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Before leaving I encouraged students in all of my classes to visit me in France through this blog. I didn’t think the learning pertained only to me. Poetry can enhance any descriptive writing, whether they major in Criminal Justice, Communications or Business. And so, to those that were curious enough to take a look, there are 10 extra credit points for commenting here by Tuesday with an Ode…write the river

In our first workshop in the lovely VCCA studio, Moulin Nef, we learned that Pablo Neruda wrote an ode every day of his life. Odes are praise poems. Imagine the change in perspective when you force yourself each day to find something to praise. It is so easy for us to find a reason to complain, and as I told my Oral Communications students, the trick to giving a confident performance, behind podium and in life, is to be able to take negative thoughts captive and move forward with confidence. Learning to praise, to be thankful, to see the positive things, could be the key to doing this. We listed all of the things we had seen our first hours in Auvillar that could be a subject of praise. Here is my original list:

  • Floaty fuzzies (cottonwood)
  • Cultural diversity
  • A blue-eyed black man
  • Chocolate
  • Dreads
  • The crouching boy.
  • Full hipped mother statues.
  • Multicolored macaroons.

We also listed those negative things that we could turn positive with an ode:

  • Line cutters
  • Airport security
  • Pinched nerves
  • People without deodorant
  • British bombardment of questions about Baltimore (Look Love, A Black American, what luck!)

Carefully, I chose my ode…it was a blend of my fascination with food and other sensual pleasures. I wrote my Ode to Macaroons.macaroons

I will share my ode with you, but here, in this space, I invite you to post your own list of things within the last 24 for hours that you could praise. (If you are in one of my classes, as I said before, I’ll give you extra credit points if you complete this before I return Tuesday.)

And now, Ode to Macaroons (first draft.)


  • Oh, Macaroon!
  • Gone too soon;
  • You tease
  • the senses!
  • Ironic, your shell–
  • Slight pressure and
  • It shatters,
  • flavor erupts,
  • cracks bloom slow
  • like fault lines.
  • Taste buds stand
  • Cool, sweet, silk sits
  • One yearns to
  • meet the other
  • for an instant
  • before you
  • slide away,
  • Leaving the tongue
  • Wet,
  • fumbling for
  • remnants.