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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, December 10, 2014

Quiet

My only thought this morning was of winter quiet, though yesterday's winter weather was anything but quiet. It icy-rained alllllll day. Here's hoping that in the light of day, ice hasn't encapsulated the car that wouldn't fit in the garage. That aside, I love the quiet snow gives the world. You could almost picture snow being warm to wrap up in... but it gets pretty hard to think of it that way the more you know snow...
So here's a short poem for today. I have lots to do and little time to write.
Look at the date! Do you see how close we are to Christmas? Well, I am not ready for it.

cold
quiet snow 
lending
night shroud
quietly
elegantly
mending
the loud

Okay, this was supposed to be a short poem, and it ended up being one.  However, I wrote in Pages, then copied and pasted it here. I wasn't happy with it.  So it got longer.  Then I edited and revised in this space.  I cut most of it.  This wasn't even in the original originally.  It was a last minute addition and the only part I kept.  I just say that because I find it strange how poems happen sometimes.  And because I'm proud of myself.  Not for the poem itself, but for the fact that I am getting better at just cutting through garbage.  Just because I wrote it, doesn't mean I have to own it.  That is a hard concept sometimes - a "Yes, but I had more stuff - how can you tell me it isn't worth the cyberspace it was printed on?" mentality that I love challenging.  I love winning that debate with myself!



Thursday, December 4, 2014

Handful of Seasons

Wednesday's Poetry Jam prompt was to write about hands.  This is my second poem...I tried one yesterday, but wasn't too happy with it.  It needs more work.  So I wrote this one this morning.

Handful of Seasons

Spring’s fingers are light
and nurturing
and creep
to make
things grow;

Summer’s thumb is green
and diligent
and keeps
the soil
with hoe;

Autumn’s palm is full
and inviting
and reaps
the fields
below;

Winter’s hand is harsh
and shivering
and sleeps
in drifts
of snow.

©Donna JT Smith, 2014

Friday, November 28, 2014

Poetry Friday Snow Day Thanksgiving

Poetry Friday - the day after Thanksgiving...being hosted at Carol's Corner today. Join in the feast!

Thanksgiving was a great day...
however on the day before Thanksgiving it started to snow and we lost power at 7 pm that night.  Thanksgiving at my house was now in question.  I had all the food, but no way to cook it.  Perhaps by morning we would have power again.  It was not likely though, as being on a peninsula-type island, our power doesn't go anywhere else.  Restoring us does not reactivate the next town or anything.  Ocean and Europe are next in line.
So, no.  There was no power in the morning.  We packed up everything and headed south an hour plus and set up Thanksgiving a bit delayed there.  Turkey got in the oven (well, we actually put him in there, he wasn't so willing) at 11 am instead of 6 am.
But we had Thanksgiving.  My son couldn't make it as he worked at 3 closer to our town.  We brought him a Thanksgiving meal on our way home that night while he was at work.
It was still a wonderful day in spite of losing everything in our refrigerator and freezer.  We unfortunately had to make a quick dive into the cold to get the turkey, whipped cream, vegetables, and other assorted foods to take with us; and that cooled off the refrigerator too much it appears.  Our power came back on at 5 pm on Thanksgiving, but that wasn't early enough to save any food.  The worst thing about that is it would be a great time to clean the refrigerator....but I just did that a couple of days ago to get ready for the turkey et al.
Here's why no power...and the only way off the island.  Fortunately there was a bit of space off-road just on the side of the bridge, or everyone would have been home and powerless on Thanksgiving.

Here's one of my poems from Winter Ways, available on Blurb, on the sidebar.  It seems fitting.  It was packy snow, as we liked to call it as kids.  Great for snowballs, snowmen, snowforts, and losing power with downed trees and wires.

A Question of Snow

Have you crystals?
Are you white?
Do you sparkle in the night?
Are you dry?
Are you wet?
Is your touch the coldest yet?
Are you flaky?
Do you freeze?
Do you rest in boughs of trees?
Are you heavy?
Are you light?
Do you make the winter bright?
Can we build a fort of you?
Can we make an angel, too?
If you've answered yes to all
I am guessing you're
SNOWFALL!


©Donna JT Smith, 2014 all rights reserved

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Poetry Jam - How to Poems

Today's challenge at Poetry Jam is to write a "how to" poem...
and so here is my "How to Write a Poem"...and my "How to Be Six" poem embedded in it.

How to Write a Poem

first write down a bunch of things
all the zany little zings
that just wing
into your
brain
your fenced in frame
of mind.
when your fingers stop and linger
on a gritty, grainy zinger
let it sing
out of your
brain
unfettered frame
of mind.

How to be
How to stop a cat
How to pat a dog
how to clean the refrigerator
how to stuff a turkey
how to make coffee
how to climb a hill
how to try on shoes
how to comb your hair
how to brush a cat/dog
how to open a door
how to close a door
how to calm fears
how to eat a lobster
how to drive
how to crack an egg
how to watch a deer
how to talk to a cat
how to talk to a dog
how to be six

How to Be Six

take away your many years
put aside your grown up fears
look for silly where you are
make a vroom sound for a car
grin and make a funny face
start a rousing game of chase
put an olive on your finger
when its bedtime whine and linger
throw a rock that goes too far
almost hitting someone’s car;
lick your finger, rub your shoe
till it looks as good as new;
put your backpack on your belly,
stick your finger in the jelly;
put on shoes, left on right -
try to tie the laces tight;
put your toys and clothes away,
toss them where the monsters play;
ride a bike, swing on swings,
think of scary, funny things;
ask one question, then another,
when you’re finished, hit your brother;
use a sheet to build a tent
ask just what “inquis'tive” meant;
find a tree to climb real high,
sitting there, become a spy;
watch for strangers and for danger,
then become a forest ranger;
ride your bike so fast you crash,
dig to find a pirate’s stash;
see how deep a puddle is
shake a soda, watch it fizz;
muddy feet and dirty clothes,
clean them off with garden hose;
then
when
you’ve become your best at six
another number has some tricks;
time to see how you will handle
another year, another candle;
grab the next list of “How to...”
seven’s here to challenge you.

©Donna JT Smith, 2014, all rights reserved


Wednesday, November 19, 2014

I Am

Here we go - Poetry Jam's prompt today is to write about who you are or are not...your identity.

Mirror Image

I look in the mirror and -
I am 5
wondering what I will
do when my friend hits me
my mother says "hit her back"
I cannot
I will not
"So sit on her"
I can do that
she does not hit me again
I am little
I will not hit my friend
but I will not be bullied.

I am 6
wondering why a stranger
would say, "Hi, chubby!"
I ignore him
my mother and mirror
assure me I am not
he does not know me
in my outgrown red shirt
my happy bare feet
and dirty fingernails
that have built miles of roads
for my Tonka truck.

I am 8
wondering at a stranger who
tells my parents I am so grown up
to give him comfort
on the side of the road,
when he has hit our dog
with his car
as we wait for the school bus
I assure him, "My dog will be all right"
though I am a bit worried
that our dog will die
I do not want him
to feel sad or worried.

I am 10
wondering why my friend
says I
cannot be
in her special club
so I make my own
special club that she cannot
even dream to be in
but I cannot keep her out
I can't be mean
to my friend.

I am 14
and wonder why boys
all seem to want to talk to me
and my father is outraged
when a 21 year old
at the hardware store
asks if
he can date me
he is embarrassed
to learn that
I am so young
I did not ask for this
new kind of attention
I just wanted to buy
some nails for my dad.

I am 17
wondering why a friend
talks behind my back
spreading hate
power dwells
in rumors
but I will not be bullied
I work my way back up
from depths I did not know
existed
she is not a friend
I should have seen that.

I am 21
wondering about the future
wearing a veil
I say “I do”
to someone
who calls me beautiful
I will let him think so
he calls me wonderful
I think “if you say so”
we buy a house
we begin a
happily
ever after
as best friends.

I am 30
with wonderment
I hear our firstborn’s cry
I hear exclamations of “It’s a boy!”
“I know," I whisper
this is not a surprise to me
and two years later
neither is his sister
they are beautiful
and wonderful
who needs ultrasound
when you are given dreams?

I am today
still a child
a little girl
a young lady
a new bride
mother of two
and grandmother
I am who I am
because of all that has been done
because of all I have done
my husband still calls me
beautiful and wonderful
but my mirror says
he is the beautiful and
wonderful one

I am ageless
and wonder what will
be added in the
time that I have
been given.

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Tuesday - Woo-Hoo Day!

Yesterday afternoon I went in to town to work with second graders (I love that...I just walk in, grab a clipboard and go hunting for students available to do some extra reading or writing...) as a volunteer in my old school (from which I am retired).  That in itself made it a great day.  I have one kid who asks throughout the week if I'm coming to read with him.  I like that.  Someone looks forward to seeing me.  AND then I leave.  I don't have to keep Running Records, score anything, write a report, etc...none of that.  All the good parts of teaching without the paperworky quirky things.
So yesterday was already a great day.
But when I got home, there was a small UPS package waiting for me, leaning up against my front door.
As an aside, I do have to tell you this.  If I hadn't even seen the package, I'd have known someone had been on our front porch by the dog's reaction when I got home.  She was standing over as far away from the door as possible, looking at us from between the open stairs to the loft, barking at us.  She didn't come to the door.  She's a Golden Retriever, and older, and when we come home sometimes she'll bark a little bit, but then comes to the door to greet us with her tail end all wiggly-twiggly.  But when someone has been there - like UPS, FedEx or the oil man, she's hiding out as far away as possible, barking from a safe distance.  She's a great "delayed alert" dog.

Anyway, there was a small package on the doorstep, and it was my paperback copy of Winter Ways!  When I had torn the package open in my own special way (which will be a blog another day), it looked just right, better even than I'd imagined.  It was shiny covered, just right for holding sized, with real paper pages inside and my poems and my pictures and my name and an ISBN.  No, it does not get any better than that.  Not yet anyway.

I'm still waiting for The Fall of the Leaves of Fall.  I think they lost it, being 4 days overdue now.  For some reason it did not have a tracking number as this one did and the book my grandson got.  So I can't tell you about that one yet.  I do know this one is just the way I had hoped it would look - and I'm being assured FLF will be beautiful, too.

So this is a reminder for anyone out there with any iBook reader for iPad, iPhone or Mac computer...Winter Ways is available as a free download this week and next.  Just click on the book to the right and select ebook for $0.00!
Who knows, you may want your own paperback...
Here it is:
An ISBN! It must be a real book!

The cover - my front yard in winter

Here's Twinkly Sprinkly...

And two more where that came from!

I had a great day!  Now let's go make someone else's day great by reading other Slices of Life over at Two Writing Teachers today because it is Tuesday - WooHoo Day!

Friday, November 14, 2014

And Now It Must Be Friday...

My brain could be back on schedule.  I woke up knowing it was Friday and that I hadn't posted anything for Poetry Friday.

I've been reading lots of poetry for a while now.  You know, poetry is a funny thing.  I wrote "funny think" first and corrected it, but I think I am right.  It's a "funny think".  It isn't really a story, though it can be.  It's just a funny think; something that occurs to you - and mostly all in one sitting.  Oh, yes, you may edit and revise, but by and large the whole "think" comes in one sitting - in one huge think.
I am not a big fan of poems that make you think too hard on the receiving end though.  You know, where a tree frog is symbolic for how someone's life is going, but they don't say it, so I'm left wondering if they truly feel that way about frogs, or maybe I should be feeling that way, or maybe it's really a statement about pond life in general...  I guess I'm pretty superficial when it comes to art.
However I do like some word play and snippets of rhyme and a good rhythm.  And I like a good ending.  It doesn't have to be a happy ending.
Not all of these things are easy to accomplish in a poem, thus the final revisions and editings.  But the "funny think" came first.  And by "funny", I don't mean it has to BE funny...it just is an unusual, unique or "just struck you", interesting way of thinking about something.
This is one of my "funny thinks".  I wasn't sure I would ever write about it, but there he was again in my line of sight when I took the dog out this morning.  And the "funny think" happened.  This is not like the tree frog idea.  It really is just about a bird.

Sorry, Sparrow

I heard a thud on my window,
I knew it was a bird;
Now his body's in my rosebush,
I wish I hadn't heard.

One moment he was soaring free
So sad to see him dead
Windows showing him sky and tree -
Merely mirrored instead.

And now a poor little sparrow
Left in my rosebush thorns
Will not be flying home again.
Where is his mate that mourns?

I have a picture...but out of respect for his relatives, I will not be posting it.
Go read more "funny thinks" for Poetry Friday with Keri at Keri Recommends today!

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Oh, It's Thursday?

Goodness...I feel like I've been rude.  I just got so caught up in being distracted that I forgot it was Thursday.  With Veterans' Day on Tuesday, I got off by a day, I guess.  There were things I wanted to remember to do today, and things that I thought were happening today but happened yesterday - so missed them entirely.

Anyway, I wanted to say thank you to Michelle Barnes.  She has my haiku on her site today for the November Ditty of the Month Club offering.  It is part of her collection of monster-inspired haiku this month.  Mine isn't exactly monstrous, but it does have a black cat.  Head on over to Today's Little Ditty and maybe concoct your own monster-y haiku to submit!  It's fun.  Who isn't up for fun...any day of the week...?

Phew!  OK, so tomorrow is Friday, right?

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Dreams

Poetry Jam has the challenge to write about the word "dream".


Dream

a dream is what is not but is
though all the world is in a tiz
I enter into dream of day
and let my mind in there allay
all fears and worries, roiling strife
and cut through foggy seams of life
and I return much saner, for
my quiet time with secured door
reopening I am renewed 
a world made fresh each leaf a’dewed
and I can see more clearly when
in dreams I’ve taken Peace again

©Donna JT Smith

And my dream, my second book of poetry is now available.
"Winter Ways" is a collection of  Cold and Snowy Poems for young hearts.
The iBook version is free from now through the Thanksgiving weekend!


Winter Ways by Donna JT Smith | Make Your Own Book

Thanks for looking and reading! 

Saturday, November 8, 2014

An Exercise

On Friday, for Poetry Friday, Margaret Simon explained how she used her students as "guinea pigs" (so to speak), offering them a writing technique/prompt she had seen done by their state poet laureate, Ava Leavell Haymon, at the Book Festival Wordshop.
Her explanation and results are on her page  Reflections on the Teche here.
I decided to try the exercise, since I had a pen and the back of a large envelope right here handy beside me.


Here's the final, short 6 line poem that I came up with out of some of the words jotted down:

Oh, the luscious feeling
Of sweet love
I hum
So softly enveloped
In the arms of serenity
Blessed I am.

And this - with only a couple of very quick edits, is my "free writing" in 7 minutes.  It was supposed to be free writing - not a poem (complete with rhyming), but this just came out.  It is always a wonder-ing feeling when this happens.  I can never explain why sometimes words are easy and others they are labored over.
Was it the exercise of the writing of the words, the disregarding of the internal negatives thoughts, was it knowing I was going to write something not planned out, that I'd spontaneously would put on paper - and that I didn't have to share it if I didn't care to - like if it was stupid and terrible as the voices had said it would be before I disregarded them?
7 minutes - With the rest of the exercise, it was probably 15 minutes total for prep and both pieces.  I may try it again next week.  It seemed to free up the brain.
Thanks for the exercise, Margaret and Ava!

My Wonder

Days are long in summers lost;
Evening comes at precious cost -
Quick the sun’s last rays are cast,
Now the time is going fast.
As the stars come out to play,
When the moon peeks out a ray,
I alone am left to wonder
At their glory, at God’s thunder.
All around me dark of night
Blankets me and holds me tight
Till my breath it will not come
And my heartbeat slows to dumb;
Then I hear the breath of night
Breathing songs into the white
Of stars and moon, oh, they too sing
And I have heard no grander thing
Than dark and light in chorus lift
Their voices smooth and soft and swift
Drifting to my ears on earth
Offering me a chance for birth
I can only hear them when
My hand is still, and God wields pen.

Donna JT Smith
Nov. 8, 2014