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

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Tuesday on Wednesday

As promised yesterday, when I shared pictures from Memorial Day at the ocean side, here are Wednesday's pictures taken on my way home from tutoring.  Actually, I kept driving just a little bit, past my house, in order to get to the beach.  I'm so grateful for the phone's camera.  It really does do a good job with photos and video.

It was a gorgeous spring day with very few other humans out there.  I love coming out here between seasons: when the snow has left and the tourists have not yet arrived, and when the tourists have left but the snow has not yet arrived.  They are both times when the wind is very present though.  I'm posting a video also, but the wind was pretty wild up on the ledge.  So good luck hearing the crash of waves!  It was hard to record wave noises, I could barely hear the waves and gulls myself!

Speaking of gulls, I tried unsuccessfully to get a video of some soaring.  They seem to enjoy gliding on the wind currents.  One looked like it was trying to touch the top of a spruce, though they certainly don't roost in trees, it looked like he was trying to get something and kept being blown back from the top.  Who knows? He may have dropped a prize mussel in it, missing the rocks he was trying to hit.

When tourists come from inland states, it must be amazing to see the ocean for the first time.  I remember vaguely this being my first view of the Atlantic Ocean at 6 years old.  It's the first time you get to experience the feeling of seeing forever (aside from looking up at the sky), and it truly is awesome EVERY time you see it.

Oh, don't get too close to the edge of the water here...sometimes the waves are a bit unpredictable - at least to us humans, as I'm sure they know what they are doing at all times.  And yes, the rocks do get slippery.  And yes, people have been swept off them as they are concentrating on their camera viewfinder.  So proceed at your own risk.


I also love the view through the scrubby spruce on top of the ledge, overlooking the islands, because of the variety in colors and surface textures.

I love looking out as far as I can see and imagining where my eyes could see if I could see around the curve of the earth.  I like to imagine how deep the ocean goes, and what it would look like if there were no water there.

Here's my view of Forever!
Pretty soon the beach roses will be out adding to the view and HEAVENLY smells!

And here is my "found" poem from (in blue, forward and backward - a tidal poem) the post today:

waves trying to touch -
the amazing
experience -
close to the edge
overlooking -
close to the edge
feeling -
the amazing,
trying to touch waves

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Today and Yesterday in Pictures


My slice of life today is from yesterday - Memorial Day - spent in our old childhood stomping grounds...

A place where we played as kids...

Jagged rocks
Hiding shy baby crabs
Between tides
On our playground
Periwinkles getting
Free rides
Tossed skyward
To the deep
Cold pool
Mussels clinging
Tightly, shutting out
The chatter of
Those who wondered
At the darkness of a life
Encased in
Such a purple

Yesterday, with one of my brothers, my sister, my husband, sister-in-law and son, we ate lobster and fish at the restaurant across the road, then took a stroll on the beach that we used to roam on our own for hours.  No one drowned.  The water is too cold for that.  No one kidnapped us.  No one wanted us.
Upon closer inspection of this clam shell....
there was a snail living inside quite happily (I'm assuming), though he was pretty well stuck in there.  I think if he just kept walking he could push the two halves apart and get out really.
I loved this piece of root that was now ocean worn, sun bleached driftwood.
And for those wanting to see what the old traps looked like and have their picture taken with them...

It was a wonderful Memorial Day.
And the gull never got a bite of lobster or fish from us.  Sorry, gull.  No leftovers either.
My husband and I harvested some new old beach glass for more jewelry making...Yea!

Tomorrow I will have pictures from my afternoon walk today...more sun, sand and waves from the same ocean just down the road a piece from my house and a few miles away from Monday's walk on the beach - and another place we spent many hours as children.

Friday, May 22, 2015

Bits of Poetry on Friday

It's Poetry Friday - like you didn't know!
And all things poetical are being hosted at Radio, Rhythm & Rhyme by Matt Forrest Esenwine.  Go there for more links to some super poetry and poetry related posts!  And while you are there, congratulate Matt on signing a book contract for Flashlight Night!

Wow!  The end of the school year is careening towards us!  The one thing I really don't miss about teaching, is the packing of the room at the end of the year!  The one thing I loved about teaching was working with kids, especially in reading and writing.  Now I get to do the reading and writing and no packing or unpacking!  I read and write with a number of second graders on Mondays, and enjoy this time, helping out even if only once a week for an hour and a half.  Sometimes I read with students and sometimes we work on writing (my favorite!).

I've had the privilege of working with one second grader a few times, and always at writing time.  While there, we focus on getting her ideas down on paper.  Her positive attitude is amazing, and I am impressed with the way she uses language.

I told her that I wrote, too, and that I would write a poem about her, for her.  She didn't look like she believed me... and it took me until now to actually get to it!  But then I actually ended up writing more than one.  My two poems may be found after hers, at the end of this page.

Here, first, are the first two poems Emma's ever written., presented here with her permission (any spelling corrections, per her approval).  Her first one is written from a pencil's point of view.  She explained that if the writer didn't like to write, the pencil would get to stay sharp!  Great point of view!
(Click on the images to make them larger.)


And the second poem she's ever written...
I don't know, I just have this hunch that she would like sprinkles on her ice cream and cupcakes...
I know I'm thinking about them now!  Do I have any sprinkles?

\l\////\\/ /// //\\/ ///\\l\// I// \/\\\/ /// \\l\//
// /l I\\/l/\ \\/ /// \\l\// I// \/\\\/l/\\\ l\//\\l\

My conversation/interview with the writer after she read them to me:

     Me:  "You are very good at this!"

Emma: "These are the only two poems I've ever written."
     Me: "Well, you should keep writing them."

Emma: "It's the only kind of writing I like."
     Me: "I love writing poems, too."
Emma: "You do?"
     Me: "Yes, I do. Remember, I said I would write a poem about you? I guess, now I have to do it!"
     Me:  "May I put your poems on my website?"
Emma:  "Yes."
     Me:   "A lot of people will be reading them.  Make sure it is okay with your mother."
Emma:  "Okay.  But I think she will like it that they are on there." 

And here are both poems for Emma, by me.  The first one kind of goes with her pencil poem, and the second is not a sprinkles poem, but it is a cheery one LIKE having sprinkles on your ice cream!

The Writer

Emma thought she could not write;
She thought she had no thought.
Then she stopped and thought a bit
About what she'd been taught.

"You are a writer, Emma, dear,
You have some good ideas;
Just write them down and don't give up -
Ignore your writing fears."

So Emma started writing down
Some things she'd tucked away;
She tried out words and shuffled them,
Enjoying her wordplay.

Pretty soon she had a poem,
A story and a song;
The words had been inside her head
Just waiting, all along!

And now there is no stopping her
As word from pencil flows,
Emma must keep writing
Till she's written all she knows.

The more she learns the more she writes -
I doubt she'll ever stop,
For writers have to write their thoughts
Or else they just might pop!

©Donna JT Smith, 2015

Poem #2:

If Emma, Then

Emma wears white polka dots
    like little stars so bright,
She wears a flower in her hair,
    a butterfly’s delight;
Her smile can raise a rainbow
    if the rain falls down at night,
And when she laughs the grumpies
    quickly scatter out of sight!
A lion or a tiger would
    give up their kingly might
If Emma would just pat their heads
    and say they shouldn’t fight;
The octopus would free a fish
    in grip so very tight
If Emma whispered to her that
    she needs to do what’s right.
(Of course, what’s right in Emma’s mind
    is not to take a bite!)
If Emma simply had her way
    I’m sure she would invite
The thunder to cease rumbles,
    and tornadoes to sit tight;
Miss Emma would eliminate
    all quarrels, tears or fright,
Then all on earth, as Emma,
    would be sweet and quite polite!

by Donna JT Smith, 2015

I hope you enjoyed the poems!  Please do leave comments.  We'd both love to know your thoughts on our poems!

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

No Longer Will I Take For Granted

No Longer Will I Take For Granted

No longer will I take for granted
The sparkling of the seas,
The faces of my grandchildren,
The shivering of leaves;
No longer will I look at them
And not quiver at their worth;
I will not take for granted
Any thing upon this earth.
Green shard of unmown grass,
Brittle crooked branch of tree,
Spun words woven into story
Read with child upon my knee;
I will not skim through my days
Just seeing only parts;
I hope to peer more deeply
Into all life's inner hearts.
I will not lightly just assume
All things will still be there
So surely I will someday
Have some time to think and stare
At all the beauty, all the bold,
All the colors wrapping;
Now's the hour to take it in,
No life should be spent napping.
Awake and take no thing for granted -
To stay this way forever -
For in a twinkling things can change
And always becomes never.

©Donna JT Smith, 2015

Oooh, I almost forgot - my scissors poem is on Michelle H. Barnes' Today's Little Ditty, written in response to Nikki Grimes challenge to try a wordplay exercise this month.
Thanks, Michelle for posting it!

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Tuesday Slice of Thanksgiving Pie

What would I do without all the challenges and commenters and opportunities to comment on writing?  I was so busy the past two months, it struck me that the only thing that kept me writing poetry for that many days straight, was this awesome group of people that I have never even met.

Now, I know I haven't mentioned commenters by name.  That would be toooo difficult, though there are a few very regular commenters that I've come to look for - like talking on the phone and though there's a lull while you are speaking, you know there's someone on the other end of the line listening (or reading in this case).

But here is a list of some important "players" out there that I want to thank - some colleagues and fellow bloggers and poets who kept me going in March and April!

Two Writing Teachers hosting the Slice of Life Challenge and all the teachers who contributed and commented were an immense motivator to "just keep swimming!"  What a month of March!

Because Heidi Mordhorst challenged us to write poetry as we "Marched through the CH words" - I grew and pushed myself beyond what I thought I could do.  Thank you for deeming me the "stretchiest" poet that month!

The A to Z Challenge pushed me to keep writing for the National Poetry month of April!  What a huge group of wonderful people writing from all areas and from all perspectives.  Commenters and contributors kept me writing and commenting myself throughout the whole month.

Then Ed DeCaria's poetry Writing Competion  at Think Kid Think in March really pushed poets to the limit with time, word and line constraints. Invigorating writing!

Because Sheila Renfro added her line "She's swifter than a dolphin, slipping away, leaving him only a handful of" to the Progressive Poem, I was slipped away into an underwater world that I vaguely remembered experiencing in my childhood.  I received The Wandering Wildebeest by Irene Latham for her April book giveaway.

* Late Addition:  Oh, heavens!  I forgot to say that the Irene Latham's Progressive Poem also kept me engaged in the poetry process all month, too!  Where is my head?

And every week in every month Poetry Friday Players and Hosters (see the list on the side navigation) deserve a big thank you, too.  For without that forum, what fun would poetry unshared be? 

Then there's Laura Purdie Salas with 15 Words or Less that always keeps me on my toes on Thursdays week after week!

And in this merry, merry month of May, though I've taken a bit of a rest, I find that I am renewed and rejuvenated:

Because Sheila Renfro THIS month has the giveaway for May being How to Write a Children's Book and Get it Published -Revised and Expanded, by Barbara Seuling, I am reminded that, that is my goal. I know I need this book whether I win it in a drawing or buy it myself!

And because Joy Acey at Poetry for Kids (Sorry, Joy, I just noticed my typo on your name when I came back to read comments! Fixed it!) wrote "Wish Upon a Star" and responded to my comment last week, I now have this bit of wishing upon a star to offer that I posted on her site:

My Wishes

Perhaps I will try...
On the first night sky
That has one star
To toss wish far
Into dark realm
With heart at helm
And ask for more
Than ever before
If in the trees
I hear night's breeze
Whisper "Wish come true"
I know 

   I owe 
      it all to you.

©Donna JT Smith, 2015

Because yesterday, volunteering in a classroom where I often work on writing with one young author, I was encouraged that poetry WILL continue in the hearts of people.  She read to me two poems she wrote this week.  I am so excited to share her first poems she's ever written, right here on my blog for Poetry Friday this week!  You WILL want to stop by for her poems and a very short "interview" of sorts, along with a poem I promised her I'd write for her.

Have a grand Tuesday.  I am planning on having one.  I'll share my grand Tuesday with you, my writer/teacher friends.

Friday, May 15, 2015

Projects and Poetry and Friday, Oh, My!

It's Poetry Friday at Random Noodling with Diane Mayer.  Join everyone there in reading more wonderful poetry!

Jone MacCulloch at Check it Out had students write "what it knows" poems and put them on postcards to send out to other poets.  I received this wonderful poem about the Titanic and what it knows.  I love "it knows the taste of the salty ocean".  Thanks, Malachai, for this marvelously sensory rich poem.
My comment to Malachai on Jone's site:
"Today I received Malachai’s postcard poem about the Titanic! Thank you so much, Malachai. You had to do some research to do this one! I learned that the Titanic was built in Ireland. I didn’t know that! I thought it had been built in England.
I have actually been to Halifax, Nova Scotia, visiting the cemetery where many of the people who died on the Titanic are buried. And I’ve been to Newfoundland where there are memorials and remembrances of the lives lost in their area of icebergs. My grandparents were young children in Newfoundland when the Titanic sank off their coast.
Thank you for sending me your wonderful poem. It really meant a lot to me, and it reminded me of my grandparents and my trips to both Nova Scotia and Newfoundland."

The year the movie "Titanic" was released, it was just before Thanksgiving and I was doing a until on "The Mayflower".  My first graders were getting so confused about The Mayflower and the Titanic...they kept thinking that the Mayflower had sunk...
I ended up having to get pictures of each ship and having them list the differences between the two vessels so they could get them straightened out in their minds.  That was the only year students ever had difficulty with the Thanksgiving story!

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Deer, Chowder and Eyes

Made fish chowder this morning.  I bought a nice piece of haddock yesterday morning and decided I'd have some good hot chowder for lunch today.  The sun is out but it's a bit breezy and cool, so the chowder feels and tastes good on a day like today!

I had a call in to my doctor this morning, but no one has returned it yet.  I guess they are not too concerned anyway.  So I spent some time doing my own research online (insert doctor's wince and eye roll here - but it's their own fault for not calling me back).  What is happening appears to be fairly normal perhaps...or not - but I'm leaning toward the normal.  And with that, I will cautiously wait for the eyelid twitches, the light glare and the plopping rainsplots moving across my eye "windshield" to diminish over time.

I had eyelid twitches for quite a while after the original surgery, and they went away - the twitches, not the eyelids.  Evidently my eyelids don't like people touching them.  I am thinking that the glare may go away, along with the floating rainsplots and hazy clouds that float by when I move my eyes or head (insert "high hopes" here!).

In between all the glares and clouds, there are some really nice views.  I guess if that's the way it is going to be from now on, I will learn to deal with it.  I am, however, praying for improvement.  These clouds are distracting, much like the big cumulus clouds that lumber by in summer, putting you in shadow in the middle of a sunny day!

Long, dull brownish black fur instead of short, shiny reddish brown fur
Between eye cruds I saw a turkey passing through the back yard by my window this morning.  Then a bit later, I caught the motion in the woods of a yearling fawn grazing.  Shortly after that he/she went to the front yard and joined mother and sibling to nibble anything green they could find.  It was a tough winter for them, and they are skinnier and scragglier than I have ever seen a deer in here.  They are usually quite fat and sleek.  I kept the dogs quiet and let the family graze until they moved on of their own accord.  They stayed quite a while.  It will be nice to see them later in the spring and summer when they get rejuvenated!

Got my call back from the doctor - said to try lubricating eye drops as it sounds like a drying of the eye surface... ok.  I will try that.

And the deer wandered off for a bit, but came back.  Noah is keeping his eye on them.  He sees himself as a big game hunter.

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Eyes See, I See

*The following post was half way done on Monday.  I planned on finishing the poem when I got home, but couldn't quite do it, so it is for today's Slice of Life instead.

It's a muggy Monday* in Maine.  And today I get my right eye "lasered" and hopefully fixed so that I can again see the world clearly.

Eyesight is a wonderful thing when it works well, and I have been blessed to have eyesight that was perfect for most of my life.  Aging has caused cataracts to form, but new surgery methods have made it less of an ordeal than it was in the "olden" days.

As this secondary cataract formed, I wondered if this is what the lawyer ads were about when I saw them years ago.  "Were you dissatisfied with your cataract surgery?"  "Problems after cataract surgery?"  I always wondered what that meant.  What would happen?  I now wonder if it was the secondary cataract forming on the membrane in the eye.  If so, I would have been one of those who was not satisfied with the results.  However, now they know that it is something that can happen, and they know how to deal with it in those patients who develop them - like me.

My husband has had this procedure, too, and he assures me that it is pretty simple and fast.  I'm looking forward to suppertime.

Suppertime will mean it is well past me, and I have had time to play with the dogs and sit to read a bit.

We Call Them Eyes Because

I see afar,
Eyes see a star;

I sing a song,
Eyes sing along;

I scream with fears,
Eyes scream with tears;

I scoff and doubt,
Eyes scoff and pout;

I scrutinize dreams,
Eyes scrutinize seams;

I signal for rest,
Eyes signal it's jest;

I sleep in bed,
Eyes sleep in head;

I squint in pain,
Eyes squint in rain;

I study at night,
Eyes study a plight;

I speak with words
Eyes speak inwards;

I see a star,
Eyes see afar;

Eyes sing my song;
I sing along.

©Donna JT Smith, 2015

This was started yesterday, but the laser surgery wasn't quite as immediate as I'd thought it would be.  I was getting halos around lights and blurring in my left eye for quite a while after the procedure.

"Left eye?" you ask.
"Yes, left eye," I reply.

When they checked my eyes, they discovered that my left eye was also developing a secondary cataract.  I had suspected as much, since it was ever so slightly doubled sign wording at night and I needed to squint a bit.

So they did both eyes.  They were horrible when I left the doctor's office.  My eyes were so dilated it was difficult to see anything well.  As they started to improve, my left eye was seeing all sorts of halos around every light, driving me crazy!  Being the baby that I am, it was very discouraging and disconcerting to me, and I had to have some time to cry and whine about it.  After doing that I decided to just close my eyes and mouth and pretend I was asleep.  That worked out much better and pretty soon I wasn't pretending.  I was asleep.

And now it is morning.  I've finished my poem and my eyes are...

...better than yesterday, but not okay yet.

Shoot.  Though my right eye is a lot better than it was, my left is worse.  How can that be?  Lights glare that didn't use to, and they don't want to work together very well.  They both seem to still be scumming over or something, like the medications in the eyes are still there.  If I blink a lot I can move it so I can see more.  Maybe the left is pouting about the right being so good and taking over being boss!  Guess I have to call and find out what's up.  I don't want to have to cry about this.  What a baby!

Has anyone else had this happen after the secondary cataract removal?  Tell me it takes two or three days to clear up, instead of being immediate or one day as I was led to believe.

Monday, May 11, 2015

Wait Until Tomorrow

It's a muggy Monday morning in Maine.  And today I get my right eye "lasered" and hopefully fixed so that I can again see the world clearly.

Had it done, will write tomorrow...  Too hard to see tonight.  Wait until tomorrow.

Saturday, May 9, 2015

A New Toy

I'm in experimental mode here this morning.  I just got a new Lytro camera that does a variable focus.  Photos have to be uploaded to their site for sharing the link to it or embedding it in Facebook or on my blog, but still pretty neat for a photo presentation.  I do have the flat .jpg stored also,  It's kind of a neat looking camera, too.

Ginger here is looking at a ball my husband is holding, because every time I wanted her to be cute, she put her ears back and jumped anticipating that I'd throw the camera to her!

Click on the play button and you will move around in the photo some.  If you stop it and click on the ball in the background, Ginger's face will be out of focus and the ball will be in focus.  If you then click on her nose, the background will be out of focus and her face will be in focus.  You can make it full screen by clicking on the box at the lower right, and then you can see the effects better! Try it and let me know what you think.