Friday, September 21, 2018

Red Foxes and Maples

This week we saw changing leaves and spied a beautiful, healthy fox in a field.  Don't usually see a fox in broad daylight unless it is sickly.  This one had a gorgeous bushy tail and was leery of crossing the field in plain sight, so he looked more like he'd been disturbed from his daytime slumber.

It reminded me of the maples turning red surrounded by the greens.  I'd passed the tree a few times, and then we actually turned around so that I could take the picture.  I just had to have it for a poem that was brewing.


 Of Maples and Foxes

Scarlet in the field 
alerts 
to the cold
of deepest white
and sparkling ebony nights;
sprints
through the golden stubbly fields
and heron's cooling marsh
under unmarred blue skies;
leaps
spires of fading greens
piles of gray stones stitched acres
and babbling crystal brooks;
peers
from ever-deep-greens
through yellow tipped hedges
around silver sheds and barns;
and green
turns to gold 
and gold 
burns to red 
and red
spurns the white
cold ebony night
and scarlet
returns to 
sleep
deep
beneath
the crimson maple.

by Donna JT Smith, ©2018

I am sorry, but I will likely not visit others blogs this week.  I wrote and scheduled this a few weeks ago in case I couldn't get back to it.  Just noticed that it did post, and I'd even forgotten that I'd done it.  So here I am apologizing.  Hope your week is fun and your school year is going well, if you are teaching and retirement is going well, if you are doing that!

Friday, September 14, 2018

What a Rose Knows

This summer has been one of fun, but other things, too, that have been slightly less fun or distracting to say the least.  I must say, one of the more fun things that has kept my mind busy and happy has been Tabatha Yeatts-Lonske's poetry exchange.  I wrote poems for other poets, and received some poems in the mail.
It has been fun to get actual mail in the mailbox - kinda like the olden days!

In the midst of some chaos, I received Molly Hogan's parcel.  Molly just lives a few towns away, and knows the parts of Maine that I am familiar with also, so though I knew I wouldn't have time to savor the poem,  I opened the envelope to have a sneak peak!  Roses, ocean... but had to set it aside before reading very much.  I slid everything back in its envelope for safe keeping.  The envelope moved from the kitchen table to the kitchen counter, and then to a nightstand where it sat safely waiting for me to have a mellow moment to remember it again.

The moment came, and I went through a stack of mail and miscellaneous in the kitchen, looking for the packet.  I suddenly remembered where I'd placed it and scooted in to grab it from its safe spot!  I slid the photo of the familiar rosa rugosa out of the manila envelope and breathed a sigh of relief and relaxation!


Molly's poem, which I'd only skimmed briefly initially, now took hold of me, and I smiled to myself and nodded in agreement as I read "What Rosa Rugosa Knows".  Yes, Rosa does.
"Don't be deceived by her simplicity
and seeming air of fragility"

Here it is with the brilliant picture with poem:


What Rosa Rugosa Knows

Rugosa knows
     how to meet her needs
     to protect herself with stalks prickled and brambly
     to expand into new territory
     sending out questing suckers with ease
     using wind and water to disperse her seeds

Rugosa knows
     how to live generously
     to unfurl her tissued petals exuberantly
     releasing scent into brisk sea breeze
     her stems weaving a sanctuary
     to shelter birds, butterflies and bees
     her roots tightly gripping slipping beach

Rugosa knows
     how to thrive in adversity
     to tolerate salt spray from stormy seas
     conserving water in deeply wrinkled leaves
     to flourish in earth of poor quality
     and valiantly resist disease

Don't be deceived by her simplicity
     and seeming air of fragility

Rugosa knows

©2018 M. Hogan

Thank you, Molly!  I needed that.

We can all take a lesson from Rugosa...
she knows how to meet her needs,
live generously
and thrive in adversity -
     fragility is only her cover.


Get fed more poetry today by visiting Amy Ludwig VanDerwater, where Poetry Friday is being hosted.

Sunday, September 9, 2018

Happy Anniversary

And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ’s sake hath forgiven you.
Ephesians 4:32
It’s how we’ve run our day to day married life.

It’s Forever

When I married you, 
I did not know -
Could not fathom -
That the years
Would go by so quickly.
I did not know where
years came from 
Nor where they went.
But I had only seen 21 years -
a young girl
so far
And had only known you
for a year when we said “I do” -
“I do take thee
Forever.”
It is almost that now -
I would like to take you
For one more
Forever, please.
This one hasn’t 
been long enough.

By Donna JT Smith, (c) 2018

Happy 46th anniversary, Tim.
It has been a good path, so let’s keep on walking It!

Wednesday, September 5, 2018

First Spiritual Thursday - My Path

I scoured my brain for ideas for this month's topic for First Spiritual Thursday.  It was not an easy task for some reason. So many activities, events, adventures and misadventures this summer have taken up brain space, making it difficult to focus on writing at all.

I finally landed on a moving target - the paths we’ve taken - by choice or nudging.

Do you remember a time something amazing happened because
   of an opportunity you took?
      a corner you turned?
         a door you opened?
How have you been led to where you are today?

Let’s just call it “My Path” and see what comes of it!
Maybe this gives you a different take on it altogether!
Even I will be surprised. I have no preconceived idea of where this will lead me...
I'm so curious as to where this "path" may lead!

KJV Dictionary definition of "path":
P`ATH, n. plu. paths. Gr. to tread.
1. A way beaten or trodden by the feet of man or beast, or made hard by wheels; that part of a highway on which animals or carriages ordinarily pass; applied to the ground only, and never to a paved street in a city.
2. Any narrow way beaten by the foot.
3. The way, course or track where a body moves in the atmosphere or in space; as the path of a planet or comet; the path of a meteor.
4. A way or passage.
5. Course of life.
He marketh all my paths. Job.33.
6. Precepts; rules prescribed.
Uphold my going in thy paths. Ps.17.
7. Course of providential dealings; moral government.
All the paths of the Lord are mercy and truth to such as keep his covenant. Ps.25.
P`ATH, v.t. To make a path by treading; to beat a path, as in snow.
To push forward; to cause to go; to make way for.
P`ATH, v.i. To walk abroad.


My take on Path: Course of life -

I was tempted to begin a timeline showing things along my path.  But it isn't the things along or in my path that are the important things. They are the evidence of God working in my life even from an early age.  For as long as I can remember I was searching for the God of my life.  I was not sure how to find Him, but I knew He was real.  I did not know why Jesus had to die.  I just knew He did.  I did not know how He related to God, but I knew He was important.  I knew I wanted to be good so I could go to Heaven, but I didn't know exactly how good I had to be.  Perhaps I could just do more good than bad. It seemed logical.  So I set off on that path.  I would be good and kind and helpful and try to do no harm.

I think God saw the path I had chosen, and maybe smiled a little at my feeble attempts to be good - at least to be more good than bad.  And He kept watching me. I somehow knew He was. It feels now like my path was a bit of a maze that God was steering me through, sometimes holding my hand, sometimes nudging me around corners or over boulders, guiding me through deep waters, pushing me past some people, and leading me to other people until he could get me through the maze and end my confusion.

I believe my path has been guided throughout my life, even when I wasn't sure how it was happening.
Why did my future husband show up at the moment he did?  Why did job opportunities open up when others closed suddenly?  Why did we call that one real estate agency to list our home and end up selling it to his boss before it was even listed - at a time when we really had to move quickly?  Why did - Why was -  How did this happen to work out even when it looked like it couldn't possibly go right? 

I have so many "why dids" and "how dids" in my pathway that are now answered simply.  I always wanted God to lead me, even when I wasn't so sure who He was to me.  And He guided my footsteps and helped me to avoid many storms in life - actually, I'm not as sure that He helped me avoid storms, so much as He helped me ride them out.  Amazingly, often it wasn't until later that I realized it was a storm that I'd been through, and perhaps might have been concerned about had I not been fixed on God.  I have rested peacefully and thankfully in His arms - as a newborn would in a mother's - almost unaware of the dangers.

I'm along for the ride.  I'm on a path that has been set for me.  It may look like I'm in control, but that's just because God's over in the passenger seat with all the controls - just like my drivers' ed instructor.

Psalm 16:11 Thou wilt shew me the path of life: in thy presence is fulness of joy; at thy right hand there are pleasures for evermore.

Proverbs 4:18  But the path of the just is as the shining light, that shineth more and more unto the perfect day.
This is not quite on the same "path" as the above, but it is a kind of path I remember thinking about as a child...and the disappointment when I learned that it was impossible.



To Walk on Clouds

I’ve always wanted to walk on clouds
Billowed beneath my feet;
Swirl them, twirl them with my toes
Aloft on Nimbus Street;
Then peering past
The cumulus cast
An eye on all below:
Mountains insignificant,
Rivers raging slow.
But there is no solid stratus,
No cirrus stony path,
And I am much too heavy
To amble on a draft.
I’ll never traipse atop the clouds,
Though cloudless days there’ll be
When I will step so nimbly
Unweighted down and free,
Not to walk on clouds but skip
And run on higher ground
Above the highest mountain,
Cause I’m not lost but found.
I’d always wanted to walk on clouds
Billows beneath my feet
Until I found reality is
More magnificent and sweet.

by Donna JT Smith, 2018

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Friday, August 17, 2018

Poetry Friday Bird Challenges

Christie Wyman at Wondering and Wandering is hosting Poetry Friday and has thrown out a bird-related poem challenge to anyone willing to come along!  Check out the links posted...there maybe a few bird poems today.  Diane Mayr has also challenged anyone interested to select an image from the Library of  Congress (LOC) archives that is bird related. 
So I've combined the two and this is it - I would, of course, search for a gull image - The poem is read from the box at the top to start then head on around the image clockwise.

https://www.loc.gov/item/2017764654/
Title
Aboard a trawler. Selecting fish and cutting off heads. Only mackerel, whiting and occasional flounder or halibut are kept. Thrown from trough into ice-filled hold. Fish heads and non-marketable fish are thrown into sea above which hundreds of seagulls wait hungrily. Provincetown, Massachusetts
Contributor Names
Rosskam, Edwin, 1903-1985, photographer
Created / Published
1937 Summer.
Gluttonous Gulls

Gluttonous gulls 
can't help but call:
 "Come look, come see, 
come one, come all!
Look what I found - 
the heads of fish -
And boy, oh, boy, 
they look delish!"

"Share with you?
I don't think so.
You didn't catch 
these fish, you know."

"Neither did you,
so you'd better share!
Eating them all
is just not fair!"

"Fair to whom?
I found this lot!
And what did you?
I think 'twas naught!"

"Oh, fancy talk
from a common gull
Who's following boats
to snarf up cull!"

"Those fish heads
flying to the sea 
Should all belong
to me, me, me!"

"Oh, really now!
I think you're wrong;
These fish are mine,
so run along!"
~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
"These gulls are sure
 a noisy bunch.
Their only goal:
to grab free lunch."

"If only they would
eat and share,
But seagulls aren't
that sweet and fair."

"Keep tossing heads
and no-name fishes,
Grant these gulls
their gluttonous wishes."

("I didn't sign up
for this fishing trip;
I thought this was
a cruise-type ship!")

"We'll head for shore
as sun is setting,
But they'll be back
for tomorrow's getting!"

by Donna JT Smith, 2018

Wish I'd gotten footage of the people "from away" feeding a gull on the railing beside their table - quite close to the sign saying "Do Not Feed the Gulls".  They were sharing a large platter of fries, letting him have free range of that plate.  She wasn't too pleased when he then decided to take her large piece of haddock off her plate.  She tried to shoo him away, but he came back and got the second piece of haddock, too.  They are brazen, and don't need to be fed.  They take whatever they want, whenever they want.  Nothing is safe unattended.  But if you ARE attending it and feed them, then they get even bolder - and you my friend are going to lose anything that looks as if it may have food in it even.  "Do Not Feed the Gulls"... really.  Visitors get to go home and eat in peace and quiet; we have to live with them later!

Thursday, August 9, 2018

Poetry Swap from Iphigene

To the writers who want to be:



Today I am also sharing a poem I received from Iphigene Daradar in the Philippines.  She stalked my blog (very effectively and efficiently, I might add!), and came up with a beautiful summary, beginning with a line I had written in one of my posts recently.



LIKE A RUSHING WIND

"Life is like
a rushing wind
around me."

I sit to make
lists in hope
to catch life's
gush into a string
of words
to check off.

I write #3
only to hear
a knock,
life at my door
asking me
to go see
beach roses
blooming by
my porch.

I bend down
breathe in
the scent
of pink and white
roses, to notice
the day was best
for a ride to
the coast

Shook it off
stamp my feet
to the house and
finish the list.
ten things to write -
to be done.

I write #5
breeze blew
my paper flew
I run to shut
the window
found a bird
perched

I stop to listen
to its song,
an invitation
to dance -
shoeless
on the grass
beneath the
softening sun

Oh! Life is like
a rush of wind
sweeping off
my list, telling me
to be at ease
let it be, and
live.

©Iphigene Daradar, 2018

Thank you, Iphigene.  There is no more to say.  Just a sigh and a smile.


Please visit Molly at Nix the comfort zone for more poetry goodness.

Friday, August 3, 2018

Poetry Friday


I read Mary Lee Hahn's post today (and she is hosting!) where she has written a Blitz Poem.  It was so intriguing, I had nothing ready for today, and I had some extra time (having gotten up a mere three hours after going to bed), so I decided to try one, too.  I've not spent much time finessing this, so I'm sure there are cleverer ones to be written than this.  But this was a good experiment in a Blitz Poem and I enjoyed my early hours this morning.


Dawn of Fun

At the end of my rope
At the crack of dawn

Dawn to dusk
Dawn of ages

Ages ago
Ages gracefully

Gracefully declined
Gracefully bowed

Bowed out
Bowed to the master

Master of all
Master mind

Mind your manners
Mind your own business

Business trip
Business of living

Living the life
Living the dream

Dream of a future
Dream home

Home of the brave
Home on the range

Range in age
Range of motion

Motion to adjourn
Motion to the side

Side by side
Side of beef

Beef it up
Beef about it

It is a miracle
It has no end

End in sight
End of the road

Road less traveled
Road to nowhere

Nowhere does it say
Nowhere to go

Go on
Go play

Play outside
Play in the rain

Rain cats and dogs
Rain barrel

Barrel of laughs
Barrel of fun

Fun and games
Fun in the sun

Sun
Games

by Donna JT Smith, © 2018


Thursday, August 2, 2018

First Spiritual Thursday Looking Ahead

Patricia Weaver at Writer on a Horse is hosting this "event", our Spiritual Thursday posts, today.  So if you are of a mind to read what others have to think and say about anticipating their favorite "seasonal" stuff's return, head on over to Pat's and click on a few links.

Sunset with a gull
Romans 8:25 - But if we hope for that we see not, [then] do we with patience wait for [it].

I am looking forward to the return of ALL the seasons, and ALL the things that go with them.  I should not be counting down, but there are days when I think "How many more seasons of these roses will I enjoy?", "How many more of this or that will there be?"  And I think of my husband's grandmother who lived to be 104, but had begun counting down at about my age now, or a bit younger.  She had 40 more years.
So I have determined not to think TOO much about that and just live a lot.

Looking Ahead to What's Passed

my heart
skips 
forward 
to the return
of seasons gone before;
and I write about remembered
fall sunsets squeezing gold from setting sun, 
spreading butteryness on waving grain;
I pen of last winter's snowflakes,
sequins on dancing spruce;
I encourage my ink 
to flow in rivulets, 
as spring rains 
carving through 
melted snows,
the thought of 
shocks of green
between my toes 
lures me to compose 
summer words of wonder;
though my pen
trips
over words
expressing earthly loves:
my reasons in seasons,
 watchful weeks
dreamy days;
each minute
my heart knows
there is really 
only one return that
flips
my world
and I await
what has passed before
and will be again.

by Donna JT Smith ©2018

Psalms 39:7 - And now, Lord, what wait I for? my hope [is] in thee.

I wrote part of this on Wednesday night and got very busy with much stuff starting early this morning.  And I apologize for not getting back or starting earlier to flesh it out.  You know how it is when you have so much stuff you want to fit into a day, a week, a life... squeezing in the good stuff is important.  Writing is important, too, but doing is more important if you only get to do one of those.


This has not a lot to do with the topic today, I just like it.  I'm always trying to remember to ask boldly.
1 John 5:14 - And this is the confidence that we have in him, that, if we ask any thing according to his will, he heareth us:

Thursday, July 26, 2018

Revised Revisited

An old postcard of my home - When we owned it, the trees had grown up all around it, so it wasn't visible from the road.
Today is Poetry Friday, and our hostess is Catherine at Reading to the Core.  She's sharing a poem planned for the start of school....yipes! Already??

I missed last Friday's poetry, though I did write some.  I read about "Where I'm From" poetry introduced by George Ella Lyon, and tried one.
I also later found this form online: http://freeology.com/extras/whereimfrom2.html.  It would be good for getting started with students.

Though some have seen my original there version on FB, I have revisited and revised it.  At one early point I had accidentally taken out the "lilacs" that I wanted in there, so they are back. Then my brother read it and mentioned "Brown Rim Cookies".  No one else in the world that I knew ever made them, or had heard of them.  So I've included the cookies in the poem and a recipe at the end.  I became an expert at tucking the edges of the linen towel inside a glass, dipping it in water, and applying just the right amount of pressure to the ball of dough so that the edges wouldn't burn.  There were a few "Burned Rim Cookies" before I got it right!
Yesterday, the 26th, would have been my mother's birthday.  So let's just say it is in honor of her.  For she is really "where I'm from" in many, many ways - even to her choice of my hard-working dad, Alex!


Not my actual bike -
Mine didn't have a headlight, but it was probably used when I got it.  My brother got a red bike the same day.

Where I'm From

I am from
family baseball
on summer Sunday afternoons,
because before I was from anywhere
Alex joined the Coast Guard instead
of the Red Sox farm team.
I am from
backyard football
and driveway basketball
until snow flies. 
As the eldest of four,
I am from
watching my three siblings
when adults are busy;
But still 
I am from the fun of
bare feet and blueberries
marbles and mud,
jump ropes and jacks.
I am from lilacs and ledges, 
chokecherry hideaways;
from butterflies and
grasshoppers and pine pitch
stickiness on fingertips.
I am from
making stick boats to float
down the driveway after a rain,
carving roads under the cedar trees 
for my Tonka truck and
ducking spiderwebs.
I am from 
the terrors of gathering
eggs from feisty hens and
avoiding killer roosters.
I am from
repaired
porcelain horses,
used furniture, antiques
and unlimited pre-loved old books:
“Honeybunch, Just a Little Girl” and
“A Child’s Garden of Verse”;
And I am from under my own
‘Land of Counterpane’
 reading and hoping
no one will notice
I’m not yet outside playing
under the apple trees and old elm.
I am from choir and white gloves,
and praying in school each morning;
I am from Bonnie Brae 
and picking Mrs. Foye's 
favorite apples in the front yard
and rubbing dirt off carrots and radishes from 
Mom’s vegetable garden in the backyard.
I am from
sewing machines and fabric
and making my own dresses;
I am from
“Gone With the Wind”,
and pressing down brown rim cookies.
I am from working at summer camp with
kids where I first learn I will be from
hundreds of children teaching me.
I am from new roots
with a husband
and a farm halfway across the country,
away from family and old friends.
I am from
new friends,
real horses,
real fences to mend,
and from my own two children
who mold me into
a mom.
I am not always from
“I know how to do that.”
But I am from
“I want to learn how to do that.”
I am from guns and roses
and motorcycles.
And I am from
a mother and father who know
that small things are big
and big things are small,
and a fall
is naught
at all.
I am from salt air, 

seagulls,
 and polliwogs;

and the freedom to roam
on a blue Schwinn I named Daisy.

I am from hearing an old foghorn

call us for supper.

And I’m from

coming home
 again.

By Donna JT Smith, July 22, 2018
A foghorn like ours.

BROWN RIM COOKIES

1 c. shortening
1 tsp. salt
2 eggs, well beaten
1 tsp. vanilla
2/3 c. sugar
2 1/2 c. sifted flour
Combine shortening, salt and vanilla. Add sugar and cream well. Add eggs. Beat thoroughly. Add flour. Mix well. Drop by teaspoonfuls and flatten with water glass (damp cloth over bottom). Bake at 350 degrees for 8-10 minutes.


Note:  Mrs. Foye was an elderly woman who would sit on our porch and ask for specific apples from our trees.  Mom was a registered nurse, and she and Dad opened our house up for a while to be a nursing home at Bonnie Brae.  We had patients in 5 of our bedrooms, and we slept in the "summer" rooms over the barn and summer kitchen.

Friday, July 13, 2018

A Ride to Reid

Such a special treat of a poem arrived last week from Becky Herzog.  It was a handmade postcard with  a shape poem - a beautifully flowing outline of a motorcycle, with an equally beautiful flowing poem.  It's perfect.  She's captured it all...the smells, the sounds, the feelings.  Thanks!!!

Some pictures to set the mood...

Reid - Todd's Point

Beach roses ready to bloom

A seagull swoop

A great swing at Griffith Head, Reid

 And the bike:
Ready for a Ride to Reid!
And now the postcard/poem (even the colors are right!):

A Ride to Reid

Happiness
Smell of seaweed and roses on the air
Exhilarating
Salty sea breeze rushing past sun-kissed cheeks
Peaceful
Distant waves crash and gulls cry
Rejuvenating
Pause to recharge the soul
Joyful

by Rebecca Herzog ©2018

I told you it was perfect.
This project, organized by Tabatha Yeatts, is so much fun!  I'm late sending my next poem out, but TODAY it goes...and my third, too!
Now visit more poetry goodness with Sylvia at Poetry for Children!  It's Poetry Friday!  Hip-hip - hooray!

A late response poem:

I Can Dream

When I ride
the glide of wind
across my face,
like waves awash across 
the space of sand,
turns sun to
warmth undone.
Breeze sneaks
between glove and
sleeve,
tickling, trickling
up past wrists.
I lean into the curve,
as a gull dipping its
wing carves
a path;
Though I must 
stay grounded
to the earth,
  I can dream, 
can't I?

 by Donna JT Smith, ©2018