Friday, April 20, 2018

S is for Speed and Sedoka

I am participating in the A to Z Challenge this month, and today's letter is S.

I have spent the past year-ish taking pictures of Maine vanity plates when I encountered them - most all in shopping center parking lots.  I am writing a poem for each one, and this year the poem form begins with the same letter.  I found 3 Maine vanity plates for today, and chose a Sedoka.

The Sedoka is an unrhymed poem made up of two three-line katauta with the following syllable counts: 5/7/7, 5/7/7. A Sedoka, pair of katauta as a single poem, may address the same subject from differing perspectives.


Head perks up, ears twist,
Pausing in midstride, snort, stomp,
White tailed warning to the herd

Legs blend with saplings
Agile, invisible speed
Blurring tranquility’s space.

by Donna JT Smith, 2018

There is no A to Z on Sunday's...see you Monday!

Thursday, April 19, 2018

R is for ROADHSE and Rondel

It is Poetry Friday, and what better news than that the anthology Imperfect: poems about mistakes: an anthology for middleschoolers, editor: Tabatha Yeatts, comes out today and is available through Barnes and Noble??   I'm excited to have three poems in there!

I also wanted to point you in the direction of The Mistakes Anthology blog where I have a riddly poem of a storybook mistake-maker. I'll bet you recognize this character!

Also, I am participating in the A to Z Challenge this month and incorporating National Poetry Month
by writing poem each day.

Today's letter for the AtoZ is R.  I have spent the past year-ish taking pictures of Maine vanity plates on cars in parking lots in Maine.  This year each poem form also begins with the same letter.  I found 2 Maine vanity plates for today, and chose a Rondel for ROADHSE.

A Rondel is a French form consisting of 13 lines: two quatrains and a quintet, rhyming as follows: ABba abAB abbaA. The capital letters are the refrains, or repeats.


By the side of the road, a dusty road,
The red brick home stood straight and tall
Its path to the door welcomed all
With promise of a warm abode.

Where fireside conversation flowed
In spite of night and owl call  
By the side of the road, a dusty road,
The red brick home stood straight and tall.

Its complexion faded and colors yellowed,
Its furnishings encased in pall
And stains of age upon the wall
This was the home that brightly glowed
By the side of the road, a dusty road.

by Donna JT Smith, ©2018

RYSKY is a good poem for another time.

Please visit more poetry goodness at  - oh, wait!!!
It's Tabatha's turn to host at The Opposite of Indifference today!  
She will probably have a bit to say about

Wednesday, April 18, 2018

Q is for QUA8RO and Quinzaine

I am participating in the A to Z Challenge this month, and today's letter is Q.
I have spent the past year-ish taking pictures of Maine vanity plates when I saw them.  I am writing a poem for each one, and this year the poem form begins with the same letter.
I only found one vanity plate for this one!  Surprise, surprise!  Q is not one of those popular letters, I guess.

I wrote a Quinzaine for this one.
A quinzaine is an unrhymed verse of fifteen syllables in three lines with the syllable distribution of 7/5/3.  The first line is a statement and the next two lines ask a question relating to the first line.


One and two and three and four.
Strumming on guitar?
Or counting?

by Donna JT Smith,  ©2018


Quatro = four in Spanish
Quatro = a small guitar with four or five strings or pairs of strings, used in Latin American and Caribbean music.

Rrrrrr be next!

Tuesday, April 17, 2018

P is for Puglife and Pantoum

Pantoums do not have to a certain length. They have a repetition of two lines from the first stanza in the following stanza. In the traditional Pantoum form, the first line becomes the last line and the third line becomes the third from last. The last Stanza always has the same format as the previous, except that line 3 of the first stanza becomes the second, and line 1 becomes the last line....ok?  You DO have that all straight in your mind, right??
Okay here it is again in Stanza and Line diagram:

Stanza 1:

4 lines, ABAB rhyme scheme
Stanza 2:
Line 5 (repeat of line 2 in stanza 1)
Line 6 (new line)
Line 7   (repeat of line 4 in stanza 1)
Line 8 (new line)
Stanza 3:
Last Stanza (This is the format for the last stanza regardless of how many preceding stanzas exist):
Line 9   (line 2 of the previous stanza)
Line 10 (line 3 of the first stanza)
Line 11 (line 4 of the previous stanza)
Line 12 (line 1 of the first stanza) 

But really, you can only get a good picture of it when you have a poem in front of you along with the directions.  This is not an easy-peasy form until you have written a few.  When I am writing one, I have to put the letters down the sides along with numbers for each line.  Then when I have one line I copy and paste it into the other line it needs putting in.  And I go from there, making sure the line will really go with the next pasted in line...and edit, edit, sigh, edit.  This one, fortunately, wasn't too hard.  "PUGLIFE" may have been if I hadn't just recently found this new plate!  My titles don't change because I prescheduled these on the AtoZ linkup, and it would have messed up my link.

Pay It Forward

You know you have good you can do.
You have something to offer someone.
A selfless deed, out of the blue -
A "pay it forward" bit of pure fun.

You have something to offer someone.
It doesn't take very long-
A "pay it forward" bit of pure fun -
A sweetness to pass along.

It doesn't take very long -
A selfless deed, out of the blue -
A sweetness to pass along.
You know you have good you can do.

by Donna JT Smith ©2018

Here are two more interesting vanity plates I discovered, but did not write to:

Monday, April 16, 2018

O is for Only 1 and Ode

The vanity plate, Only 1, was going to have an Ode written for it.   It wasn't flowing freely from my brain, so it has been changed to an Ottava Riva - with just a taste of Ode-yness!
I'm investigating Odes and their requirements.  It's way more than the simple definition of praising something with some rhyming thrown in.  Check this link to read a pretty good, thorough discussion about Odes here:

Ottava Rima Poems:

Ottava rima are 8 lines with an abababcc rhyme scheme, most commonly written 10-syllable lines. The form can work as a stand alone poem, or be used as connecting stanzas.

This one poured out when I changed to an Ottava Rima.  No idea where it was going when I started it.  But I'm pretty happy with it now.  It is to be read slowly, but enthusiastically with a hint of reverence.

Only One

You are the only one I'll ever love,
The only one who fills the void inside.
You fit me like a hand fits in a glove,
The one that helps me take each day in stride
And seems to give me just the bit of shove
I need to get me ready for this ride.
Oh, coffee, freshly brewed and steaming hot,
When you are gone I'll make another pot!

by Donna JT Smith, ©2018

Sunday, April 15, 2018

N is for Nerds and Naani

A vanity plate from Maine, and a poetry form that begin with N:

Poetry form: Naani: Naani originated in India, and consists of 4 lines, the total lines consists of 20 to 25 syllables.

Defined by others,

Nerds need no 

Dictionary verification;

It’s of no concern.
© 2018 Donna J.T. Smith

Half Way Through the Progressive Poem

April 15 and it is my turn to supply a line for Irene Latham's challenge to group-write an epic Progressive Poem each April!

But first...

I wrote these pre-poem thoughts, before I even read the first line. I thought I'd jot down what I thought I might/could/should do with the line no matter what the topic or event since it would be in the MIDDLE of the poem: 
  • Wouldn’t it be fun to find a single word you could repeat in the line like an interruption?
  • Maybe do a rat-a-tat-tat sound, or introduce an unusual sound?  
  • Maybe introduce an interesting color word?  
  • A texture/feeling?  
  • A taste?  
  • A smell?

Then I read Line 1 by Liz Steinglass:  "Nestled in her cozy bed, a seed stretched."

My thoughts about where the poem might go:
  • I’m picturing the life of a plant, that grows old and returns to the earth, while her seeds grow where she stood, and in other places they were birds, animal fur, children...atop a mountain stuck to a climbers sock, in the woods where an animal dropped it...what adversities does each encounter?
  • I could imagine being able to add almost any of the pre-poem ideas to this line as it stands.  But who knows where it will be by the time I read this again!

Some ongoing thoughts:
  • Hey, there's a bird carrying it! That was in my thoughts.  Maybe it will go that way...
  • This is crazy.
  • What?  How...
  • Oh, I see.  Yes.
  • Try reading it out loud.  Yes, much better.
  • Let's look at some interesting words in it: cozy, blooming, honeyed, feasting, whoosh, pulse, stardrops, moonbeams, embrace, sliding, dancing... so many!
And now, today - the poem.  This is what I was thinking as I read the poem today, preparing myself for the challenge of adding something worthy of this collaborative gem:
  • Remember to read your thoughts about this poem BEFORE you write.  Maybe they will help you.
  • Is the poem anything like what I'd imagined it would become?  Not really. 
  • Loosen up.  Scramble your brain some, unscramble your brain some.  
    • Have some coffee, sit for a bit.
    • Read it again
    • Joke about it with my husband, "I think I'll just write that Jasmine slipped out of the owl's talons and fell to the ground and the owl ate her, The End... 
  • Get serious.
Did I  use a pre-poem idea?  In a way, I did.  I knew that I wanted it to be unusual, and an interruption for the half-way point if at all possible. It wasn't a taste or smell or texture that needed to come out - it was MOVEMENT! 

I think I did what I thought the middle of a poem should/could/would do.  See what you think.  Here's the poem today with my part added - its half-way point:

Nestled in her cozy bed, a seed stretched.
Oh, what wonderful dreams she had!
Blooming in midnight moonlight, dancing with
the pulse of a thousand stars, sweet Jasmine
invented a game.

"Moon?" she called across warm honeyed air.
"I'm sad you're alone, come join Owl and me.  
We're feasting on stardrops, we'll share them with you." 
"Come find me, Moon called," hiding behind a cloud.

Secure in talons' embrace, Jasmine rose
and set. She split, twining up Owl's toes, pale 
moonbeams sliding in between, Whoosh, Jasmine goes.
Owl flew Jasmine between clouds and moon to Lee's party!

Moon, that wily bright balloon, was NOT alone.
                                                       Jas grinned,
                                                                          a new,
                                                   around          tender


Take it away, Sarah!!  It is your turn!
See the sidebar navigation to keep track of this poem's progression.                    


Friday, April 13, 2018

M is for MS NEAT and Minute Poetry

Poetry Form:  Minute Poetry - Minute Poetry has 12 lines of 60 syllables written in iambic meter. Its format is 3 stanzas of 8,4,4,4 syllables each.  The rhyme is aabb, ccdd, eeff.

Ms Neat

So many things to put in place
It's like a race;
A mess I fear  -
I neaten here.
Can never leave a speck of dirt
It seems to hurt
All must be fixed
Sorted, unmixed.
It's all just one big curse on me,
To live by sea
Where all this sand
Covers the land.

by Donna JT Smith

And here are more M vanity plates that I liked:


Thursday, April 12, 2018

L is for LAUGH and Limerick

Lee Bennett Hopkin's Birthday....Suh- prize!!  It's a happy birthday day to Lee Bennett Hopkins!
And we are all having a happy, hoopla of a day to celebrate!
Limerick, anyone?  I think these two poem have both subjects covered today!

There once was a poet named Lee
Who dined often on lobster and tea;
He'd dream then in rhyme
Which cost him sleep time
But sometimes his verses were free.

by Donna JT Smith, ©2018
Which takes us to LAUGH:

Happy Lee-day

There are often times
That bring tears to our eyes
And tears to others as well,
But isn't it great
When the tears are of joy
And everything ‘bout it is swell.
This is one of those times
When the misty eyes smile
And we get to have cake,
Goodness sake!
So spoon up ice cream
And get out the knife
For it’s time for some Lee birthday cake!
Sprinkles aplenty
Adorn all the sweets
Ooooh, I want the frosting rose!
I’m watching my diet
As it goes to my waist
But at least it won’t drop to my toes.
So bring on the sugar
The sweetness and bliss -
Mayhaps a poem or two!
Oh, our misty-eyed wish is
For the happiest day
And so many more for you!

by Donna JT Smith, ©2018

Also happy L day of A to Z, and Poetry Friday hosted by Robyn at Life on the Deckle Edge.
See you there!  Bring your own spoon!

Wednesday, April 11, 2018

K is for KITTIES and Kyrielle Sonnet

K is for a Kyrielle Sonnet for KITTIES:

A Kyrielle Sonnet consists of 14 lines (three rhyming quatrain stanzas and a non-rhyming couplet), with a repeating line or phrase as a refrain (usually appearing as the last line of each stanza). Each line within the Kyrielle Sonnet consists of eight syllables. French poetry forms have a tendency to link back to the beginning of the poem, so common practice is to use the first and last line of the first quatrain as the ending couplet. This would also re-enforce the refrain within the poem. Therefore, a good rhyming scheme for a Kyrielle Sonnet would be: 
 AabB, ccbB, ddbB, AB  or AbaB, cbcB, dbdB, AB

I chose the latter rhyming scheme for mine.  Actually I chose the latter, and switched (without realizing it until I showed it to my husband) to the former for the last two, then had to do some finagling to get it right.  It was easier to change the last two stanzas than the first, so did that.  I wanted to get some French in "tout le monde" replaced "all the world" or "everything".  Finis.

Old Cat

The warm sun blankets old cat’s back,
Slitted eyes and whiskery face
Hide behind tail striped gray and black;
He dreams again of the wild chase.

The chase that begins with twitching
Then lowers to a crouch and brace -
That fidgeting kind of itching -
He dreams again of the wild chase.

Once all rodents got a trouncing,
He always jumped with feline grace,

Tout le monde was his for pouncing;
He dreams again of the wild chase.

The warm sun blankets old cat’s back;
He dreams again of the wild chase.

by Donna JT Smith, 2018
More K vanity plates I found: