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My writing...reflections...poems...pictures...projects...life...in Maine.
All material on this website is © Donna JT Smith unless otherwise noted.

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Ordinary PP


Today's challenge over at Poetry Jam was to write a poem about something ordinary.  This morning my toast sat upon an ordinary paper plate...


Ordinary PP

slice
of tree
cradles cobs,
holds hot dogs,
and piles of fries;
shades squinty eyes,
fans you in a breezeless plight,
but in a breeze transforms to kite.
cut some holes and make a face,
or use it as an artist’s base.
short lived lively paper treasure
9 inch, snack-sized, what’s your measure?
white or color, fancy trimmed,
round or square, wavy rimmed,
how could anyone berate
this lowly, imitation plate
with rights to boast?
a morning toast for
white thin
slice!

©2014, Donna JT Smith

Friday, July 25, 2014

24/7

It's Poetry Friday!   Yea!  And it is being hosted by Sylvia at Poetry for Children.  Hope you can drop in and help celebrate at the poetry party! 
Thank you Margaret, for featuring my Poetry Swap poem on your blog, Reflections on the Teche, today.  It was a real treat to write it for you!
My poem is at the end... you have to endure photos I've taken.  Fortunately for you, I did not include all that I took!
Love the cloud reflections!
It was too warm in the house, so tonight before supper, my husband and I drove a few miles down the road to the local State Park and around the island a bit.  We got out at the park and climbed the stone steps to the point that overlooks the ocean.  And I again marveled at the wonderfulness of being on vacation 24/7.  Even when I was working, it seemed that we always lived somewhere that felt like vacation when I got home in the evening.
Minnesota was our horse farm in the country, New Hampshire and Rhode Island homes were in the woods, and now back to real home in Maine, we have been near or on the coast.
I have never "needed" a vacation.

A couple of weeks ago I saw this on our garage:

Luna moth sunning himself - herself?

Last week a I saw this:
Sunset by the dock
A couple of days ago I saw this from my front livingroom window:

Great Horned Owl - up high and very large and very loud!
 And this from my front door window:
A young deer on my front lawn - very quiet, very hungry!
 Then down the road about 6 miles, last night I saw this:
1 mile of beach - you can see a person on the edge of the water

I left a quarter here so someone could use the viewer.

How can you need to "get away from it all" when you are already there?


I thought putting these pictures up would help me with writing a poem.  But the visuals have quite taken over my brain and the words are not doing them justice.  Perhaps it is the variety
of pictures, perhaps the timeframes in which they were taken.  I don't know.  But maybe I'll try again, focusing only on yesterday's photos.

 (time has elapsed here and words have been written and deleted and rewritten)

Okay, here it is.  This started out about yesterday's time at the ocean near our house now,  but became a memory poem about my childhood times at my grandparents' house just a few houses away from where the sunset photo was taken last week.

Sea Memories

There's nothing more I that could want
As I sit upon these boulders
White clouds sail above the sea
And salt spray wraps my shoulders.
I hear the waves crash and hiss,
I watch the cormorants dive,
I smell the seaweed draped on shore,
And feel so much alive.
The taste of salt, the smell of rose
And I am drawn with waves
Back to a simpler, younger time
That my old memory craves;
Ah, yes, there's lobsters in the pot,
Some biscuits, and then tea,
And everyone is gathered round
Our table by the sea.
We eat our fill and grownups chat
The kids run off to play
To climb the cliff and skip some rocks
Way out into the bay
The voices hush and stars come out
It's time to load the car
And head inland to go to bed
It isn't very far
As I watch the seagulls soar and dip
And hear the roaring seas
I'm happy that these kinds of days
Bring back those memories.

©2014, Donna JT Smith

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Trash or Treasure

At Poetry Jam this week, the prompt is to write about Trash or Treasure.  You know the phrase "one man's trash is another man's treasure"  -

I had so many ideas, and then when I sat down to write - this one just pushed all the others aside and an old memory came back.


Trash or treasure, what do you see?
I saw a treasure placed there for me;
An old leather Bible discarded in trash
Was it unwanted, who’d be so brash?

“I hope that you’ll treasure this as much as I”
But wishes and lives must have gone quite awry.
A treasure turned trash was now in the heap;
We rescued those words before their last sleep.

A Bible so carelessly tossed out that day
Was carefully, graciously set in our way.
I’ve read both her words and the Word that’s inside
And found Comfort and Peace and a Way to abide.

I hope that the son who tossed Treasure as trash
Has found Peace in his world, new Bible in stash,
And sometimes reflects on that day long ago
When he threw out Mom’s gift before he could know.

Trash or Treasure in life, which shall it be?
What ever you make it, that’s what you’ll see.
I choose to see Treasure when I look about;
With that Wonderful Peace, there’s no room for doubt.

Though a treasure to her, it was trash in his heap,
I pray what he’s sown, is not what he’ll reap;
For that day, though he saw it as useless to him,
It opened some eyes that were growing too dim.

I thank him for giving us his Mom’s finest treasure,
And hope that he’ll reap in a similar measure.
Some trash or a treasure, what do you see?
It looked like His Treasure placed there for me.

©2014, Donna JT Smith

As a side note just now:  I went to my online Bible to locate a verse about "treasure", then went to the actual "found" Bible to photograph it.  There was a paper in the Bible, so opened it there.  It was already marking the page I sought... 

Friday, July 18, 2014

Expect the Unexpected

Today I'm Jammin' at Poetry Jam and participating in Poetry Friday at The Opposite of Indifference with Tabatha Yeatts...try out both spots for some great poetry today!  There's something for everyone!
At Poetry Jam, the challenge is to write about something unexpected "Life is full of surprises, good or bad, things we never thought would occur. So this week I'd like you to write a poem about unexpected."
And so I did.  I think it is the thing we hear about, but don't get to experience until we have a child.

You Should Expect the Unexpected

How can you love
someone with your whole heart
and then find that there was
a reserve -
a hidden place in the heart perhaps
that held more
more love
than you knew you possessed
and that your heart
could be so effortlessly opened
by someone so small,
so fragile,
and helpless?
Still when she arrived
in that tiny wrinkly package
she opened your heart,
and love tumbled out
surrounding her
and cradling her
and you wanted
to forever keep her from pain,
sorrow,
hunger
and tears.
This flood of love
so unexpected
and so sudden,
was there all along
but you had no inkling.
Yet you should have
expected it.
It happened before -
on the night your
son was born -
Why should you be surprised
this morning
at your daughter’s birth?

©2014, Donna JT Smith

Special note:
Thank you, Buffy, for the tappy Sapsucker Rap poem!  What a wonderful rhythm and rhyme this had.  We live in a log home, and a couple of weeks ago we had a pair of Downy Woodpeckers inspecting our eaves, rapping and tapping.  They evidently didn't get what they thought should be there, as the next day they were gone!
Mary Lee, what a unique way to send a poem.  I keep the poem magnet on my refrigerator and can enjoy the image of thunderheads and the wish for monarchs!  We've had plenty of thunderheads lately and they are so beautiful - in an ominous way!
Tomorrow I'm sending out my fourth Blog-Gem...at the end of summer I will post all the Blog-gems on a Poetry Friday.  But for now, here's what happens to create a Blog-gem:

I put your URL into Tagxedo and came up with the image.  Then I used the words found in the Tagxedo to construct the poem, which I call a Blog-gem.
I’ve found that in making the Tagxedo, I have to take out names and allow apostrophes.  I also increase the number of words to 300 and allow common words, so I have a good assortment of words from which to choose.
When I finish the Tagxedo image, I type out the words, sort them by parts of speech, print them, cut them out and start playing with them.  After a bit I leave them alone to continue sorting themselves on their own (or that’s what it seems) until they make themselves into a poem. 

Ah, yes, if you could only read the words, you might know who was getting this next Blog-Gem!
Each time I’ve thought, “Man, this is too hard.  I can’t do this.  What was I thinking?”  And then I’ve left them on their own, sitting on the kitchen table taking up all the space for lunch, while I go and eat lunch by my computer.   
Then the "unexpected" begins to happen.  A few words will call out to me and say things like, “Hey, look what do you think of this!”  and “Read us!  We sound good together.”  And then I will go over and slide a few more around until they all just start marching to their spots. 
Like a good hostess, I sometimes have to make different seating arrangements when I find that some other word has more in common than the one I originally intended for the spot. 
The words are very patient with me as I make mistakes and have to slide them into a new spot. They have faith that I will get them where they need to be. 
And the leftover words?  For some reason they have not gotten all pouty and huffy.  They know that their day will come in some other poem on another occasion.  I have not forgotten them.  At some time I will just use them in a thought or in the course of a day speaking to someone.  And they are fine with that.
Lucky for me, the blog words have all been so forgiving and unselfish and can take the revisions and editing that I deal out to them. 
What a wonderful groups of words!  So far every word I’ve worked with has shown true good sportsmanship, strength and character. 
It is truly an honor to work with these words.  They are champs!  And they all, whether used in the final copy poem or not, help to create each Blog-gem!

Today I finished creating my fourth Blog-gem.  I will miss working with these diverse word groups as the summer comes to a close.  I may just have to pick up some Blog-gem work on the sly...a little poetic moonlighting...

A little side note for today... I stayed up all night.  Why?  I don't know.  I just didn't get tired.  I wrote a bit, cleaned a bit and watched the sun come up.  I'm still awake.  This is going to be an interesting day!



Friday, July 11, 2014

RefrigerARTor

Poetry Friday is being hosted over at Linda Kulp's Write Time.  Head over there for some great links to poetry today!

First, I'd like to thank Linda Baie over at TeacherDance for the beautiful poem she wrote for me.  It was part of a poetry exchange that Tabatha Yeatts created and organizes, where people are matched up to write a poem for another person.  My first poem was written for Tabatha, and my second for Anastasia Suen.  The third is about to go out...
Anyway, Linda B. wrote and illustrated this wonderful poem:
Transformation

Tiny fingers
tiny toes,
until arriving
no one knows
that a grandchild,
by giving the names
'Gran and Gramps',
start a magical dance,
seeming by chance.

It rearranges you
into

lullaby-singing (no matter the voice)
mud-puddle-jumping (not given a choice)
cookie-baking (a sugar success)
finger-painting (in spite of the mess)
toy-truck-racing (vroom sounds just right)
picture-book making (easy to write)

KIDS,
all over again.

by Linda Baie, 2014

Thanks, Linda!

And in that vein... Here's
 RefrigerARTor!

I did it!
I did it!
I painted a duck.
Quack, quack!
I'll clip it right here
Then step back!
To admire that picture
Painted by me!
It makes the room beautiful, 
Don't you agree?

The only thing better
Than one piece of art
Is two, three or four!
Must get busy and start
To fill the refrigerator
With more of my stuff!
Being an artist
Can be pretty rough


Working all morning
Using my brush;
Masterpieces can't be
Done in a rush!

©2014, Donna JT Smith



Oh, there was so much more fun this past week...  I'll try to tell more about it all soon!
 

Thursday, July 10, 2014

The Lone Ranger Said "HI-___, SILVER, AWAY -"

So what do you think goes in the blank?  Where do you stand on the Lone Ranger's departing shot on his trusty horse, Silver?

I cannot believe that I believed for my whole life that the Lone Ranger was saying something he wasn't saying!
This all started with a picture of a horse's glittery hooves on Laura Purdie Salas' website for her 15 Words or Less poetry challenge.  I commented on another commenter and wrote "Hi-ho, Silver!  Away!" after checking to make sure the "Hi" was really "Hi" and not "Heigh" or "High".

During my spelling research, I found that some people thought The Lone Ranger actually said "Hi-yo, Silver..."  Now that was just ridiculous!  No one said "yo" in the 40's and 50's!  I was positive it was "Hi-ho", as were many others on the Internet.  But now I was intrigued.  How could you tell what had really been said?  Probably not by watching an old show, but maybe...perhaps I'd heard it wrong so many times, so long ago.  Could I trust my ears to hear it correctly?  It seemed I might not.  I needed to see it written.

So I went looking for a script for an old radio or tv show.  I happened upon Generic Radio Workshop Scripts.  In it they used "Hi-ho"!  Yea!  Score!   That must be it.  I was right!

But then I found a site that had old comic book files scanned in, Our Media.  I thought this would confirm my thoughts and the scripts.  But no.  I downloaded a copy of The Lone Ranger comic book from 1949 and tried to open it.  Gibberish.  It was a .cbr file.  I went online and found that cbr stands for Comic Book Reader.  So I looked for something that would read that type of a file...oh, yeah, on a Mac not a PC.  Found one finally, through CNET - Simple Comic for Mac.  Yes!  It was free and it was a quick download.  The file opened easily.  And there on my screen was an old copy of a Lone Ranger comic book!  I flipped through the pages.  This was so slick!

And then, there it was:


Do I need more proof than this?
HI-YO, SILVER, AWAY- ?  Not even an exclamation point.
Nooooooo!

The script at Generic Radio Workshops must have been transcribed by someone who "knew what he said", as I had.  I've contacted them (to see if that was the case, as I'm sure it was).

I am in the process of deconstructing and reconstructing my childhood memories today.  I'll be looking for some old videos and trying to reconcile these conflicting audios that are playing in my head.

Oh, just found one on YouTube from 1956...

...and yes, I can hear it...now...
now that I know what he was saying for...all...those...years...!

Listen closely.  It is at the end of the show around 1:22:34, in case you aren't in the mood to watch the whole show.  I wasn't yet.  I'll watch it later, after I've reconciled my memory and the actuality.

Right now I'm feeling a little betrayed, misled, and annoyed - and yet somehow, enlightened and educated, ready for Jeopardy. "What is HI-YO, SILVER, AWAY"?

I feel like I did when I realized that the words to Winter Wonderland were not "Later on we'll perspire, as we dream by the fire".  I still think "perspire" makes more sense than "conspire" though.  Does anyone else?



BTW:  The Lone Ranger said "HI-YI" in the first episode...

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

No U-Turns

The prompt today on Poetry Jam calls for a poem about an impossible place.


I cannot go back
to live the life
again
I must be satisfied
with the one trip
done
as well as I could
impossible
to make changes
to things
seen
done
said
before today
no U-turns
allowed
no reverse gear
only the mirror
to see where I have been
eyes focus
on the now and future
make the right turns
say the right words
so I will be
satisfied
when I look
back
and I will not care that
there is no
U-turn
and that
reverse
is an impossibility.

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

A Grasshopper Alone

This week at Poetry Jam, the prompt is to write about being alone or lonely...
You know very well, oh
I'm not one to dwell, so
I wrote something mellow
about this young fellow.

Baby grasshopper on my porch post

A Grasshopper Alone

A grasshopper cannot find
true friends
For he’s at the mercy
of where his jump ends
Just when he thinks he’s
spotted a stop
He finds that he’s taken
too huge a hop
Over that spot and just
out of reach
He calls out “hello” to every
and each
Grasshopper as he soars
overhead
And lands wherever his
jumping has led
No friends come to visit
for their plight’s the same
Jumping and hopping
is their lonely game.
It cannot be done
with a partner in tow
Their jumps seldom land
where another one goes
The chances of two of them
landing together
Is as rare as snow in
summer’s warm weather
But if ever two should
land in one spot
I’m sure they’d remember
the manners they’re taught
        “Hello, how are you?”
          “I’m fine.” 
        “Glad we met.”
          “Good-bye”
         and “Good day!”
And without one regret
They’d both take a leap
And go on their ways
Never to meet again
all of their days.
©Donna JT Smith

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Tuesday Amuse-me Day

It's Slice of Life Tuesday, so visit Two Writing Teachers and see what kind of week or day people have had by sampling their "slices"!
Last week I went for a drive with a friend to look at some potential "fun spots" for a soon to be 3 year old boy to visit while he is here.  On the meandering trip back from those places, we came across this scene.
You have heard the saying "A boat is a hole in the water into which you pour money”, and then there is "A yacht is a hole in the water lined with wood, into which you pour money".
But this lobster boat?  It looks like a boat trying to plug the hole in the water, or a boat actually being sucked down the hole in the water.  Soon there will be nowhere to toss the money in.
You can tell boats don't really have hearts, nor feel true compassion.  There were other boats nearby.  They weren't even facing this boat.  They never looked at it, nor did they try to help.  Could it be that they wanted to, but because they were all moored, they knew they couldn't reach it to rescue it.  So they all turned away so as not to see the sad plight of the lobster boat.  Salty tears in a salty sea...sure they have hearts!
Or maybe these boats are tethered to their spots so they are far enough away so as not to be able to reach one another (you know, like dogs in their separate kennels so they won't tear each other apart!). 
Maybe boats would fight at night if they weren't tied fast separately.  Maybe one did break away and bully this boat right into the sea.
Wow! I've never thought of that.  Some of these boats have "tough" names.  They might be "ocean bullies".  Of course, most of them are named with women's names...remember Roller Derby?

At any rate, whatever is really going on in the secret lives of boats, the owner of this boat is not going to be very pleased with the leakage issue here.  There will be no "quick bailing and sailing" when he gets there.  There will be rowing and towing though.
I'm happy not to own a boat.

Friday, June 20, 2014

The Passing of Ages

Poetry Friday is being hosted by Jone over at Check It Out.  There are lots of great pieces of poetry to be had there and by following the links!

I don't know what mood I was in when I first wrote this.  Yes, I do.  But that's not important.  I just remember this feeling happening after the second grandchild was about to be born.  It is a strange feeling of wanting to know more, and coming to grips with the idea that this is all I can know and pass on.  Did I do it?  I don't know.  Most likely no, not yet, as I still have unanswered questions myself and realize that for some of these questions I was given an answer once when I was too young to know I would want to remember it someday.

The Passing of Ages

I remember watching my grandparents
enjoying time
with their brothers
and sisters
laughing over
old stories of past deeds,
giving advice from a life lived
I remember as they eased away in life
and then faded in memory
my parents and aunts and uncles
became the keepers of
family stories
life's wisdoms
until slowly they too eased away,
leaving us
to become the keepers,
the knowers -
a terrifying day
of realization -
Did those before feel the same?
Where were the people to ask?
Where were the recipes?
In which village in Newfoundland did my grandparents get married?
Which aunt
        - wait, did you say she was my aunt or my cousin?
Where was that summer cottage?
Who had twins?
Which child died?

And we are next to fade.
I can feel its approach,
have I remembered enough?
have I passed it on?
was it good enough?
will they remember?
our children could never
remember enough
cannot know what we’ve forgotten
Put up new wallpaper
Paint over faded picture squares
But carry the gift forward
all the family knowledge
you can hold
for you too will age
and panic when you are the wisdom holders
patriarchs and matriarchs of family -
When the young ones ask,
      Will you know?
      Will they hear?
      Will they know
             that they are next -
             that they will need
                    to tell the stories?
         ©Donna JT Smith, 2014