Friday, October 20, 2017

Oh, Pumpkin!

Last week we drove through Damariscotta, where they were having their annual pumpkin fest...
There was a huge crane hoisting a giant pumpkin for a weigh-in and a huge crowd was gathered - well, huge for Maine anyway.  There were a few hundred people there and more roaming the main road to view decorated pumpkins on the sidewalk.

These are not your run of the mill giant Jack-o-Lanterns - these are huge, unglobal fruits that take on personalities.  And the grower of each pumpkin goes with whatever the pumpkin is calling out to them as they decorate it and turn it into the something grand it was yearning to be!
Here are a few examples:

We usually see the Regatta, where they have carved out the inside of the pumpkin to make a boat.  Then they attach a motor and try to ride around the bay with it.  Some work quite well.  We missed that this year, unfortunately.  But if you ever get a chance to see it, I highly recommend this Fest and Regatta!

Oh, Pumpkin!

Oh pumpkin, oh, pumpkin
you're such a fine fellow
a whole lot of orange 
a little bit yellow
sometimes with some green
and tinges of brown
and all will make way
when you roll into town! 
you may be a mermaid
an owl or otter
a tooth with a brush
just ready to totter,
but inside you're all pulp
with some seeds and some goop
and I want to have you
perched out on my stoop
for you are a pumpkin -
finest gourd of the fall
and I like you bestest of 
any and all.

Donna JT Smith
Time for more poetry at A Day in the Life, with Leigh Ann who is hosting Poetry Friday today!

Friday, October 13, 2017

Friday Phew!

Yesterday I got part of a thought with Laura's 15 Words or Less, but didn't get back to share there.  So I'm posting today to go with her awesome image of a rescued owl.


Night mapping,
Mouse trapping,
Feather wrapping,
Talon tapping,
Beak snapping,
Wing flapping,
Day napping?


by Donna JT Smith

Yesterday they installed my countertop in the house we are in now. 
I love them!

 With the new steps we built and installed ourselves, 
 the redone driveway,

and the new countertop - it has green, white and touches of garnet -
I don't want to move now! 

Things are coming together here!  I know I'll feel better once the kitchen in Friendship starts to come together, too...another story, another day... it is a long story.

Back to Poetry Friday at Irene's place!

Monday, October 9, 2017

Good Morning, Sunshine!

When I wrote the title, it suddenly came to me that my mother used to say that to me in the morning when I awoke.  I could almost hear her happy voice saying, "Good morning, Sunshine!" to me.  I wonder if I was "sunshine" in the morning, or if she was just trying to "make it so"!  Ah, we'll never know. At any rate, I'm sitting here in the dark of morning, having just brewed some coffee atop our billowing painter's wrap countertop.  And I am going to go have me some...
Note paper cup...I don't have a sink in the kitchen, so we're minimizing the inconvenience of washing dishes when and where we can!
Okay, I had to change to a real cup...I'll go to the trouble of washing it.  Coffee is more welcoming this way!

Welcome, Fall Morning

The dark
Is so much
Later in the morning;
My coffee stares up at me
With its large unblinking brown eye
Wondering why
I would wake it up
Before the sun;
And I have No Answer,
Except that I want
To be there to greet the
New day
As it inches its way
Through the parting leaves of maples,
When it sends shafts of light
Between the birches,
To set their skin aglow;
And finally lifts the
Blackness to reveal the green
Of spruce and hemlock;
I will be there to feel it cut through the cold
Drafts of air to arrive at my
As I stand
With my
Warm welcome home
In my hands.

by Donna JT Smith

Though I don't think we will see much sun today, I'm up and waiting anyway!
Have a wonderful day!
Reflecting on a cup of coffee.

Saturday, October 7, 2017

A Kitchen, a Driveway, Some Steps and a Poem

I have been so time aware lately.  Aware that the time for working on the house is drawing to a close - or at least to a time when it is not as convenient to do so.

We are NOT in our new house yet.  You may remember that I said we'd had a hiccup with the first kitchen installation, and they ordered us all new cabinets with redesign in areas that needed tidying up some. Here's a photo from the first set that was returned:

So the next set of cabinets arrived in 8 weeks.  The workmanship on them was horrid this time - like they were in a huge hurry to get them here, so they skipped a few steps like: looking for cracks, making sure the cabinet sides were the same size, making sure they had all the coats of paint on, making the surface smooth, making sure no glue made huge drips at the edges, butting the mitered joints together tightly... I could continue, but you get the picture.  My contractor tried installing a few, but they weren't going together well.  I saw them and immediately cried, of course, because that's what you do when you are at the end of your rope.

We are on our third try for a kitchen.  We are not having a big box store do it this time.  We have a custom cabinet guy who is really excited about the possibilities of this house even though it is a tiny kitchen.  The very fortunate thing is that we ARE getting all our money back on the returned kitchen.  We have been waiting to see if we were going to have to take the matter to arbitration to try to get a refund, but it looks as if we won't now!

Then at the house we are in, we decided to upgrade the kitchen and take the formica countertop out and put in granite and a new sink.  So in order to template for the new granite, my husband and son took out the formica and we are going with a new look until it is installed.

The plastic is because - I think I've mentioned a long time ago that we had a house fire of sorts where a tv burned up in our basement, sending slimy, plastic soot throughout the house, coating everything.  It even came up between the showerstalls and walls, necessitating the removal of the showers.  We also had to refinish all the walls to seal in the soot.  All for me.  I got these uncontrollable coughing jags whenever I went in the house.

The plastic is because the formica countertop's under surface and the plywood on the now exposed ends of the cabinets all have soot on them.  We discovered that when I went into coughing fits again.  I couldn't believe it!  But I ran a wet paper towel across the newly exposed surfaces, and it came up with the familiar gray, black, non-particulate crud that was in the house when I couldn't live there.

The plastic seems to be working.  I'm back in the kitchen for the second time in three days.  I've been either out of the house or holed up in the bedroom with the air purifier on.
I can hardly wait for the countertop to arrive!

We took our front steps off to replace them.  That means we don't have a set of steps to get out of our house.  We never did get back steps or a deck for this house (though it was supposed to be in the works years ago - the crew never arrived to do it, and we never pursued it again).

Because it started raining on and off yesterday, we couldn't finish the job.  Ginger had to be lifted off the porch to get out...oh, so confusing to a young and very solid Yellow Lab.  She isn't used to being picked up, let alone carried off high places...we tried making a ramp for her so she could get back up on her own, but nope.   So this morning our goal is to get the steps finished very early so she can use them before breakfast!  We were able to stain them and get the stringers leveled last night, and stain the tops of the steps.  I'm going to stain the bottom sides this morning and we'll attach them still wet.

Did it!  I know, it's a mess out there still...old steps, rock pile, saw... but we're getting there!

I forgot to mention that we got in and out of the house via a ladder and crawling through a space in our railing.  Steps are still damp, so I guess Ginger gets to be carried again.  This stain is supposed to dry in 2 hours, but it seems like it's going to be more like 4 days. Good thing our railing isn't quite legal in most areas - there is just enough space to crawl through!

Oh, and then there's the driveway here.  Trying to get that all squared away before winter to ward off the mudseason that follows winter, and to get ready to sell this place.

And finally, the awareness of time left to ride is setting in.  It is almost time to park the bikes for the winter.  It has been a glorious summer for riding.  I've even been able to ride in for some of my Teacher Mentoring and Certification work this fall.  But each morning it takes longer and longer for the day to heat up enough, and it's earlier and earlier for setting sun to end the day.  
I want more days for this:

Ok, time to finish the steps!  The dog wants out!

A found poem from the above:

time aware -
aware that the time
is drawing to a close 
each morning it takes
longer for the day to heat up
it's earlier for setting sun 
to end the day
I want more

 by Donna JT Smith, 10/7/2017

Friday, October 6, 2017

15 Words and a Dozen More

These were written for Laura Purdie Salas' 15 Words or Less prompt yesterday.
I took this image posted here, but check out Laura's, too!


How many pairs of scissors do you see?

Wash Day

I strung my scissors
out to dry;
To breeze’s song they
clipped the sky.

By Donna JT Smith
Feather Flurry

Feathers will fly -
When mom’s manic,
Hens panic,
Or scissors go awry.

By Donna JT Smith

Happy Poetry Friday, all!  Our hostess today is Violet Nesdoly!
Find more poetry by checking the links on her site here.
 Tomorrow...updates on why I've been scarce and sparsely writing...
Don't read it if you are as busy as I am.  It won't help.

One more poem even though I've had 5 commenters - they will miss this one so I'll repost next Friday.  Don't the scissors seem to be cutting the leaves from the trees?


Falling leaves
Scissors shear
the way;
Happily they
A colorfall

by Donna JT Smith

This one's for Carol Varsalona's fall collection, I think.

Friday, September 29, 2017

15 Words or Less and More

As Laura, with her 15 Words or Less noticed this week, the maples are "catching on fire".  Flaming reds are starting to appear on parts of the trees.  Her picture shows a spectacular maple, with a spruce tree in the background - and it, to me, looked like the spruce was gazing in awe of the maple's colorful leaves, perhaps a bit jealously.

On our drive to the northern reaches of Maine yesterday, we saw lots of trees starting to change.  I caught one picture that showed the dark green fir trees on one side of the road, and the deciduous trees in their colorful garb on the other.  And I thought this poem could go with that picture also, and added one more.

In Her Shadow

Spruce stands in awe
Of Maple’s draw
And secretly
Desires to be
Not fir.

by Donna JT Smith

I wonder if the spruce will feel different when it is winter,
and she is the one with a bit of color...

Lost Leaves

Spruce has her day
After Maple's array:
Her sheen
Of green
So nice
With ice.

by Donna JT Smith

Now spend some time with other poets by clicking on the links back again at Laura's Writing the World for Kids where Poetry Friday is being hosted this week.

Friday, September 15, 2017

A Traded Line

Today is Poetry Friday, hosted by our Pretty Witty Ditty Lady, Michelle at Today's Little Ditty.

This year my mother's been gone for 14 years, my dad for 16.  They both died in September, so it is a sobering time. Add to it that my father's funeral was on 9/11/01.  We watched the planes as we finished dressing to go to the funeral, all the while wondering if we were safe leaving the house...or safe staying... then deciding it didn't matter.  The world was closed down that day, but I had to keep going.

Then two years later, on September 14, Mom died.  Her funeral was on 9/18/03, the day Washington, DC, was shut down for Hurricane Isabel.  My siblings and I joked about how our parents' deaths were just too much for our country to handle...everything went to pieces when they died.

Every September since 2001 there have been such mixed emotions.  Our wedding anniversary (45 this year) is September 9th.  And of course, it's also the first two weeks of school starting up.  I think it's always good to get all the special days in in a couple weeks of each other if you can arrange it!  Everything is so mixed then, there's no clear, single emotion.  I'm sure that must be good for you in some crazy way.

That is all said as background to the poem today.  When lines were offered for trade, by Linda Mitchell a few weeks ago, I left a line from Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm: "full of sparkles the livelong day", and I nabbed "I met Glory after a long day and one long night."... Actually, it picked me.  I didn't use it as an opening line - it's in the middle.  So using the poetic license I hold to do such things, I used it that way.  I can't be arrested. 

So here it is - most of it - it's missing a few stanzas that I have on hold, not sure if I want them.  I'm also not sure of the order of the last three stanzas, but I guess I can switch them some other time.  I was not going to post this, but felt the need to do something with it, so here it is, in honor of Mom:

Meeting Glory

We, her grown up children,
Together all around her,
Talked of times, and laughed a lot
To lovingly surround her.

Hours passed and still we sat
Engaged in reminiscing,
A glorious day till evening came
Then one by one dismissing;

She waved us to our roads back home
With her promise of tomorrow,
But there was no more time to spend
And no more time to borrow.

She waved herself on down the road,
Declaring "I met Glory!"
After a long day and one long night,
She'd started her new story.

No more our mother’s hand to hold,
No more a long, dark night;
Glory holds her hand instead,
And blessedly in Light.

She’d vowed not to be carried
Up the stairs again to church;
True to her word, that Sunday morn
She watched from Glory’s perch.

By Donna JT Smith
July 28, 2017 revised Aug. 15, 2017

Saturday, September 9, 2017


Our 45th Anniversary Today

I will sit in this swing with you
and my feet still will not touch
the ground.
They have not touched the ground
since we met.

Friday, August 25, 2017

Theophrastus on Time

It's a good time for poetry!

I took a Greek philosopher again this week - the suggestion of Irene Latham. 

Last week I did an eclipse/dandelion poem from a quote by Odysseus Elytis: "You'll come to learn a great deal if you study the Insignificant in depth".

This time I have the quote from Theophrastus (370 BC - 285 BC Greek philosopher):
"Time is the most valuable thing a man can spend."

And with this quote, I wrote a form of "Golden Shovel", though with a quote instead of a line of poetry.   Each word in the quote is used in order and placed as the last word in each line of the poem.


Ahead, shiny time;
Behind, each withered moment is
Slipped into the
Memory banks, most
Foolish; valuable
Time used for a flighty thing,
Slight remembrances of a
Time past, acquired by man
Who can
Never save, but might wisely spend.

by Donna JT Smith, 8/14/2017

As I read this a couple of days later, I thought - hey, how about an acrostic?  Hey, how about an acrostic Golden Shovel?  Ok.  Let's try it.
So I did, with a few changes, too.  The title is the T (Time), and the last letter I had to use my last name (Smith) as the last letter.  The quote wasn't quite long enough.  But I'm going with it even though it doesn't quite fit for an acrostic.
So, it is an Acrosti-Shovel or a Golden Acrostic or a Goldstic Acroshovel or Acrogold Shovelstic....Oh, this is almost as much fun as writing a poem!


Hastening ahead through shiny time;
Escaping behind, each withered moment is
Over, and slipped into the
Purse of memories, most
Hasty and foolish; valuable,
Rare time spent on a flighty thing,
Acquired recollections of a
Single man:
Time he can
Ultimately never save, but only more wisely spend.

Smith, Donna JT, author

Spend your time today wisely.  Spend your week wisely.
Spend a little, get a lot!
Read poetry!
Start with Jone at Check it Out who is hosting Poetry Friday today. 

Thursday, August 24, 2017

Hit the Showers

Instigated by Laura's 15 Words or Less today with her picture of a beetle on a dew laden petunia...

Hit the Showers

Hail, hairy flower,
Beautiful shower
Where dew and feet
Scrubbing power;
Polished neat -

by Donna JT Smith, Aug. 24, 2017

Have a sweet day!
I'm off to a meeting and then the dentist...a great day to take the motorcycle.
Catch you tomorrow for Poetry Friday, where I'll have a quote by Theophrastus that I've poemized as a Golden Acroshovelstic.  I made that name up, so don't Google it; it will only get you Golden Retrievers.  I'll explain it tomorrow.

Friday, August 18, 2017

Study the Insignificant

As the years have slipped by in the past 5 or 6 years I've been blogging, I've noticed that the  Poetry Friday offerings and Tabatha's Poem Swaps have matured and grown in depth and beauty - as I guess they would.

Wouldn't it be fun one of these Friday's to repost one of our earlier works with a new one - side by side, to see the growth?  Maybe that will be a post for another week.

Today, I have a poem in response to Irene Latham, who last Friday, inspired me to look at the Greek philosophers and use a quote as the basis for a poem.  I settled on a quote by Odysseus Elytis: "You'll come to learn a great deal if you study the Insignificant in depth".

Thanks, Irene, for inspiring me to squeeze out another bit of a poem!  It started out, just a study of a dandelion - that insignificant flowering weed.  I was going describe parts of it, but its small voice spoke to me.  It did not see itself as insignificant, nor a weed.  Perhaps we need to put ourselves in a better light, too.

The Small Sun

When I looked at the dandelion
Its sun sparkled countenance
Returned my gaze;
Its small rays reached toward the heavens
To touch the sun’s own outstretched
burly beams.
“Pick me and see
I am the twin
Of that orb in the blue,”
I held up the radiant blossom
By its pale hollow stem
and eclipsed the sun
With its grin.

by Donna JT Smith, 8/13/2017

My OLW "reach(ed)" is here, too!

Today I am in PA for tonight's production of "Jonah" at Sight and Sound!  So excited to see it later tonight.  We've seen "In the Beginning God" and "Samson" in other years.  It is such an impressive production.  If you ever have the chance to go - go!  It is amazing and you will not be disappointed. 

Friday, August 11, 2017

Poetry Friday

I have been busy with grandchildren this week.  They are leaving just after lunch, so the legos, stuffed animals, crayons and gluten foods are all being put away until the next visit!
I have been writing some when I get the chance - mostly early morning or during nap time.
I wanted to share one of the days:

We went to the playground behind our local school where the kids climbed, swung, slid and ran, and ran, and ran.  And then they discovered a little house on a pole.  It was a Little Free Library.  I explained to them what that was, and how they could each pick a book and we'd put two back on our next visit.
My grandson, soon to be six, picked Chris VanDusen's "If I Built a Car" to take home.  It is an awesome book, written and illustrated by VanDusen, and the rhyming is just the way I like it!  And just right for my grandchildren, too!  Yay!
By request, his mom read it that night before bed.  The next day he had determined that he would design some cars himself.  He asked me if I had some paper he could use, and we rustled up some printer paper and some pencils and pens.
He began working, and continued during quiet time/naptime in his room, just like in the pictures in the book.  He emerged at the end of nap with more images to post on the refrigerator.
He wanted to build one now.  His mom asked if he was going to build a prototype and explained what a prototype was.  Yes, he would build some prototypes.
He set up a shop on the coffee table in the living room, with two Lego boxes and one of his drawings.  The first thing he built was the hot dog car - as seen in the book (the red and yellow car).  Many more cars followed.  It is a good thing that years earlier my son was really into Legos - and that I'd kept them all!  My grandson needed lots of blocks and wheels!  Oh, and doors!

My story/poem ... inspired by my grandson, the book "If I Built a Car" and the book "If You Give a Mouse a Cookie":

"If You Give a Boy a Book"

If you give a boy a book
He will want to read it.
Reading it will give him ideas.
When he gets an idea,
he will need a pencil.
And if he asks for a pencil,
he will also need some paper!
When he gets his paper,
he will lie down on his belly to draw...
He will ask for a blanket!
The blanket will be cozy and
he will think about taking
a nap.
When he thinks about taking a nap,
He will turn off the light.
That will make it too dark so see his paper,
and will ask for a flashlight.
His flashlight will remind him of
Headlights will remind him of
cars, and
He loves cars!
He will start to draw a car with his pencil.
When he finishes drawing the headlights,
he will realize that
cars need tail lights, too.
He will need crayons to make them red.
He will ask for some crayons.
When he gets crayons,
he will begin to color the car,
And draw lots more cars.
And pretty soon
he will have LOTS of pictures
on LOTS of papers.
He will ask for a stapler
to make a book.
And if a boy has a book
He will want to read it!


One of his very detailed cars - in blue ink


Permanent ink lines
Linking a book, a boy and
Transient cherished time.

by Donna JT Smith (aka Nannie)

Poetry Friday, it is!  Follow me!  I'm going to visit Margaret at Reflections on the Teche!  She's hostess for her birthday party today serving up delicious poetry.

Thursday, August 3, 2017

Poetry Friday Here, Here!

Today is Poetry Friday, and I am hosting the party!  Yay!  Post your link for the party here:

Made with Padlet

Poetry Friday Padlet Linkups

It is summer.  Why, I remember it as if it were only yesterday when it was raining and I heard a robin's sweet song and I saw the first sweet rosebud on my rosebush by our house...

Sweet, huh?

So speaking of roses and sweet, my poem for today is about the beach rose - Rosa Rugosa - that can be found along roadsides and along beaches here in Maine. They are the absolute best smelling rose ever!  There's nothing like them for filling the air and surprising you with their sweet aroma as you pass by.  I have some roses given to us in memory of my parents, and from our church when we moved.

When Joy shared Jone's postcard and challenged us to write a poem about a little insignificant thing, I started writing this poem, and remembered I'd taken this picture a couple of days ago at the beach:
And after writing and posting the poem, I realized I'd also incorporated my One Little Word "Reach" in the poem, too!

RR Crossing the Sands

Rosa stands
In arid sands
With much to teach
About reach
Roots stray
Bursting to day
By mother
Forming another
She carefully aimed
And claimed
More beach:
Rosa’s breach.

The area in front of my house where we planted three rosa rugosas, is being taken over by new roses sprouting up all around the originals.  I laid stone around the area a couple of years ago, and there are new shoots coming up between the stones.  As beautiful as these roses are, they are a bit intrusive.  I am researching how to transplant some, so they can go with us to Friendship and so that my daughter and son can take some to their homes, too.  Though they are very hardy and resourceful when left to themselves, I have not been successful at transplanting any yet!

New Beginnings

Today is Spiritual Journey First Thursday and is hosted by Julianne at To Read To Write To Be.  The topic is New Beginnings.

I am a little bit unfocused on this topic, as I begin to write.  I have been ready for a new beginning that was to have happened this summer, and had it "called off" or at least "delayed for an undetermined length of time"...

Because the move was supposed to be happening on May 1, we packed most everything we thought we'd need at the new house; and made piles for Goodwill, for a yard sale, to give to our kids, to give to church, of trash, to keep, and of "I don't know about this stuff yet".
We started attending our new church just over an hour away from our present home, but closer to our new one...if we were there, that would make it convenient...but we aren't, so it isn't.
Kitchen in a Box... an ending or a beginning?
Then the hold-up occurred on the house.  Kitchen cabinets were kind of massacred and needed to be torn out and reordered from scratch.  When we were told the delay would be at least 8 weeks, we stopped treading water and kind of started drowning in stuff.  All our delays prior to this one had been for the ultimate good.  And so we must believe that this one was for some unknown, maybe never known, reason, though a good one.

But we'd never really seen a finish line before.  We'd never really started preparing for a move.  This time it seemed it would really happen, so we had begun the process - a process that has now essentially stopped mid-stride.  We are living in piles of stuff.  We stopped sorting.  Stopped throwing away.  Stopped caring.  Caring seemed to be too emotional, and we wanted to make it less stressful.  We wouldn't make it that important; it wasn't that important. 

However, instead of getting down to business and sorting at a more leisurely pace, we stopped that, too.  Beach trips, motorcycle jaunts, Starbucks, grand kids have all taken priority.  And now it is August with nothing more done.  I'm sitting in a mess, with few clothes to choose from each day.  I spend precious minutes searching for the paper towels or other items we've bought, but didn't want to put them "away - away".  Filling cabinets with stuff again seems so counterproductive!

New beginnings.  Sigh.  It seems that there is something wrong with the way we handled this delay in our new beginning.  Every morning I started with the thought that it would be different today.  Today I would surely pack more for the move or even unpack a small box of things I know we could use.
But which to do?  And then we'd go on a motorcycle ride to the beach.
We should really have a yard sale on Saturday.  But wouldn't a picnic be more fun?
The sun is shining.  It's hot in the house.  Let's go to the Flea Market.

Forget the new beginnings.  Each day is a new beginning for us.  And it doesn't matter where we are.  I have determined to stop feeling guilty for living in limbo and not attending to the day to day as well as I should.  I have determined - not quite succeeded yet - to just be content.

Not that I speak in respect of want: for I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content.  Philippians 4:11

I can't tell you how much I like to repeat this verse to myself!  It isn't permission to be stagnant, but it is a commission to be satisfied in what I have been given, and I have been given a lot.

New Beginnings

Beginnings and endings,
so closely aligned:
When one thing begins
an ending's resigned!
And though we might like
to hold on to the past,
Each new beginning is
better than last.
Reach for beginnings,
release what's been spent,
Rejoice in the chance
to enjoy what's been sent.
Begin each beginning
with smile and with grace;
And know that its ending's
just a lap in the race.

by Donna JT Smith, Aug. 1, 2017

Side Note: I'm thankful for receiving this poem - wherever in my brain it came from.  I was having a minor (which is always major for me) meltdown immediately after writing this post.  Then this poem suddenly emerged, and I am better now.  Breathing again.  Reaching.
Amazing how much that poem helped remind me of all the wonderful beginnings I've had in my life.  And that there are more to come.

Thursday, July 27, 2017

Storm Poem in 14 Words

Today is Poetry Friday...though I'm posting this on Thursday, this is my poem share.  Thanks Linda Mitchell at A Word Edgewise, for hosting this gathering today.  I love your "Auction" of beginning lines today.  Such fun!  It would be fun to try in a face to face group, too, where you can hear the poets' thoughts and bids for a line!
I am stealing the line, I've won my bid for
Laura Purdie Salas has her 15 Words or Less Poem Challenge today, with a picture of a storm brewing over a skyline.  Here's my offering today.  It reminded me of a storm coming in over the trees and bluffs of Hokah, Minnesota, when we lived there - and LaCrosse, Wisconsin, when I taught there back a lifetime ago!  It's been long enough that I can look at it differently; back then it was much more serious.  Not sure I ever smiled when a storm laughed overhead.  Especially that one that leveled the home we were building and strew the broken pieces of the house over the valley.  Not funny at all, unless you ARE the storm.

This was not in MN - but in ME one night while out riding around.


Firs and bluffs
Tickle the sky
Chortles rumble
As tears tumble
From storm’s eye.

Donna JT Smith,
July 27, 2017

Friday, July 21, 2017

A Rhino-Whine

Poetry Friday, yippee! This week's hostess is Katie at The Logonauts.
Today is a Rhino-Whine...inspired when I saw Mary Lee Hahn's post about her stuffed rhino and the book Rhino in the House, the true story of saving Samia by Daniel Kirk.  Now I might have to read Rhinos Don't Eat Pancakes by Anna Kemp, which I discovered when I looked at the Samia book on Amazon.  Reading...writing...learning... it's just a never-ending cycle!
I ordered, on Amazon, the Shel Silverstein book Who Wants a Cheap Rhinoceros, and bought a stuffed rhino for my grandson when he was here last week. 

BTW: This figure was one I found on the beach between rocks.  He'd been abandoned between a rock and a hard place, so I picked him up off the deserted beach and took him home. 

My grandson, who is now 5 11/12, loves the rescued man, the book and the stuffed animal. It was his idea to recline the man on the rhino's snout (look back at the book and rhino picture), copying the picture on the book cover.   I haven't read him the poem yet.   When they visit in August, I will read it to him.  Hope he brings the rhino for a visit!

A Rhino-Whine

I want a rhino, big and fine;
A rhino that I call all mine!
I’d love her dainty rhinocertoes,
Her very pointy rhinocernose;
Rhino fine,
Rhino mine,
My love is rhino-genuine!

In my bathtub let her brine,
Brush her till she starts to shine!
When we’re finished doing that,
She could don my big sunhat;
Rhino fine,
Rhino mine,
In our deck chairs we’d recline.

Supine in the warm sunshine
Could it be it’s time to dine?
Browsing grass and leaves at brunch
Downing berry pies for lunch
Rhino fine,
Rhino mine,
Gives no thought to her waistline!

I’m in the “Buy a Rhino” line!
I’ll take sweet rhino number nine!
I want that huge rhinoceros,
No matter what the cost to us!
Rhino fine,
Rhino mine,
Remove her “Rhino For Sale” sign!

No longer will I sigh or pine;
No need for her to rhino-whine
This rhino’s coming home with me
For cookies, honey and some tea;
Rhino fine,
Rhino mine,
My world is now rhino-divine!

This distant cousin of equine
That some say looks like Frankenstein
Proves beauty's in beholder’s eye,
I think she's quite a cutie pie!
Rhino fine,
Rhino mine,
Perhaps I’ll name her Valentine!

By Donna JT Smith, July 13, 2017

Friday, July 14, 2017

National Macaroni and Cheese Day

Today is National Macaroni and Cheese Day.

Tabatha Yeatts, our Poetry Friday hostess today at The Opposite of Indifference asked around to see if anyone else would be interested in using this special day as a prompt for their Poetry Friday post.
I'm in!  So to celebrate this day, here is my Macaroni and Cheese poem.
I am gluten sensitive, and need to maintain low carb, so this is not my meal of choice anymore... but it is good stuff, and I remember it fondly!

Here's an interesting One Pot Mac and Cheese recipe to try.  Looks easy and yummy.  I've done a one pot spaghetti that came out great.  I might try this with a gluten free sauce and pasta sometime when I'm feeling like I can add a carb or two! (sorry for the ad!) If you wait through another ad you can see a Wafer Tater Tot Cheese and Bacon Sandwich...not Mac and Cheese, but I think I may have to do this someday!  When is National Tater Tot Day?

Here's my tribute to the meal of the day, jumping rope, and Mom's rules:

Ma Macaroni's Warning (a cautionary tale)

“Keep your elbows off the table,”
Ma Macaroni said.
“For that’s the day, I’m sad to say,
That you’ll be boiled and dead.
They’ll bury you in cheese sauce
With other elbow fellows
And bake you as a casserole
Until you’re golden yellow.
Then one by one and fork by fork
They’ll eat your hollowed hide,
And there’ll be nothing left of you!"
Ma Macaroni cried.
“Heed my warning, pasta,
No elbows on the table,
Or you’ll be in hot water
As dear Mabel sets the table!”
But then one day they all forgot
Ma Macaroni's law,
For pasta has such little sense
(Indeed their major flaw);
"Is it almost time to eat?
I set the table fast!
Is the pasta ready?"
Miss Mabel sweetly asked.
"It's ready! Come and eat!" Mom called,
Putting elbows on the table.
"Please, pass the cheesy pasta!"
Was the cheer from dear Miss Mabel.
Now there are no more elbows
on the table or a dish:
Tomorrow is another day
What's the rule for fish?
It has to do with fires,
And avoiding frying pans -
But that is for another day
And some old man named Dan.

by Donna JT Smith, 2017

More macaroni and cheese, please!


Jump rope chant:

Mabel, Mabel, Set the table
Don't forget the salt and pepper!
(lots of versions... but this is the one we said)

Nursery Rhyme:

Dan, Dan, the fine old man,
Washed his face in the frying pan,
Combed his hair with the leg of the chair,
Dan, Dan, the fine old man.

Please, please, make sure you have checked in at Tabatha's to see her poetic contribution today, AND all the other macaroni maniacs' commemorations, and the contributions of those who chose another poem for today.  You won't be disappointed!

Friday, July 7, 2017

My Writer's Card

Welcome to my Poetry Friday post.  There are lots and lots of poetry sites to visit, if you've never been to a Poetry Friday Party, go visit our hostess Carol at Beyond Literacy Link and click on more links!

Last week I showed you the front of my "business card" quotes because, well, is it a business?  I guess it's my "writer's card".  A card I can hand out when I'm writing something and need to let the person know what I'm doing.  Sometimes it might involve them, as being like the star of a poem...or their license plate or lobster boat is my topic.  It means they can easily get to the site and see what I've written.  I've handed out one card.  There isn't a big rush on them.  But I'm ready!

Here's the front again:

On the back I have part of this poem about whales:

A Wail of Whales

Once I heard
a herd at sea
The scene was seen
by none but me
I called and heard
The herd call back
A wail of whales -
Some plump humpbacks
Their siren cries
Salted the sea
The yearning calls
Assaulted me
And I walked in
Braved frothy waves
To greet them in their
Sea enclave.
I swam a bit
And gave a shout
My answer was
A waterspout.
Whales’ echoing
Off ocean floor
Gently nudged me
Back to shore
“We’re happy that you
Came to to see
What’s happening
Out here at sea,
But truly you must
Use a boat
For you never were
Meant to float
Nor sink even
For that is worse
You’re not a whale
And that’s a curse!
Next time you see us
Use a dinghy
Paddles, oars,
Or motor thingy
Don’t visit without
Safety vest;
Listen to us for
Whales know best!
There’s no spare air
In watery deep
Unless you’ve gills
Or you can leap
And grab with gusto
Air you need
Before you dive
Below to feed.
Next time you’re here
You should be found
By looking up
And not around.

By Donna JT Smith, June 17, 2017

Next Friday, July 14, is National Macaroni and Cheese Day!  Come join in the fun of some cheesy, pasta poetry next week!

Thursday, July 6, 2017

Into the Dis-Comfort Zone

Pat at Writer on a Horse is hosting this month's First Spiritual Thursday with thoughts by bloggers on "Getting out of your comfort zone..."

Have you gotten comfortable in one spot?  It is easy to do.  I do it when I can.  It really is easier than moving on and taking chances.  Facing the known, no matter how unhealthy, unrewarding, even awful, it is, it is better than meeting the unknown - stepping out of your comfort zone and into the Discomfort Zone...

Being voted “Class Quietest” in high school, I was never one for speaking out or speaking my mind…I was a listener.  So you might say that my blog is even out of my comfort zone...

I think my most amazing step outside of my comfort zone, was singing a solo. Singing alone was truly terrifying to me - If I was singing alone outside of the shower or not in the confines of my car, I'd better be in a choir or a quartet...I could do those.  But not alone.  No solos for me.  I knew I would choke.  Positively die choking on notes.

But one day I was pushed out of my comfort zone.  Being pushed out of my comfort zone was like being pushed out of a plane!  Until I realized I had been issued a parachute.
I had been asked by the pastor to sing a solo.  Now if the pastor asks you to do something, you do it.  If the pastor thought God needed me to (let me rephrase that…) wanted me to, then that is what I needed to do, and somehow it would be all right.   I determined to do it.  I proceeded with much deep breathing, deep prayer, deep dread… and then laid it all aside, placing it in God’s hands.

I learned that I could sing alone in front of people, if it was for God.

When I did that, the most amazing thing happened.  He took over.  Took over my feet, pushing me forward to the front.  Took over my hands, taking away the trembling.  Took over my eyes, focusing me on the back window where for the first time I noticed that the lines of the two windows coming together high in the back wall made a cross.  Took over my heart, showing me that this was being done for Love. Took over my voice, putting forth a sound of singing I had never heard before.

That day opened up a whole new aspect of worship for me.  And I will ever be thankful that I was asked to step out of my comfort zone.  It would have been selfish, foolish and even prideful to remain in my comfort zone.

Because of our move, we have begun attending a new church that will be much closer to our new home.  There was a call for music “specials”.  It is a small church, and we have only recently joined.  I was going to wait much longer to “volunteer” to sing.

But then I asked myself “why would you wait to serve?”  Yipes!  That is right.  So I signed up to sing in two weeks.  This is going to be a totally new zone.  But I am assured that my “Comfort” will be there holding my hand.

Stepping out of your comfort zone, gives you the power to try another zone that you thought would be too far a walk. 

Maybe that is why I picked the One Little Word: REACH.  I’m not really one for reaching past where I'm comfortable, but the baby poem last week was a new zone.
Maybe that is why I tried the motorcycle.  Way out of my comfort zone.  I was sure I would never ever ride a motorcycle. But here I am riding in a new zone.
I can enjoy the ride now.  I can enjoy the singing now.  Who knew?

I wonder, what new "Discomfort Zones" will be conquered this year?  I must always remember that getting out of one's Comfort Zone just means there's a new experience that isn’t quite comfortable yet

Forging a rocky, overgrown, rough patch or "Discomfort Zone", it can become a well-worn path as we walk it often, taming it, resulting perhaps in a new "Comfort Zone"!

Thanks, Pat!  I'm glad I finally "talked this through"!

Friday, June 30, 2017

I Mean Business

I have spent time explaining to people what I do when I'm photographing their license plates to write a poem, and each time I've thought, why don't I just have a business card?  Then they could go read their vanity poem on my site someday.  But I never pursued it or thought about it again until the next time I tried to tell someone where to look for my poems.

But now I've done it.  And I even handed out a card last weekend.  Remember my OLW (one little word) for this year is REACH?  Well, I figure, the card is another way to REACH people.  AND (sorry for all the YELLING...but I'm not REALLY yelling...)
REACH I did.

We went on our trek to Starbucks last week, and the first thing (things? event? people?) I noticed was a group of 4 women, a man and a baby, all sitting together at the big table in the center of the room.  And they were happy, chatty and cooing.  The new baby boy was in the midst of all these adults, and though the baby was not giggling and smiling - being brand new and all - the adults surrounding him were beaming and handing him around the table for 5 or 10 minute stints with each one.

I was so enthralled with the happy group as I sat in a corner chair.  My husband and son were talking together, but I was watching the loving group at the big table together.  And I began to write.  I finished just as they were about to disperse.  They were clearing their table.  And I had to decide, would I or wouldn't I give them this poem?

I decided to reach out.  I walked over and told them I'd enjoyed seeing the joy they had at this new baby.  I met the mom - a local;  I met the great grandmother - visiting from PA.  I had them read my draft on the iPad, I gave them my card AND got their email address to send them a copy of the baby's poem.  They beamed some more, dropped a few more kissed on the baby and left.

Then I emailed them this:

New Baby Boy

Sweet the beaming smiles;
Love spills;
A family grows by one -
No frills;
By leaps, by bounds
It fills
The whole of souls
And wills
Our hands to fold
Each heart to hold;
And stills
Time briefly
He's overnight a man.

By Donna JT Smith

Hope you have a wonderful stay and enjoy that new soul! He is blessed to have such a loving family surrounding him!

I want to do this again sometime.  It felt amazing to watch the event, to be compelled to write, to take the moment to write and then to give that poem away.  I'm glad I took that opportunity to REACH out...and so glad I had my card!  

Oh, I almost forgot - when I gave them my card, they looked at the front and exclaimed, "Look what's on the front!  A whale!"  It's the mom's favorite!  Who knew my first card handed out, would be JUST one more connection that day?

Next up... head to see who else has poetry offerings at Random Noodling where Diane is hosting Poetry Friday today!

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:


Oh, Dat a Whay!

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

by Donna JT Smith


Oh, What a Day!

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

by Donna JT Smith


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).

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!