Friday, June 23, 2017

Poetry Friday Bumbershoots

On Thursdays, Laura Purdie Salas has an image and a challenge to write to the image in 15 words or less.  This week she had a picture taken at the Maple Grove Chalk Art Festival where it had been raining. 
(Here's a portion of Laura's image)



Here's my response:

WHAT IT IS…

Oh, Dat a Whay!

On, shumberboots;
Up, bubber roots;
Through ruddled poutes!
The rind and wain are in hacoots!

by Donna JT Smith

WHAT IT WAS…

Oh, What a Day!

Up, bumbershoots;
On, rubber boots;
Through puddled routes!
The wind and rain are in cahoots!

by Donna JT Smith

TAKE YOUR PICK.


I have been "off the air" for a while, trying to get some things straightened out with our new house.  Maybe I'll try to write about it soon.  We are not there yet.  I am living in piles of boxes - some packed, some unpacked, and some half-way filed; and surrounded by stuff that has had to be unpacked because we had to have some item in the two month delay and  ever-changing move-in date.

We have just recently had installed a beautiful new set of kitchen cabinets at our new home, but it will be ripped out in a couple of days, due to a very poor installation job and some design problems... Good news, though.  Lowe's is covering it all.  It was really bad.  Really.  Bad.  Thankfully, Lowe's immediately responded and has treated us fairly.  I will continue to shop there and recommend them.  I don't even think I want to show the images of the disaster, as they have been so gracious and willing to make it all right.  I will show images when the finished kitchen is all displayed in it's buttery splendor, though!

Happy here.  Have a wonderful Poetry Friday!  Go visit our hostess, Heidi, at My Juicy Little Universe and see what poetry treats are in store!

Thursday, June 8, 2017

Poetry Friday - Avoiding Joy


It's Poetry Friday!  I love this day!  And I love visiting Mary Lee's site, so it is doubly fun today as she is hosting all our poetry links.  Go visit Mary Lee at A Year of Reading.  Check out all the other offerings!
Is this not joy?

Last week on Thursday, the Spiritual Thursday post was to talk about "finding joy". Margaret Simon had the prompt and was our hostess that day.

Well, I had started this poem about finding joy and then lost it - or forgot about it.  Then on Friday morning, I was looking for something and in my purse I found this folded up North Country Harley Davidson invoice with scribbles on it.  It was the poem I'd started while we were riding in the car, when I started thinking about the topic of Finding Joy, its original title. As I began writing, though, it was clear that it was more about how we can refuse to find joy, preferring instead to wallow in self-pity, depression, unhappiness...
Have you ever avoided joy?

I've seen people do this... ME?  Of course, it is more understandable when I do it!!  LOL!  The poem was spurred by my own actions at times when I just wanted to wallow or be difficult, and thinking about how hard it was to snap out of it and "succumb to" good thoughts and a smile!

I remind myself that it is easier sometimes to find the bad in things than the good when you are on a roll!  However, it is just as easy to find the good and get on that roll!  It might involve putting the brakes on hard and almost upsetting yourself to do it, but it is worth it and always do-able.

I want to stop the Pollyanna-eze here, though.  I admit there will be times when it isn't as easy as one would like, and I can't say I am always successful at it.
(Yeah, like this week when I wasn't too happy with some of the details of our kitchen cabinet  installation...  but I digress... back to joy so I can avoid going down that path again...)

Avoiding Joy

Did you ever avoid finding joy?
I know it can be done:
Refuse to muse on trees,
Deny the warming sun,
Turn from a dewy bloom,
Rebuke the glinting sea,
Look through disdaining eyes,
Hold on to jealousy,
Drain color from a sunset,
Remain in shadowed vale,
Still a robin's echoing trill,
Pursue a lonesome trail,
Trade the sweetest laughter
For hot and bitter tears,
Decline the tiniest hint
Of any smile that nears;
Turn away a touch,
Slough off all advice:
You haven't need of such,
Embrace your heart of ice.
I've seen it being done;
It seems a sorry goal
To uninvite a joyfulness
For sorrow in your soul
When it could very easily
Be welcomed in your heart.
It's hard at first, but when you do
A hum will likely start,
And slowly seeping past the doubts
It starts to overflow;
It's scary when the singing starts
With words you do not know.
Just go with it, look through new eyes,
The ones without defeat,
And you might find the world out there
Is bountiful and sweet.
It's more than we deserve in life;
Be watchful for each stone -
For turning them we'll likely find
Some blessing yet unshown.
Embrace the joy of blessings

Melt your ice with flame;

If you refuse the joy in life

You’ve only you to blame.




by Donna JT Smith, 2017

Have you ever avoided joy???

Friday, June 2, 2017

Golden Poetry Friday

This is a repost of my Monday, Memorial Day post - with a few additions and revisions:

I was reading, Laura Salas' Golden Shovel poem creation.  I had heard of Golden Shovel before, but wasn't sure what it was, so I looked it up.  It looked like fun!
Grab a line of poetry.  Use each word in the line in order as the last word in each of the new poem's lines.  Make sure to credit the original author.
I decided to give it a go - if I could actually find a book of poetry in this awful mess I've created around me in the process of packing, tossing and yard-saling for our move to Gull Haven.

I did find one book without unpacking or digging:

This one was still unpacked in a stack of books on a box in the kitchen.  It was a book of Rupert Brooke's poetry "1914 and Other Poems".  It actually has more than at that link; it is two collections in one volume.  The second part of the book is just Poems by Rupert Brooke.  My eye happened upon "The Voice" first, in the second part of the volume and it made me laugh.  I'll let you listen to it first, being read by Heine Smek.


Further searches brought me to the Rupert Brooke's Society page and an article about his life in The New Yorker online.  After finding "The Treasure" written in August of 1914, in the book, I also found it online.  It was this one I decided to use for my Golden Shovel Poem.

The Treasure

by Rupert Brooke

When colour goes home into the eyes,
   And lights that shine are shut again,
With dancing girls and sweet birds' cries
   Behind the gateways of the brain;
And that no-place which gave them birth, shall close
The rainbow and the rose: -
Still may Time hold some golden space
   Where I'll unpack that scented store
Of song and flower and sky and face,
   And count, and touch, and turn them o'er,
Musing upon them; as a mother, who
Has watched her children all the rich day through,
Sits, quiet-handed, in the fading light,
When children sleep, ere night.
August 1914

I selected the highlighted line to write my "Golden Shovel Poem".   It came out in one sitting with no edits.  It must have been the right line.  And I think it was affected by the mood of "The Voice", as select words were lifted from that poem also.

Treasure in Night
from Rupert Brooke's "The Treasure"

She, in solitude, sits,
The night speaks in quiet
Voice and she is handed,
The keys to a thousand dreams in
Place of the
Touch of his hand, memory fading
As the sun makes real in the light.


by Donna JT Smith, May 29, 2017 (102 years later!)

Today is a day like no other.  Go find a poem to befriend!
There are definitely some great links being posted over at Buffy's Blog!

Thursday, June 1, 2017

First Thursday - Finding Joy

Today Margaret Simon is hosting Spiritual First Thursday and has offered the topic - finding joy.  I started writing this as soon as the reminder came out from Irene.  I wrote and thought I was all done.  Then I went back and looked at it.  A jumble of thoughts.  A patchwork of words.  I didn't like it.  So I'm starting again.  A REJOICE.

Finding joy is about rejoicing.  You can always find joy once.  But can you do it again?  Can you do it again when you really, really need it?

Imagine you have a cookie.  And when the cookie is gone, are you still happy?  Can you get happy again just by thinking about it?  Or do you have to have another cookie to bring back that state of mind?  Sometimes we feel so close to God the joy is palpable.  Then we distance ourselves, and the joy is diminished.  We need another "cookie".  We need another prayer, a talk, a walk.  You need to keep close to Him and that closeness will bring you the joy you are seeking.

It seems that you can be unhappy and still have joy in your heart.  It makes the times of unhappiness more bearable.  This is a something that, though it can't be seen, others can sense even when you are bearing a terrible load.  They can sense that your load is being carried by someone else along with you.  They can smell those chocolate chip cookies and see the crumbs!  Be ready to answer the questions they ask about finding some of that joy themselves... share your cookies!

Isaiah 12: 2-4
Behold, God is my salvation; I will trust, and not be afraid: for the Lord Jehovah is my strength and my song; he also is become my salvation.
Therefore with joy shall ye draw water out of the wells of salvation.
And in that day shall ye say, Praise the Lord, call upon his name, declare his doings among the people, make mention that his name is exalted.

Once you find joy, it can bolster you and keep you strong through the worst of happenings.  How do you find it?  It is just a matter of remembering and turning to Him when the cookie's been eaten.  Actually, it's a good idea to return BEFORE the cookie is gone.
Joy doesn't need to come in "waves"; it can be a steady stream of rejoicing...a conveyor belt of joy!  Rejoice - Joy again!

Rejoice in the Lord alway: and again I say Rejoice!  Philippians 4:4

There's nothing better than to have joy again and again!

"Oh, rejoice in the Lord, He makes no mistake;
He knoweth the end of each path that I take;
And when I am tried
and purified,
I shall come forth as gold!"

The worst times don't have to be devoid of joy.  Joy allows you to be tried and still emerge strong.

Here's Ronald Hamilton and the story of how he came to be known at Patch the Pirate, and singing the song "Rejoice in the Lord" that he wrote about his experience (at about 4:13 if you just want the song).
Enjoy!



Okay, now I'm tired!  I've rewritten all of this, and I hope it makes sense!  I'm setting this to post at midnight, and I'll read it again in the morning.

Actually I'm probably going to find more joy in reading all the other posts about finding joy more than rereading this one!

Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Parenting the World

 Slice of Life Tuesday:
View from the top edge - a long way down!

View off the left edge

View to the right partway up.
We went here last week.  Took the motorcycles for a short ride down to the ocean.  It was a cool day.  The tide was going out, but was still pretty high on the beach and rocks.  It was a loud and boisterous sea.
We were on our way climbing the path to the high point that overlooks the open ocean and the sandy beach off to the side of it.  As we approached, we saw a young child on the beach.  There were two adults on the beach also and two more coming over the dune walkway.  I watched but both pairs ignored her and went on their way.  We continued to walk up the path and I spotted her again, now approaching the ledges with a small stick.  She began to climb up and wander toward the ocean side of the rocks.  No one was with her.  No one was close by except us.  She continued to walk up the ledges closer to us.  I called to her and she looked at me and smiled.  I asked her if the man on the beach was her dad and she answered something, but her voice was carried away by the wind and muffled by the waves crashing on the beach and rocks.  I asked her again and pointed to the couple that was below on the beach taking pictures of the ocean - though I was pretty sure they were not her parents, as they were not paying the least amount of attention to her.
I again asked her where her mom was and she pointed in a direction where I could not see a living soul.
I got very close to her face, so I could hear her and she could hear me, and then asked her to take me to her mother.  She willingly obliged, and began climbing down off the rocks.  This took a while and I would have liked to have held her hand and helped her down, but decided not to do that.
When she got down I followed her across the beach.  From behind the shelter of a driftwood lean-to on the far edge of the beach, a good distance away from the water and the ledge, a woman appeared wearing a trench coat and a brimmed hat.  She looked cold.  She began to walk toward us.
When we met on the beach, I told her that I'd asked the girl to take me to her mother, since she appeared to be alone on the rocks with lots of strangers around.  I was concerned for her safety.  Her mother said, "Oh, she's okay."  I repeated my concern.
"We were watching her," was her reply.
I explained how we have lost people from these ledges when a waves hits them.  She smiled and thanked me for my concern.  I asked her if she was from the area.  "Yes, Auburn," was her reply in a thick foreign accent.  Right.  If you aren't from the ocean, and in particular familiar with this beach, you tend to ignore the signs telling you how unpredicable the waves are and to be careful not to get too close to the water on the ledges.
She wasn't "from here", so I explained one last time how dangerous it was on the ledge with unpredictable waves, and turned to go.
The little girl asked me my name, and I told her Mrs. Smith, and that I was a teacher in the area. Her mom's eyebrows raised and she said, "Oh!" - kind of surprised sounding (and it seemed a little impressed?).
The little girl repeated my name.  I decided against asking her what her name was, but instead asked her how old she was.  She counted up 4 fingers to show me.

Anyone who has to hold up their fingers to tell you how old they are should have an adult holding that hand.

Monday, May 29, 2017

Golden Shovel - Take 1

I was reading this morning, early, Laura Salas' Golden Shovel poem creation, and decided to look up what this was and how to do it and could I try it if I actually found a book of poetry in this awful mess I've created around me in the process of packing, tossing and yard-saling for our move to Gull Haven.
I found out what it was AND I found a book of Rupert Brooke's poetry "1914 and Other Poems".

I also found the Rupert Brooke's Society page and an article about his life in The New Yorker online and the poem "The Treasure" written in August of 1914.

The Treasure

When colour goes home into the eyes,
   And lights that shine are shut again,
With dancing girls and sweet birds' cries
   Behind the gateways of the brain;
And that no-place which gave them birth, shall close
The rainbow and the rose: -
Still may Time hold some golden space
   Where I'll unpack that scented store
Of song and flower and sky and face,
   And count, and touch, and turn them o'er,
Musing upon them; as a mother, who
Has watched her children all the rich day through,
Sits, quiet-handed, in the fading light,
When children sleep, ere night.
August 1914

I selected the highlighted line to write my Golden Shovel Poem.   It came out in one sitting with no edits.  It must have been the right line.

Treasure in Night
from Rupert Brooke's "The Treasure"

She, in solitude, sits,
The night speaks in quiet
Voice and she is handed,
The keys to a thousand dreams in
Place of the
Touch of his hand, memory fading
As the sun makes real in the light.


by Donna JT Smith, May 29, 2017

Sunday, May 28, 2017

It's Sunday - The Book

Though this is not a response to Michelle's Ditty challenge for May, it was inspired somewhat by it.  The word "book" began to talk to me.  As we have been packing to move, I have been discovering Bibles galore in our house.  Everywhere I turn, I see a Bible.  Most of them were on bookshelves.  Most are unread - because really, how many do you NEED at one time?

I've realized that I have a problem with buying Bibles (and my husband does, too), but I'd never gathered them ALL in one place before.  Purple?  I don't have a purple Bible!  I need one.  Oooh, a snap closure!  I don't have one of those.  Zippered AND blue?? I'll take it!  
Sometimes we bought them and forgot we did.  We even rescued a perfectly good leather Bible at the dump once.  I now have my mother's, my father-in-law's, and my grandparents' family Bibles in our collection. 
And these aren't all of them - I don't even know how many we've given away over the years! Sometimes we bought them for kids at church when we did special programs, or to give to someone when they didn't have a Bible.  And do you count New Testaments as Bibles... there are quite few of those.
As I sit here I can count 12 Bibles in the kitchen.  There are more, but I can't see in the cloth shopping bag that is full of them.  I don't know how many are in the livingroom or the hallway, and my own church bag has at least one in there.
So to say we have too many Bibles for the space in our new small house would be an understatement.  I think we will be bringing our excess Bibles to our new church to see if anyone needs one, or if they want to keep some for new people as they add members.  We'll see.  Maybe I can keep a just a few extras for spares.  There is just something about knowing that I have the Word in my hands...
Oh, there is nothing like the smell of a new book - especially a leatherbound Bible.


The Book

This, my Book upon the shelf
has nowhere else to be
but in my willing hands
to open doors for me;
This that's carried in my hands
I've captured in my heart,
Reminds me where to look to find
a whole new way to start;
It's opened up new doors for me,
it stays close by my side;
No more residing on the shelf
with other books to hide.

This book is like my GPS:
It guides me step and turn,
with points of interest in each verse
and chapter that I learn;
This book is wholesome medicine
to heal a broken heart,
with remedies not understood,
no need to plot a chart.
It tells of mysteries we can know,
solutions we can reach
by asking for forgiveness;
Repentance mends all breach.

This Book once standing on the shelf
has somewhere now to be;
I open it with loving hands -
it reads my heart to me;
It comforts me and leads me,
Addresses every need,
It points me to the One who died
For every soul He'd bleed.
Reaching deep into my heart
He asked me once to go
To walk with Him and talk with Him
And let Him save my soul.

If not for my dear Bible
I'd dread what lies ahead;
I'm glad it called from on the shelf
and brought me where it's lead.
It pulls my heart strings constantly,
reminds me where to look;
Whispers soothing to my soul say 
God's within this Book.
And as I hold it in my hands
God holds onto me too;
I'm thankful for my Book from God;
How I pray it calls to you.

by Donna JT Smith, 2017


 Do I have a favorite Bible?  No and yes.  It is whichever one is in my hands.

Saturday, May 27, 2017

Birthing a Book

Birthing a Book

Writing is like giving birth... same amount of pain and joy... same order.
Thanks  Michelle Barnes and Melissa Manlov for the challenge this month to write about how writing or a book is like something else...  Yesterday I posted Circus for Poetry Friday.  Today is Poem #2:

Birthing a Book

Giving birth to a book
Is no ordinary thing;
Like a true living baby
It makes your heart sing!
Right from the beginning
You knew it was there,
And though not all formed
You gave it your care.
You felt as it moved,
And it gave you a nudge,
And even at midnight
You’d feed it with fudge.
Some times this book-baby
Would make you feel sick
But cozying down
Sweet names you would pick:
That name, for a boy,
This one, for a girl,
Then back to the business
Of taking a hurl,
Until things settled down
And it grew and it grew,
Till the “Precious” you dreamed of
Emerged and came true;
That laborious birth-day
Was a day like no other,
For now you were newly
And truly a mother.

©Donna JT Smith, 2017

Friday, May 26, 2017

Poetry Friday - The Circus



In response to Michelle Barnes' and Melissa Manlov's May challenge to write a poem that explores how writing or a book is like something else, I wrote this poem comparing a three ring circus to writing.  I have been in such a different mind place lately and not had the minutes to myself to write, that this challenge was a challenge.  I knew from the beginning it would be a circus, yet it wasn't coming through quickly.  So I doubted myself, and began to jot down other ideas of comparisons.  They were horrid, so I'd give up, knowing that none were speaking to me; then the circus would return.  Giving up on the idea of an easy flow of words, I let the rough edges of the circus take shape in phrases.  Then the "comparison" poem (kind of two voices) evolved, and I let it do what it had been trying to do all along.  Never fight it.  Poems do not like to be told what to do.


Circus

Step right up and sit right down,
The thrilling Big Top’s come to town!

I wake up, sit down to write…
Some thrilling Big Thought's brought to light!


Juggling rings, plates and balls,
Taming lions, tigers and all,
Throwing sharp knives,
Balancing chairs
Grasping a flying
       trapeze in the air...   
Swallowing flames,
And other such games;
Walking on tightropes
Lights flash in the dark -
Shot from a cannon
       just hits the mark!

Juggling words and phrases,
Taming lines, titles and spaces,
Throwing hands up,
Balancing rhymes,
Grasping a flying
       thought as it climbs...
Swallowing pride,
No corner to hide;
Walking a fine line,
Light glows in the dark,
Shot of caffeine that
       just hits the mark!


At end packing up tents
And daring events
       On to the next town

At end packing up pens
Yet daring again
       To write more thoughts down


One must never forget
       To set up the net

And, just as important,
       To send in
           The clown.


©Donna JT Smith, 2017


A happy ending is always good. 

It's Poetry Friday and Margaret at Reflections on the Teche has loads of links to share today if you are in the mood for a plethora of poetry!