodded and poked,
but they just won’t behave.


Like me, Jone Rush MacCulloch used the object as a jumping off point to think about the process of writing.

Wheelbarrow tracks
the soft, garden mud.

Having rained
three nights ago
the dirt
is like modeling clay.

Straight, simple
obtuse, acute, right angles

father would be
geometry in the soil

Wheelbarrow tracks
parallel lines
in which I compose a ditty.

By Jone Rush MacCulloch


Jessica Bigi and I had a little conversation about one of her lines. African zebras in a poem about tracks in the snow? Yes! Notice how the “zagging,” “blizzards,” and “zebras” sound in a row. Wonderful.

Walking on the Moon
By Jessica Bigi

African zebras
Snow-white sand
Rover tracks
Moon dust
Dreams of
Walking on
The Moon
History remembered
okay for liftoff


After the stillness and waiting of our Day 8 Forest Face prompt, I’m enjoying all of the zippy vrooming movement in our poems today. Here is Linda Baie’s haiku.

snowy night vrooming
motorcycle scrapbook page –
tracks at sunrise

Linda Baie ©All Rights Reserved


Let’s welcome Poetry Friday blogger Violet Nesdoly to our project. Great to see you here, Violet! This is another poem where the crossing tracks inspired some wordplay.

Reading the Prints
By Violet Nesdoly

The animals that passed by here
were very focused and in gear
their noses sharp, following prey
perhaps a mate, or the day’s pay.
And the exhaust-filled, oily scent
suggests excessive speed their bent.
The younger of this species, though
lie lazy angels in the snow
their tracks characterized by curve
of laughing play and show-off verve.

Violet Nesdoly


Carol Varsalona is cross-posting here and at Two Writing Teachers’ Slice of Life, “as part of a series of thoughts on moving into new directions.” Check out Carol’s full post here: For me, this poem ties together yesterday’s sculpture in the woods and today’s snow tracks.

A webbed maze of stripes
flash before me,
boldly jutting into infinite space.
Laser-like rays shoot forth
in powerful strokes
like high-rise steel
reaching unknown heights.
They catch the sparkles
glistening in the sun
with a hint of iridescent fabric
shining light upon the path.

And as if a force is guiding me,
I move out from the maze
with a tribe of dreamers
ready to face another day
of clearing old, worn paths
to make way for the new.
With vigor and verve,
I move into the light.

©Carol Varsalona, 2016


What a wonderful portrait poem Mary Lee Hahn created from today’s found object?


Under each of his
uncut fingernails is a
half-moon of black.

No fewer than twelve
jangling keychains
hang from his backpack.

He returns from the library
joy on his face
hugging his new stack.

After twenty-two weeks
his brave facade
is cracked.


©Mary Lee Hahn, 2015

Mary Lee is blogging alongside our projet.  You can read her full post here:


Here’s a note from Donna Smith, who blogs at Mainely Write: “This just reminded me of Maine in winter…parking lots are often littered with cars because no one can see the lines. It isn’t that they can’t figure out where or how to park – it’s more like ‘Yea, I can park wherever I want to!’” More fun wordplay here!

What Lines?

Tire track,
Don’t look back,
Keep the forward roll!
East or west,
There’s no best;
Parking takes its toll.
Northward track,
Southern tack,
Snow rules are so droll.
Covered line?
That’s just fine;
Drive where’er you will!
Winter fools
Discard rules;
Driving takes no skill.

©2016, Donna JT Smith, all rights reserved


Do you know about zentangles? They appear in Margaret Simon’s poem today.

Inside My Sketchbook
By Margaret Simon

splots and dots
intersections of highways
microscopic leaves
the tiniest speck
my tears


Late arrivals:

Catherine Flynn tried something new today:

“These criss-crossing tire tracks reminded me of a hashtag, so I wrote my poem as a tweet:”

#Snowpocalypse A blizzard is coming! We might get three feet! Buy gallons of milk! Stock up on bread! Final accumulation? A measly two flakes.

By Catherine Flynn


The repetition in Kay’s poem reflects the pattern of the tracks.

By Kay McGriff

Swoosh, swoosh
Cars crawl
down the snowy street
leaving tracks that mark
their indecision.
Swoosh, swoosh.
Pull in, back out,
turn around.
Do I stay? Do I go?
Swoosh, swoosh.


What an unexpected image Charles Waters found in the tire tracks!


Crunching my boots
through another snowstorm,
each footprint a temporary tattoo
against the frosted prairie.

(c) Charles Waters 2016

SimonSee you at Margaret’s blog tomorrow for Day 10.

Reminder: Leave your Day 10 responses in the comments of this post for Margaret Simon, who is hosting tomorrow’s FOUND OBJECT poems. Her blog is Reflections on the Teche.

If you’d like to read what we’ve written so far, here are links to this week’s poems:

Sunday, February 7
FOUND OBJECT: Blood Letting Knife
Poems by: Diane Mayr, Jessica Bigi, Laura Shovan, Catherine Flynn, Linda Baie, Molly Hogan, Carol Varsalona, Mary Lee Hahn, Matt Forrest Esenwine.

Note: You will find links to all of  the Week 1 poems at this post.

Monday, February 8
Poems by: Laura Shovan, Jessica Bigi, Heidi Mordhorst, Carols Varsalona, Linda Baie, Margaret Simon, Donna Smith, Diane Mayr, Joanne R. Polner, Kay McGriff, Molly Hogan, Mary Lee Hahn, Catherine Flynn, Jone Rush MacCulloch.

2016 Found Object Poem Project: Day 3

Welcome to Day 3 of our month-long daily writing project. Newbies, this is an annual community writing project that I host every February. You don’t have to be a poet to participate. Short prose pieces are a great way to join in the fun.

This year’s theme is FOUND OBJECTS. For those of you who are new to the project, please read my introductory post. You’ll find more information and all of the Week 1 FOUND OBJECTS at this post.

2013-06-13 15.12.25It’s Day 3. Let’s talk about a new category of found item today, objects we spotted in nature.

FOUND: Moth Eggs

What caught my eye about these eggs, stuck on the passenger-side window of my mini-van, was how much the bottom group looked like the continent of South America. I especially like the photograph where the continent of eggs appears to be floating in a sea of sky.

The photo I posted as our prompt IS a bit mysterious. I’ll put more information about the moth at the bottom of this post.

The first person in with a guess was Diane Mayr, who said, “I have no idea what the Day 3 pic represents, so I imagined roe. ”

2013-06-13 08.33.21 (1)Roe Your Boat
By Diane Mayr

Peculiar, pearlescent,
gelatinous beads
are clustered in places
where sea creatures breed.

Place your feet gently.
Avoid, please, the weeds.
Sail your boats elsewhere.
Let fish life proceed.

Margaret Simon claimed to be “stumped” by today’s found object, but shared a haiku poem that made me look more closely at the image.

Please ignore my
provocative position.
My shadow self intrigues.

By Margaret Simon

I’m fascinated by all the interpretations of these little eggs. Here is Jessica Bigi’s poem.

2013-06-13 15.06.05Berry Picking
By Jessica Bigi

Bare legs scratchy thistles
Grandmother shadow curling
Under my feet
Tasseled fields of winding hills
Windy chimes brushing rose cheeks
Whistles of laughter swings from buckets
Sweetness of berries feel the breeze
Purple berry giggles
Let grandmother know I’ve eaten more
Than I’ve put in my bucket
At home just for fun
We count our berries
Looks like grandmother has berry giggles too

I tried to heed my own call for imagery of the five senses today. Did I get all five?

Found Object
By Laura Shovan

A continent of lemon drops,
sweet bite of foreign words
on my tongue.
Bath pearls spilled on mirror top,
waxy shells ready to release
their tangy scent.
A nest of snowy Tiger Moths
about to burst, consume, cocoon.
A blizzard of wings.

Like me, Mary Lee  Hahn noticed that the bottom grouping of eggs had a very familiar shape.


The mysteries of the world are myriad.
Sometimes they look like little balls of butter.
Sometimes they clump together in the shape of South America.

The mysteries of the world puzzle us.
They make us take our glasses off and look so close
we dust our noses with them.

The mysteries of the world hold hidden ripeness.
Each might contain a new life,
or the possibility to change the weather patterns of the entire world.

The mysteries of the world cast shadows.
Hovering above, they block the sun
and send a chill through us as they pass over.

©Mary Lee Hahn, 2016

Molly Hogan wrote, “This picture was certainly challenging!” I wonder what you are all thinking, now that the mystery is solved.

Mystery Orbs
by Molly Hogan

I itch to pick one up
squish it with a POP
and see what oozes out,
feel the dripping liquid
sticky on my pinching fingers.
I yearn to bite
and sink my teeth
into pale, silken green
to discover
if they are as juicy
as they look,
sugar-sweet like candy
or tongue-zapping,
puckering sour.
God forbid they’re bacteria!

I like how choosing a setting for her poem creates a totally different feel in Linda Baie’s response.

The Art Opening

The beads leapt off the canvas.
Adults were amused observing the child
who reached out to touch the beads.
They wouldn’t admit their desire to touch, too.
Even the shadows felt like mistakes.
The artist was that good.

Linda Baie ©All Rights Reserved

Jone Rush MacCulloch is joining us from her blog, DeoWriter.

honey globes
remains of the hive
sun pearls

© 2016 Jone Rush MacCulloch all rights reserved


Last in is our friend, Poetry Friday blogger Charles Waters.


Marbles jumble, ready to rumble,
fighting to see who will be
picked to get flicked
in the next game.

(c) Charles Waters 2016


Donna Smith is catching up on the prompts. She says, “Though I knew these were moth eggs by now, I saw pearls.”

Grandma’s Pearls

I broke my grandma’s pearls
The horror of it all!
But then I took a look
And gathered up the fall.

I tried to line them up
By going two by two
But I just could not do it
By twos it would not do.

Two roly-poly pearls rolled off,
They rolled about the floor;
I watched as they rolled down the hall
Under the closet door.

With the remaining 85
I made one single line,
Then very neatly arranged the pearls –
Three piles of twenty-nine.

I gathered them together in
Two piles when Math was done –
Creating South America
And Greenland, just for fun.

My cat pounced into Greenland
And they began to scatter
He sent them all around the world
Then departed, pitter-patter.

I crawled around on hands and knees
To round them up again
But somehow most escaped me
And I only counted ten.

Oh, Grandma won’t be happy,
She won’t be very pleased
I think there’s only 8 pearls now
Two flew when I just sneezed!

Inside a jar they could be safe,
So there I put the rest
I still had 8 and, don’t you know,
I think they were the best!

But then the jar with precious pearls
Opened when it tipped,
It rolled and rolled and turned about
Until those 8 pearls slipped.

There were no more inside the jar
No pearls that I could see
I don’t know where they rolled to.
Oh, where could those pearls be?

So I’m a little worried,
I might be in some trouble;
Do you think I can make more pearls
By blowing pearly bubbles?

©2016, Donna JT Smith, all rights reserved


You’ll find Carol Varsalona’s digital design for today’s poem at her blog, Beyond LiteracyLink.


of neon balls
in mid air
for the
human touch
to flick
©CVarsalona, 2016



Thanks so much for joining me today, everyone. Wasn’t it fun to have a UFO: Unidentified Found Object to work with?

I’m heading out to a high school drama club meeting this evening. I’ll continue to post responses to FOUND OBJECT 3 as they come in, but may not be adding additional poems until tomorrow morning.

See you tomorrow for Day 4.

If you’d like to read what we’ve written so far, here are links to this week’s poems:

Monday, February 1
FOUND OBJECT: 100 year-old mailing box
Poems by: Diane Mayr, Molly Hogan, Mary Lee Hahn, Linda Baie, Jessica Bigi, Margaret Simon, Laura Shovan, Matt Forrest Esenwine, Catherine Flynn, Jone Rush MacCulloch.

Tuesday, February 2
FOUND OBJECT: Fancy peppers and produce
Poems by: Mary Lee Hahn, Jessica Bigi, Diane Mayr, Molly Hogan, Laura Shovan, Linda Baie, Matt Forrest Esenwine, Margaret Simon, Jennifer Lewis.

More about the moth:

It took me about fifteen minutes of internet searching to identify Mama Moth. She is a Virginian Tiger Moth, Spilosoma virginica. You can read more about her at Buglifecycle. There is a photograph of this moth’s eggs at the top of the page. They are a perfect match for our Day 3 FOUND OBJECT.