Posts by gulfcoastpoet@gmail.com

A retired teacher, I live with my significant other on the Gulf Coast of Florida. I enjoy the beach, walking outdoors, movies, and reading. Hanging Out with Wild Animals is a book series of photos and poems about my encounters with Florida animals. Wonders is a book of poems inspired by the men I have known and loved. Life in Inspiring Places is a book of photos and poems about the places rich in history and natural beauty that I have called home. Excerpts from the books and additional poems can be found on my website. Cheryl Batavia

World View


World View

If I know myself,

my self-concept is not based

on what others say.

If I am honest,

I won’t waste my potential

deceiving myself.

Having confidence,

I approach life with courage,

not averse to risk.

Having self respect,

I won’t lower myself

showing others disrespect.

If I love justice,

I won’t elevate myself

keeping others down.

If I love myself,

I find it easier to

love my fellow man.


Copyrighted 2020 by Cheryl Batavia

Stories from a Retired Teacher

Photo by Macro Maa from Stock Snap

Stories from a Retired Teacher

A new page is available on this website. It is a collection of brief anecdotes from my teaching career.

Chapters: The Golden Rule, Larceny, Heartwarming Stories, Outrageous!, Teacher Education, Mayhem, Brushes with the Law, Outside Encroachment, More Heartwarming Stories

To access Stories from a Retired Teacher, please click the title on the menu to the left.

Yellow Leaf

By PublicDomainPictures from Pixabay

Yellow Leaf

New green leaf unfurls

hopeful in the lush forest,

flutters in the breeze.

Yellow leaf shines bright

against a backdrop of green,

still clings to the branch.

Yellow leaf drifting

enjoyed its day in the sun,

now rests on the earth.


Copyrighted 2020 by Cheryl Batavia

Warm, Strong Hands


Warm, Strong Hands

I like a man with warm, strong hands,

and I like the way my hand fits yours.

I like a man who thinks deep thoughts,

who talks abstractions

in the middle of the night

in a soothing Southern drawl.

I like to ride around with a man

who drives like he is seventeen,

but has the wisdom of a sage.

I like a man who is a truth-teller,

a man with honor in his eyes.

I like a man who makes me laugh,

who is silly and witty and wicked.

I like a man with warm, strong arms,

and I like the way I feel in yours.

Reprinted from Wonders


Copyrighted 2018 by Cheryl Batavia

Time Flies!

Stars in the Night Sky through a Telescope

Time Flies!

Helios, in his fiery chariot,

crosses the sky each day.

His sister Selene,

in her chariot of silver,

travels the night sky.

We mark our days.

The moon waxes and wanes.

The seaons change.

Our birthdays mark the years

since the planets aligned…

and we were born.

Robert, my sun rises

and sets in you.

I will love you all my days.

I thank my lucky stars

for the day we met.


Copyright 2019 by Cheryl Batavia

Hike to Dark Hollow Falls in Shenandoah National Park

Ferns in a forest in Shenandoah National Park, Virginia, by jonbilous, Adobe Stock Photos

Hike to Dark Hollow Falls

Through the green forest

we descend a shady path

to Dark Hollow Falls.

Bright sunlight sparkles

on the cascading water

as it thunders down.

Dark Hollow Falls, Shenandoah National Park, Virginia, by Bram, Adobe Stock Photos

Taking off our shoes,

we splash in the icy pool

at waterfall’s end.

Our spirits refreshed,

we begin the steep ascent

as the sun goes down.


Copyrighted 2020 by Cheryl Batavia

This was my favorite hike in Shenandoah National Park when I lived in Virginia. There are half a dozen trails leading to gorgeous waterfalls in the park, as well as trails to beautiful overlooks of the valleys. I have fond memories of hiking many of those trails with family and friends.

Promises to Drew

Drew Batavia with Joe and Katey, photo by Cheryl Batavia

Promises to Drew

Drew, I held your hand

as you left the world behind,

and I made promises to you.

I never cry…I stopped crying long ago,

but I am crying now as I remember.

Some promises I have kept

better than others.

I like to think you would be happy

with the way your autobiography turned out.

Your brother Mitch finished your book.

Your mother and I supported his efforts

for more than a year.

The Don Quixote in a wheelchair

that Mitch drew for you in high school

is on the cover.

I know you would approve.

I promised to raise our children

as you would have wanted

them to be raised, and I did my best.

Our children are grown up now,

and the struggles of life continue.

We have cherished our memories of you.

Our children remember your wise advice

and try to follow your example…

You left some pretty big shoes for us to fill!

I have made a new promise

for our grown-up children:

I will be their mother till the day I die

and always love them as I always loved you.

I know that you would be happy

that I have found someone to grow old with,

as you wished me to do.

He is someone I know you would like.

Drew, I wish I could have done more

to keep my promises to you.

I hope you would approve

of the things I have done.


Copyright 2020 by Cheryl Batavia


Drew’s autobiography, Wisdom from a Chair: Thirty Years of Quadriplegia, by Andrew Batavia and Mitchell Batavia is available on Amazon.

Caterpillar in a Hurry/ Butterflies & Flowers

Monarch Butterfly Caterpillar by icon0.com from Pexels

Caterpillar in a Hurry

While munching his vegetables,

While munching his vegetables,

is a caterpillar in a hurry

to be a butterfly?

Is he in a rush to drink

nectar from flowers

and give grown-up life a try?

Maybe he just wants to open

his brand new wings…and fly!


Monarch Butterflies on Milkweed

Butterflies & Flowers

What’s more beautiful,

butterflies or the flowers

that give them nectar?

Reprinted from Hanging Out with Wild Animals,

environmentally-themed book series for ages eight to twelve


Copyrighted 2019 by Cheryl Batavia

Burmese Python Owner Speaks

Burmese Python by skeeze on Pixabay

Burmese Python Owner Speaks

Cute little python,

she swallowed a mouse.

She swallowed a mouse

’cause she lives at my house.

Hungry python,

She swallowed a rat.

She swallowed a rat

and grew long and fat.

Exotic python,

never does any harm.

I walk along South Beach

with her hugging my arm.

Growing girl python,

she swallowed a rabbit.

She swallowed a rabbit

’cause it’s her new habit.

Big strong python,

she squeezes too tight.

I’ll let her go free

in the Everglades tonight.

Twenty-six-foot python

she swallowed a gator.

She swallowed a gator

and got hungrier later.

200-pound python,

she swallowed a deer.

She swallowed a deer

when it came too near.

Monster python,

She swallowed a car.

No, not a car–

I wouldn’t go that far.

But mama python

and her hundreds of babies

are causing extinction

of native species.

I’ll be very careful

choosing my next pet,

and never, ever

abandon it!

Reprinted from Hanging Out with Wild Animals II,

an environmentally-themed book series for ages eight to twelve


Copyrighted 20018 by Cheryl Batavia

The Burmese Python is an invasive species in the Florida Everglades that is decimating native animals such as alligators, deer, rabbits, and tropical birds. Every year, a hunt is conducted to try to eradicate them. One snake that was killed had consumed two deer–a doe and her fawn. The size of this animal and what it devours is not exaggerated in the poem, though I really think it does not have a taste for cars! Having a Burmese python as a pet is no longer legal in Florida.