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Showing posts from 2013

Spiny Pine

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We have LOTS of trees on our 5+ acres, but this little one always catches my eye from our front window.  It's my weather tree, I guess.  I can see how deep the snow is, how thick the ice is, or how sunny the day is even, just by looking at this little fellow standing out there by itself.  It probably wasn't even there when we first moved in 14 years ago, but has finally grown up tall enough for me to notice.  He's (assuming it is a "he" anyway) a cute thing that perhaps next year at Christmas would like to be decorated.  He's been the star of the past few blogs, and this morning, I thought he deserved his own poem.  So here you go Spiny Pine.  I think that is his name now.  Spiny Pine.



Shiny pine out in the cold
Waiting for spring to arrive;
Ice has bedecked you,
Snowfall beflecked you,
How do you hope to survive?

Spiny pine with needles green,
Ever to be even now,
In summer or fall
You must have a ball
Though winter weighs on each bough.

Whiny pine yielding…

Christmas is Coming Soon

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Christmas for us will not be until Monday, so yesterday was a time of baking, cleaning and listening to Christmas carols.  It finally felt like a day to get ready for Christmas! I enjoyed the day at home. I made my Christmas Cake - pistachio, pecan, almond green and yellow coffee cake.  It's only available on Christmas week - maybe a few days before Christmas and up to the new year.  Then it goes away until the next year.

Christmas Night was time for family and church.  We went to evening services.  Just because it's Christmas, doesn't mean there aren't the usual open doors on a Wednesday night.  As a matter of fact it was kind of special feeling to have a post-wrapping paper clutter get-together, even though we haven't done that yet.

Our own children weren't around us, so I got to see my nieces and nephew and their spouses and children and give them attention that I might not have given otherwise.  I could hold the newest member of our family, my brother&…

The True Christmas Trees of Maine

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We have snow in Maine, and we have ice, especially near the coast where we are.  Over the past couple of weeks, we have had plenty of both.  November through April can be a harsh time. Over the past two or three days we have had ice after two snowstorms of a foot apiece.  Most people in Maine have lost power for the past 24 to 40 hours and some still don't have it back.  For a good number of people here there will be no Christmas dinner served at their home today and there will be no Christmas lights on the tree.  Today and tonight the temperatures will be plummeting and those that have power may lose it again.  But still, in all the dangers of frigid weather, in its harshness, there is a beauty that cannot be ignored.

When I went outside yesterday and saw the ice covered landscape, I knew I was seeing the true trees of Christmas.  There was no way to capture the amazing beauty with my phone camera, but I did my best.  The one image I wish I could have gotten was the one with the…

Comfort and Joy

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I'm representing the northeast corner of the USA up here in Maine in Mark Koopmans' "50 States of Pray" where someone from each state (and some countries) will "take a moment and about 100 words - share a prayer, a thought, a memory, a hope,... a regret,... a wish for the future" on Christmas Eve.
Thank you Mark from Hawaii for this wonderful idea!  Visit the page and hear what other bloggers have to share this Christmas Eve at Aloha! Mark Koopmans Says Hi from HI.

I love this song used in the story of Christmas, sung by the animals where Jesus lay in their manger.  Not too "heavy", just a sweet tune and words.  Have a listen if you have the time this Christmas Eve!

The sheep and cow wanted to prepare him room, and they gave up their space and food for the King of Kings.  They received Him, welcoming Him in.
My prayer is "Let Earth receive her King." 
We always hear that Christmas is about giving, not receiving.
But that's not really…

Nice Day - Ice Day

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Lost power at 5:30. Posting on my iPad which for some reason won't scroll down when I'm in edit mode. Wood stove is keeping us warm. Will start the generator off and on to keep the refrigerator cold...though I thought about just filling bags with ice from outside and putting them in the refrigerators. I'm wearing my headlight and we have lanterns around the house. Good thing we finished the chicken pie for a late lunch. All 1100 houses in our island town are without power tonight, along with many people in many other towns here in Maine due to the ice storm.
Another day indoors... 


Icy icicles guard our door...
While rosebush icy canes peek in my window...

And an icy spined pine shivers and whines...

And icy-coated weeds finally succumb to the weight...


And icy oaks wish they'd rid themselves of leaves before the storm...

All is calm, all is bright...


As icy icicles guard our door...

Stormy Weather

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Well, last weekend we got a foot of snow on top of a foot of snow, and no one went anywhere.  It was even a bit much for our Golden.  Not really.  She loves snow.  She wants us to throw something so she has an excuse to dunk her head and look for it.  It's the closest thing to a pond she's ever been in.
Her face is not that white!  It's the snow from snowball diving.  She is not lying down in the snow here; she is standing waiting for me to throw her an icicle or snowball!

And today there is more stormy weather.  It has been warm enough that the precipitation has been misty rain, which freezes when it hits the ground.  We tried going in town but we turned around and came home.  It looked like wet roads up until you tried to stop.  There was no stopping.  So rather than have a Christmas in the hospital, we opted to stay home for the day.

The temperature is dropping and the pine needles are drooping under the weight of the ice.  It is going to be a long night with the possib…

All Through the Zoo

Welcome to Poetry Friday!  It's hosted today by Tabatha at The Opposite of Indifference.  Go over for a visit and read some great poetry today!
Here is my offering today.  I am not much for Santa stories anymore, but this one seemed to just come out when I wrote the first two verses (lines).

All Through the Zoo

‘Twas the night before Christmas
And all through the zoo,
Not a creature was sleeping;
They all were too blue.

They’d heard of a Santa;
A real old Saint Nick.
They’d learned he brought presents,
And that made them sick.

They never got gifts!
They didn’t have socks!
They couldn’t use them
In pools or on rocks!

They didn’t have trees
With bright lights and stars;
There were no presents
Behind the zoo bars.

The penguins were sad.
They had just one wish -
That Santa would come
And not bring them fish.

They wanted new scarves
To wrap ‘round their necks.
The bears wanted shoes -
No more "bear" foot treks!

But how to make Santa
Come over this way?
How to steer reind…

A Train to Christmas

(350 words)
A Train to Christmas

“A twain?  Yea!” Milly’s eyes twinkled.
Light snow was falling. I wished we’d worn boots.  I’d have to carry her to the train station.

I scooped Milly, then my bag from the car. The flakes were getting bigger, the station harder to see.

We boarded the hissing train.  I put Milly by the window and sat down beside her.
“I can see ow-ah cah!”  The window fogged immediately.  She made an S with her finger.

The train lurched forward.  First stop Chicago, then on to Boston. We settled in with crayons and paper.  We would get there the day before Christmas, and she’d experience that special Christmas Eve and morning like the ones I’d known as a child.

Eat, bathroom, nap, color, read...repeat.  The train slowed to a crawl.  "Frozen tracks," they announced.  We inched our way to Chicago.

When we finally arrived at the Chicago station, it was midnight; there were no more trains that night.  Weary, we got a motel room for the rest of the night, but needed to …

Christmas Story Challenge

Yesterday I started reading blogs and came across the Christmas 350 words or fewer story challenge from Susanna Leonard Hill, and then "Poof!" it was hours later.  But how can you pass up an opportunity to write and potentially be rewarded for your efforts? 
I wrote a different story yesterday, but decided to save that for Christmas Eve posting on Aloha! Mark Koopmans Says Hi from HIbecause it seemed like it would appeal more to an older audience and fits the Christmas wish/regret/prayer type style, though it was also a mishap at Christmas.  You will have to wait for December 24th to read that one, though.  It's a true story.
And today I wrote this poem for Susanna's challenge as my offering of a Christmas mishap, accident, potential disaster type story.  It is actually a true story, too, except for donkeys lying.
Does anyone else see the Christmas story as a mishap/potential disaster story? 
************************************************
A King on a Donkey  (2…

I Am Doing It? I AM Doing It.

I have not yet finished my A to Z book.  I am stalling.  Procrastinating.  Scared.  One of those things or a combination.
But now that's okay. I can continue to procrastinate and work through my scared on that one because, instead, I have taken a baby step with my Musicful poem becoming a picture book.  I am proceeding. I am making a final decision on the press. I am about to push the button to get my ISBNs and bar code.
I have an illustrator.
I am making time.
I-yi-yi.
Preparations.
Process.
Pondering.
Proceeding.
Press.
Push.
Pictures.
Palpitations.
I have to get a cup of coffee.
I am editing and revising today.
And making cookies to take a break.
I am going to need cookies.
Coffee + Cookies + Courage + Commitment = Completion.
.......ok.  Got the coffee... where's the flour?

Musicfully Inclined

Thanks to Robyn Hood Black for hosting this week's Poetry Friday!

This must be because of the bells yesterday.  I really like those bells.  I want to start a bell choir now.

Musicful

Joyful jamming
Sounds abound
Lilting, twinkling
Melodies found

Gleeful scales
Notes so light
Laughing, dancing
In their flight

Jostling jive
Twitch of toes
Jumping, sliding
Anything goes

Cheerful chant
Ropes a’swing
Salting, peppering
Beat’s the thing

Caller calls
Dosey doe
Circling, bowing
Heel and toe

Soulful song
Echos remain
Aching, longing
Heart's refrain

Prayerful hymn
Voices raise
Worshipping, carolling 
Him to praise

Loving lullaby
Momma’s tune
Soothing, drifting
Sweet dreams soon

Music soothes
and gives us peace
Makes us dance
and hop to beats

Gives us joy
and makes us cry
Gives us wings and
lets us fly

The Bells

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Last week I got the crazy idea that we should have bell ringing for our children's Christmas program at church.  Hey, there's plenty of time.  We have two Sundays before the Christmas program.
So I ordered some color coded bells for kids from Kids Play online.  I wasn't too hopeful for quality, as they were fairly inexpensive.  I got my bells yesterday, and are they sweet!  I had to try them out right away.  I found "Joy to the World" for playing on an 8-note kalimba.  And if you don't know what a kalimba is, well, shame on you. 
I know what it is... 
now... 
You can look it up like I did.
I set out to play "Joy to the World" right away.  I found it to be difficult to maneuver the bells to ring them on the right beat without getting tangled in my own arms.
But then I found a wonderful tutorial on YouTube by Rod Lloyd.  And what a help! 

Now I can teach a brother and sister pair and let them take the bells home for two weeks and practice to thei…

Rosy

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It's getting colder and colder up here in the Northeast corner of the land.  Should have a wood fire going in the stove...but I guess I'll just turn up the heat and stare out the window at the cold and tired rose bush.  Can't wait for spring.  We can skip over winter.  And summer.  Spring and fall, spring and fall...that's all I need.  But that's another poem for another day.  Today is "Rosy".

my toes
and my nose
are really froze
i think that they are doomed
do you suppose
my rosy nose
could smell a rose in bloom
or should
these rosy toes o’mine
go where
it’s warm and days are fine
and
other posies loom?

It's a comfort to know that closer to the equator and in the southern hemisphere there are some rosy roses and warm noses, and that soon it will return here, too! 
My cat knows how to keep his nose warm.

And now to enjoy more poetry and poetic subjects, go to our Poetry Friday hostess Katya Czaja at Write, Sketch. Repeat.

Thankful for my Childhood

When my parents were young, age 26, they moved from Massachusetts to Maine with their 4 children, to move into their new home in the country, leaving most of the family and both of their jobs behind them. They were so young.  But people were older then.
My dad was fresh out of the Coast Guard and a welder, and my mom was a registered nurse at Mass General, and their work schedules meant they were almost never home at the same time.  They wanted something different for their new family.  They wanted a new fresh branch for the family tree.  It was a bold move, and I'm so glad they did it.  I wasn't glad at the time.  I had no emotions about it.  I'm not sure I even knew we were moving.  We just did it.  And when we got there, we found we had a huge house out in the country.
My dad got a job at the Hyde Windlass in Brunswick, and my mom stayed home, starting the Bonnie Brae Nursing Home in our house.  When Dad was home on weekends, he was the cook for the nursing home.  I th…

Limerick Rebuttal

Yesterday for Poetry Friday, Greg Pincus at GottaBook wrote a limerick about a time-eating poem...I just couldn't let it lie...not lie like not truth...like lie down there and don't anything about it.  So my comment had to be a relimerick.  (Does this ever stop...now I have gotten another thing in my head that I will have to write...just a minute...I have to bring up Pages and jot a note about another poem I want to write...be right back).

Good.  Done.  But now I can't stay here long.  I have to go write it.  You didn't think I could write it that fast, did you?  That was just a note to help me remember what I wanted to write about.

A N Y W A Y - - Like I said Greg wrote a poem and I liked it, so I replied in my comments with this that is written below that came to me.  So read his first and then come back.  I can wait.  But not long.  I have to go write something else that I wrote on a page in Pages.  I don't remember what, so it's a good thing I wrote it down…

Sleepover

Poetry Friday is being hosted by Jama Rattigan at Jama's Alphabet Soup.  Pay her a visit, and enjoy the poetry banquet.

Do you remember sleepovers?
We had sleepovers with friends and cousins, and they always went the same way. 
Food, playing, laughter, whispering, getting scolded for still being awake - really, what did they think would happen? - scary stories, pillow fights, and 3 am.
I can still bring up memories of those late nights - early mornings - the first time you knew that night really did become morning again - the wonderful feeling of being awake when no one else in the world was (or so we thought).  It was an experience that could only be truly appreciated in childhood.  You see the same late to early hours in motherhood, but somehow they aren't as exciting then.


************************************** Sleepover 
Up to the bedroom Scampering in haste, Squealing and giggles, There’s no time to waste; It’s sleepover night, There’s big fun in store, Throw do…

Thanks for This Week

I had thought I might be able to do a "Thankful for..." post each day this month, but things just got complicated right away in November, and I let half a month go by without doing that.  But last Wednesday my car wouldn't start, and I've been without my trusty steed for a week.  When I thought about it though, there were still some thankfuls in the whole thing:

Unfortunately, my car got sick.  Thankfully, it was right in my driveway, not out on the highway.  Unfortunately, I had to have the car ambulance take it away on a stretcher.  Thankfully, I had an emergency roadside assistance plan, so the tow was free (though I wondered if my driveway would be considered roadside (thankfully, it was)).  Unfortunately, it needed a bunch of repairs caused by a tensioner failure which would cost mega bucks.  Thankfully, they took some of the labor charges off since they had to do some recall work which would involve some of the same labor as the repairs. Unfortunately, it would…

I Saw the Stars Tonight

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There are still so many things I'm discovering that I didn't realize I was missing.  Yesterday I noticed that our side windows in the car were tinted.  Huh.  Then last night was a moonless night, and I looked up.  I had thought for a while now that I just didn't have quite the same fascination for the sky that I'd always had.  Try looking at the night sky through sunglasses.  That's what I was seeing for years.  I literally cried for joy when I realized I could not count the stars again.  I didn't want to come inside ever.  And I find myself excited about seeing them tonight. PS for those unsure of the correctness of the "I" in the photo caption...see Grammar Girl.  I is correct....I am correct that I is correct. I saw the stars tonight
and I remember them;
I remembered how they filled
the space of space
three dimensionally,
some small, some bright,
some clustered tightly
daring you to look at them
directly,
teasing you by
dimming,
but springin…

Pearly Whites and a Picket Fence

I posted this Thursday, but am using it for Poetry Friday, hosted by my good friend, though I have never met her in person, nor ever heard her voice, except the "voice" of her writing, but friend, nonetheless, Linda Baie at Teacher Dance.  Go there, click on links, read more poems and meet more lovers of poetry!

I do not know where these came from or why.  Well, I do know from where...from my head. I just picked a word and started brainstorming with it.  The "why" I don't know, though.  Probably because being a first grade teacher for so long, I got to see so many bloodied mouths, fingers and teeth.
Really, first grade is quite a bodily fluids kind of year, what with teeth falling out, bathroom timing accidents, vomit, coughs and sneezes (oh, and sucking on fingers, thumbs and shoelaces)... First grade teachers, if they make it through their first two years, live forever, having built up super-duper antibodies.

So Are the Teeth

As barnacles on a rock, so are t…

Whiney Whys

I don't mean to whine, complain, nor be judgmental, BUT why are so many things considered okay to do now?

For example in a department store:
Why is it okay for kids to ride the bikes for sale inside a store?  Isn't this dangerous for both the child and other customers, never mind the fact that I was hoping to buy a NEW bike for my child or grandchild. Why is it okay to bounce the balls in the store?  I know they will look used soon after bouncing them on the driveway, but again I'm paying for new merchandise.  Can I get a discount for used?  ...I didn't think so. In a grocery store:
Why is it okay to hand a kid a bag of grapes or a banana from the bunch to eat while shopping?  Both are sold by the pound, and I didn't see any provision for weighing your kid before starting to eat, though you could put him or her on the scales at the register when checking out.
At restaurants:
Why is it okay to build a fort out of the individual serving creamers, butters and sugar con…

Another Poem Format to Try

Okay, Joy!  Here goes!  Over at Poetry for Kids Joy, Joy Acey has posted some poems in a particular format.  I have about the same format, but with a non-Halloween bent.  These are fun and challenging.  Try one, but first check out the rest of Joy's to get the format down!

Knocking at my door
Was a Great Horned owl
On his head was a cap
He was wrapped in a towel.

Because I’m just a mouse
I crouched down in a cower,

But he asked me
quite nicely,
"Could I use your shower?"
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Knocking at my door
was a sticky porcupine;
he used my brand new toothbrush -
made his orange teeth shine.

I didn’t want to rattle him,
I didn’t want to shout;

But I really
wanted Porky
to be on his way out.

©Donna JT Smith, 10/25/2013

Hmmm.  Looks like mine are taking a "bathroom" theme!  I'd better stop before I get to the next fixture.

Hmm.  Too late!
****************************
Knocking at my door
Was a little brown mouse
Why would this ti…

A Falling Out

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No idea what I was going to write before I sat down at 1 pm.  I did not want to miss Poetry Friday.  So this is what came out as I sat looking at these trees out here in my back yard.   Acrostics...?  Ok.  Acrostics it is...or acrostics they are.

Mild mannered
And
Politely
Leaving leaves
Everywhere

Bellowing autumn winds
Intensify yellow flames before the
Remaining white
Candles stand extinguished
High on a hill

Perpetually
Immersed in
Needles
Ever green

Weeping
In
Languid
Loneliness
Over
Water

Hardy boughs
Envelope
Many a
Little creature
Over the
Cold winter as a
Kindly mother hen's wing.

The only tree I don't see is the willow...but I'm thinking of the willow at a nearby park.
And now to go to read more poetry by visiting our gracious host for Poetry Friday this week:
Irene Latham at Live Your Poem.





Hey, Mortimer, Do You Have a Minute?

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Today is Poetry Friday!  Yea, for Fridays and poetry!  When you are finished here head on over to Cathy Mere's Merely Day by Daywhere she is hosting today's Poetry Friday.  You are sure to find a treasure trove of links to some splendid poems! (splendid... I'm going to use that later today in conversation, I think!)

I am hosting the poetry-loving Mortimer Rabbit for The Mortimer Minute.  He is going to ask me a few questions today, and I will answer them to the best of my ability. If you would like to have Mortimer visit your website and ask a few questions, here are the 3 guidelines:
1. Answer three short questions, one of them taken from the previous Mortimer Minute.
2. Invite another blogger (or two or three) to take part on the following week--writers, teachers, or anyone who loves children's poetry is the perfect choice.
3. Link to the previous Mortimer Minute and to your choice for next week. 
Well, over at Random Noodling, I discovered Mortimer, the rabbit, interv…

15 Words a Bunch of Times Makes a Longer Poem

Over at Laura Salas' place, she does 15 Words or Less on Thursdays .  Today the picture is of a red and black hued funnel shape.  It inspired a short piece there, and then kept nagging at me until I finished it.  I changed the raise to be at the end of the first stanza, so I could use the rhyme to enhance its structure.  You need to go to Laura's place though, to see the picture AND to read other interpretations of the image.  Lots of wonderful work!

A
time to
leave this earth
a day to be released -
hands in hallelujah raise.

An
escape from
tears and sorrow
no more worries and despair -
long forgotten worldly days.

A
path to
a cloudless sky
above the whirl below -
voice lifts up in praise.

A
way to
a cloudless sky;
no more worries and despair -
hands in hallelujah raise!

© Donna JT Smith

Ok.  Done.  The structure on this is a bit pantoumish, with repeating lines from previous stanzas (in order going up) in the last stanza.  Maybe I will call this new form smithoum...

And to…

Wednesday: Wanted...Now Found!

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Wanted: Children's Poetry Writer or Lover of Poetry for Children for a Mortimer Minute!

On Friday I will be entertaining Mortimer for a minute or two.  If you have a desire to be interviewed by a bouncy bunny, a hippity-hoppity hare, a long-eared leaper, a rapid rabbit, a jolly jumper...well, just let me know, and I'll tell people where to hop to next week!
You make up the questions you'd like to have a audience of kids' poetry lovers to ask (except for taking one of mine that I used).  You answer the questions.
You mention my site as the place you hopped from, and the person or persons that will be hosting Mortimer next.
It's as easy as that!


Found: A Children's Poetry Writer for next week!  I'm so excited!  Thank you, Marileta Robinson.  I tagged Marileta, and she has graciously accepted the invitation to host a Mortimer Minute.  She will be interviewed by the bouncy bunny next week.  See my interview this Friday!


Revisited

So, I know some have read my prior version of this poem.  But as Andrew mentioned there were bumpy parts, and I had to agree - there were parts that still bothered me.  So I have edited again.  I think it is to my liking now.  And I am going to leave it alone.  If some day it bubbles up from the deep again and screams at me to fix it, then I will discuss it with myself and the poem.  But for now, and a long time, this is it.  And when you are done, go by and check out more poetry links for Poetry Friday hosted today by Laura Purdie Salas at Writing The World for Kids.  

Days of Roses

Yellowed walls meet her eyes
Where lives ago were roses.
Faded shades lie below
Where weary paint reposes.

It wasn't always yellowed walls
It wasn't always faded
For once upon a time she knew
A world that wasn't jaded.

Oh, rose of youth, short days ago
Or maybe it was years?
How could it be that long ago
To ring now in her ears?

The laughter and the singing,
The warmth of hugs and touch
Thoug…

Days of Roses

I had the first stanza of this written a while ago, earlier in spring, and had used it for something else.  I found it this morning just after 4 am - my cataract surgery is at 8:30 - so I guess I couldn't/can't sleep (been up since 3:30).  I added quite a bit to it and then edited the original part some.  Now I'm hungry and can't eat until they give me a muffin after the surgery.  Oh, well, I'll survive...I have plenty stored up for use in times like this!  Now, if I could only store up sleep.

Days of Roses

Yellowed walls meet her eyes
Where lives ago were roses
Faded shades in layers below
Green paint now imposes.

It wasn't always yellowed walls
It wasn't always faded
For once upon a time she knew
Her world had not been jaded.

Oh, rose of youth, short days ago
Or maybe it was years?
It seems so very long ago
But still rings in her ears

The laughter and the singing
The warmth of hugs and touch
Though taken, oh, so lightly then
Today would mean so much

She …

It Isn't Summer

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As I promised myself... now back to some poetry. 
After reading this, head on over to Poetry Friday being hosted by Doraine Bennett at Dori Reads for links to more great poetry and poetry related posts!
It's finally fall here.  We have had some nice crisp nights and days, scattered with some warmer days, with lots of sun.  We had had a rainy stretch a while ago, but now it is fine fall feast, an awesome autumn offering...a sweet season sensation!  I could try to go on, but it's getting forced now.  So I will end with this - something I wrote a while back and stuck away in Pages on my iPad.  I must gather these things together someday and see what I have.

Last of the Colors

Summer's ending
Last strains of green
Reds overtaking
With autumn's scene

Smells of last hay
And spiced goldenrod
Apples now ripened
Give fall a cool nod

It's time for the last of
The colorful things
The last before snow's
Frosty white zings

Where mittens and hats
Are the only displays
Of c…