Friday, August 23, 2019

Frog Song

Okay this was deleted...Margaret Simon said to...

Friday, August 16, 2019

Trees and More

It's time to celebrate poetry.  Today's topic is trees if ya got one....and I remembered this one I have on my I'm reposting it.  Yesterday I just happened to take a picture of this tree in the schoolyard where my grandchildren were learning to ride their bikes. It is a spectacular oak - so huge!  What a great thing for a school playground.  Though it was hot and muggy, the tree's shade made it the perfect temperature and you could feel a breeze sitting beneath its sheltering boughs.

Poet Tree

I wrote
one day
I really had
too much to say
I could not write it all
I was much too small but
then I learned about Haiku
so short and stout and then I
that would do
so I wrote a little poem
that said more than it’s words
and from that grew a wish and need
to spread
my words like apple seeds and learn not
to rhyme all the time
one day my tree grew branches and I had more to say
so much more and so much
white space
so I
in a
just a peek
one wee
and I
knew I had
to keep on
and keep
on looking
at the world
or no
Donna JT Smith, 4-19-2013

I am still unpacking where we have moved - having moved more things (too many more) from Maine to Pennsylvania on my return trip.  Ginger's here, too, again.  I think she misses the big runs she could have with her friend, Spicy.  Our lot is small and no more going out in a nightgown with messy hair (me not the dog), and she has to be on a leash...and I'm not running full tilt around the house five times with her.  Lots of changes.


I think I'm hungry,
want to go out;
I'm waiting and waiting
with doggy-ish pout.
Why do you dress up?
Why brush your hair,
when you know that I need
to get out for fresh air?
City living's exciting,
small dogs call it grand;
But somedays I miss
running free on the land,
and standing stock still
as a coyote howls
or listening nights to
the hooting of owls.
The deer and the turkeys
dwelt in our hood
I barked at them all
as loud as I could.
I miss all the smells
of the geese in the flats
and the porch nesting phoebes
who tormented the cat.
In the city we have
rabbits, squirrels and skunks
all of them acting like
rodentia punks -
though we all know a skunk
is a Mephitidae
still a skunk is a punk
and I'm sorry to say
I got up too close to the
the tail end of one,
and man, that thing stunk 
like a son of a gun!
I promise to never 
sniff skunks again.
So if you would hurry
just tell me when -
for I'm ready to leave
 and sniff only ants,
on my way to the yard
to water the plants.

by Donna JT Smith, 8/16/2019

Enjoy more poetry today by following the links on Wondering and Wandering, by Christie Wyman, our Poetry Friday host today.

Sunday, August 4, 2019



Once I was young
And free of most cares
Now that I’m older
I find that the stairs
Are higher and steeper
Than any I’ve known
But still I look back
On the garden I’ve sown
Everything’s good
Though perfection it’s not
Yet there is a story
Back there with a plot
It’s taken me here
To the next thrilling act
The cliffhanger page where
You’re missing some fact
So I lift my right foot
Then likewise my left
I drag myself up
Till I rest in the cleft
Yes the steps are much harder
The higher you climb
But the view from the top
Will be something sublime.

By Donna JT Smith 8/4/2019

Friday, August 2, 2019

My Children

Back 30 years ago, I drew these two portraits of my children from memory...not a copy of a photo.  I found them in our move.  Sometimes you just have to make some changes to find treasures you forgot you had.

Hannah, at age 5

Adam, at age 8
My grandchildren are these ages now.

Time,Treasures and Trains

When you thought you had it all
and you wanted time to stop
it didn't.
Thankfully it kept on going
to the next precious station.
Life, holding to
the track,
even when switching rails
treasures abounded
with more around
every corner
clutching your ticket
your journey
with twists, turns, jolts
and shifts
to reveal treasures
Remember to
look, listen
and live
in each time,
for each treasure
on each train.

by Donna JT Smith, 8/2/2019

It may not be my may be my fastest though!  I have to go get a van for moving more stuff this morning.  My train is barely slowing down today.
Hope I can get to read more posts tonight in a very empty house in Maine.
Here's how YOU can: visit Heidi Mordhorst at myjuicylittle universe for Poetry Friday!

Thursday, August 1, 2019


We are in the midst of some life-changing events lately.  And when you make big changes, you need to keep connections.  I kept coming back to connections in the middle of change....
Connectedness keeps you grounded.  When spaces change, people change and conditions change, you need to rely on the good connections you have established to keep you grounded yet moving forward.  That is my life now.  
I thank an unchanging God for the change to my life He brought, and for giving me all the connections we have established to draw on in daily life and in misty memories.  And that is all I can say. 
I started this poem yesterday when I was contemplating our move and its many complications, and the connections to the past it is evoking and enabling as we go through the changes.  It's all just a part of a whole picture unfinished, a leg of a journey you are still walking, a chapter yet to be read, a dot-to-dot to be colored in.


Pieces and parts
Layered together
Haggard heart tugging
A silvery tether

Shimmery pearls slide 
    Memories glide
Between each gem
    Years cushioning them

Seeds of next time
Yet someday to bloom
Reside in the new
Dispelling of gloom

A placement in time
   A trace of divine
We stretch our toes
   Where our heart goes

Up then down
Side to side
A grand new maze
Where lives collide

Seeming the same
   Renewing the game
Hope swells content
   With all minutes spent

In brilliant puzzle
Corners are pieced
Outer edges aligned
The picture released 

Still filling the inner
   Choices grow thinner
Uncharted the smiles
   In upcoming miles
Sweet story the middle
Seen from the edges
With golden the morning
Green growing the hedges

All is quite well
   Wherein we now dwell
Always September
   Remaining remembered.

by Donna JT Smith 8/1/2019

It was good to be able to write again.  It's been sporadic lately.  This morning I am sitting on our chairs in the kitchen or living room now.  I should have written here before...maybe with a pillow though.  This poem is giving me food for thought...I feel another poem in there somewhere.  Maybe after breakfast?

Thursday, May 30, 2019

The Ocean's Hunger

Thank you for visiting today.  I make it to as many Poetry Friday's as I can.  Lately it has become difficult to pop in.  But I am making an effort this evening (Thursday) to prepare a post for Friday.  I am in Maine and working with a number of fantastic people to help me prepare our Maine home for sale.  Never fear, we are keeping the home we are renovating elsewhere in Maine - but are selling our log home on an island on the coast.  So much to sort and move.

Some pictures in case you know a buyer!!

I don't remember where this thought came from, but in cleaning out things, I came across a notebook with bits and pieces of an unfinished poem, and I put it together into this now finished poem.  I am including my ocean watercolor, started, but not finished, of Hatchet Cove in Maine, where our home we are renovating is located.  For now we will be elsewhere.  I will finish it when we get back.

Ocean's Hunger

The hungry mouths of waves begin
to gnash and gnaw, the sand pulled in;
Earth doesn't struggle with the tides
Though back and forth the grains collide.
They gurgle, rush in ocean's throat 
As salty stew stirs them to float;
Away the grains are drawn to sink
To shift, to shape, to form new brink;
My settling heels record the debt   
And we are left to marvel yet
How all the world is set in motion
Through faithful tides of famished ocean,
How edges of our world collapse,
Bits carried far away perhaps
To surface once again all cleansed,
A seascape through some other lens,
Sating still a mind and soul
With crumbs of shore the ocean stole.

by Donna JT Smith, 2019

Visit Mary Lee Hahn at A Year of Reading today to see other poets' and poetry lovers' postings!

Sunday, May 26, 2019


Have a wonderful Sunday.

I want to learn to play this song...seems easy enough with lots of goodness in it.

Thursday, May 2, 2019

Spiritual Journey First Thursday - Spring

We are joining Carol Varsalona for a springtime Spiritual Journey first Thursday today for thoughts about the topic Spirit of Spring  paying homage to the earth and the Lord for creating it. 
Seriously, I have been so busy lately that today's post is being done in a rush.  And I don't feel like it should be rushed.  No one should rush spring!
Spring is the setting up of the maturity of summer.  If you don't plant in spring, what harvest will there be?
So though I like to sit back and enjoy the warmer days and the hidden gifts beneath the dead leaves, there are also things to do before it is over and summer sets in.  Summer is the time to enjoy the fullness.  Fall is the time to harvest for Winter.  But Spring is the awakening again, and the start of...eeesh...getting ready for Winter, really.  Don't rush Spring.  Pay attention to it.  Nurture it.  Feed it.  So Summer will gladly arrive and you can THEN watch it unfold into what you set it up to be.
I'm doing that.  In my own life, I am well past Spring.  I like to think I'm in Summer...but I know parts of me are feeling the Fall coming on.  When I was in Spring, I set myself up for my Fall years.  I know there's a Winter coming.  But as long as I can, I am going to nurture my little Springs, be there for my Summers even as I enter Fall.  And when Winter comes, the Springs will be all ready to mature into the Summers we hope they will be.
You know what was so much fun this morning, just before writing this?  I was sitting with my newly five year old granddaughter as she put her magical fairy garden together on the dining room table, and she was humming and whispery singing, "Endless summer I can see for miles, fun, fun, fun and the whole world smiles..." 

Spring.  Thank you, God.  I will nurture Spring while it is here.  I'm not Winter yet.

Tuesday, April 30, 2019

Z is for ZZZZZ and ZUCHINI #AtoZ Challenge

If you are here for the progressive poem - click here to get there!
This month has been lots of fun.  I don't know what NEXT April will be like.  There are not many vanity plates in PA at all.  Maybe road names...those are interesting here!  Guess you will have to check back in April, but hope you will check back before that!

Z is for ZZZZZ and Zuchini...

Sleeping Zucchini

Zucchini seeds slept in the garden
Planted in early spring.
Zucchini seeds dozed in the warm soil
Heard the robins sing.
Zucchini seeds yawned venturing a root down
into the warming dirt.
Zucchini seeds stretched their seed leaves
unfolding green and pert.
Zucchini plants spread from here to there
awake and doing fine.
Zucchini plants grew gold blossoms
and twisted round and twined.
Zucchini fruit (or vegetable?) grew
sleeping in the field.
We got more unteeny zucchini
than one garden should ever yield.
Next year there'll be no zucchini;
it's too much a garden boss.
Forget "fake-sleeping" zucchinis -
I think I'll plant some moss.

By Donna JT Smith ©2019

Special thanks to Red, for using my "license plate" prompt to write your Z post today!  Head over to Doesn't Speak Klingon to read the short story for Z.

I'll be back soon with more poems, just not AtoZ Challenge.  April is over...on to May!

Monday, April 29, 2019

Progressive Poem Final Line is Here

The entire Progressive Poem is here today! (if you are here for Z - go HERE)
These are the poets that contributed a line each to Irene Latham's brainchild, the Progressive Poem.  This year's poem was begun by Matt Forrest Esenwine, with a great idea: using found lyrics from songs.  Each day a new poet added a new "found" line from a song...right up until today.  Today is the last day, and it is my turn to supply a line.  
I have written a rather lengthy explanation of what went on in my head and on paper.  You can, of course, read it, or skip down to the ending...well, not the ENDING... save that.  Go to the middle where the poem is, to read the last line.  Then go to the END if you are in the mood for - um - a laugh?  more music? something different?
April 2019 Progressive Poem Contributors and their lines:

  2 Kat @KathrynApel

  3 Kimberly @KimberlyHutmacherWrites

  4 Jone @DeoWriter

  5 Linda @TeacherDance

  6 Tara @Going to Walden

  8 Mary Lee @AYear of Reading

  9 Rebecca @RebeccaHerzog

10 Janet F. @LiveYour Poem

13 Doraine @DoriReads

17 Amy @ThePoem Farm

18 Linda @AWord Edgewise

20 Buffy @Buffy'sBlog

21 Michelle @MichelleKogan

22 Catherine @Readingto the Core

25 Jan @Bookseestudio

26 Linda @WriteTime

27 Sheila @Sheila Renfro

29 Irene @Live Your Poem

30 Donna @Mainely Write

Here is a list of each line's source:

L1 The Who, ‘I Can See for Miles’/The Beach Boys, ‘Endless Summer’
L2 The Beach Boys, ‘Fun, Fun, Fun’/Dean Martin, ‘When You’re Smiling’
L3 The Jamies, ‘Summertime, Summertime’
L4 The Doors, Summer’s Almost Gone’/Led Zeppelin ‘Good Times, Bad Times’
L5 Ray Bradbury, “Dandelion Wine”
L6 Joni Mitchell, “Chelsea Morning”
L7 Paul Simon, “Kodachrome,” “Dazzling Blue”
L8 Dan Fogelberg, “Run for the Roses”
L9 Spice Girls, “Wannabe”/Will Smith, “Gettin’ Jiggy Wit It”
L10 The Beatles, “Good Day Sunshine”
L11 The Carpenters, “Top of the World”
L12 Lin-Manuel Miranda, “Underneath the Lovely London Sky” from Mary Poppins Returns
L13 Carole King, “Hi-de-ho (That Old Sweet Roll)”
L14 Steve Miller, “Fly Like An Eagle”
L15 Don Felder, “Wild Life”
L16 Nowleen Leeroy, “Song of the Sea” (lullaby)
L17 Sara Bareilles, “She Used to Be Mine” from WAITRESS
L18 Stevie Wonder, “Isn’t She Lovely”
L19 R.E.M., “Find the River”
L20 Carole King, “Way Over Yonder”
L21 Mint Juleps, “Groovin” by the Young Rascals
L22 Jack Johnson, “Upside Down”
L23 Kermit the Frog (Jim Henson) “Rainbow Connection” from the Muppet Movie
L24 The Foo Fighters, “Learning to Fly”
L25 Tina Turner, “The Best”
L26 The Partridge Family, “Summer Days”
L27 The Pointer Sister’s, “We Are Family”
L28 Indigo Girls, “Power of Two”
L29 David Bowie, "Let's Dance"
L30 ?

And here's the link to the playlist that was created with the songs from which the lyrics came.

First, let me say, this has been a long month, what with the AtoZ Challenge (if you are here for Z - go HERE) and National Poetry Month with a poem a day and all!  And then following along with the Progressive Poem. I've watched and read with trepidation, wondering what line I could "find" in music to wrap up this poem into a conclusion that matched its summery, "dare to be" song medley.  I was coming up with nothing for the first week.  But that is expected.  You have no idea where it will go.  The best I could hope for was a happy coincidence that one of the lines or songs I was thinking of would actually work by the time the 29th writer had finished.  So I waited.  At first I didn't read it every day.  I waited for two or three days, so I wouldn't be tempted to get ahead of myself in planning.

BUT THEN...OH, MY WORD (did I say that already??)

BUT THEN... one day it occurred to me that I could maybe make a found poem with what was there.  And thus began my journey in earnest... and at last I could start doing more than just reading and waiting.  It was scary to do that and realize that suddenly I'd have to come up with a finale to contribute in 24 hours.

OH,, I won't say it again.  But I got this idea that made me so excited to get started, and I could start now... I would not go looking for a song, but do the ultimate in the "found" category, by using the "found" words in the created poem, to create a "found" last line!

I wrote the lines and took words in order, anxiously awaiting each day's offering.  To spread out the "found words" that had been supplied, I decided to try to write a line 8-12 words long, with at least 2 words in each section - dividing the poem up into 10 lines each (except 9 on the last, as mine would be the 10th of that section).

And then suddenly another inspiration hit somewhere around April 15.

What would it be like if I took the poem in reverse - total reverse, not just lines but first word last?  It would help me to be free of phrases in songs and see the individual words.  It might end up feeling more like a summing up or a back to the beginning of the poem at the end - a cyclical kind of thing?  Or maybe it would be just something altogether different?

At any rate, I decided to try it.

I took what I had and wrote each line backwards, adding them in reverse order - most recently written at the beginning.  I kind of liked the feeling of liberation.  So I continued writing each line in reverse order, starting with the first line, first word at the end.

I kept my division of the poem into thirds to divide up the lines to give me some "spread" over the whole poem. And from these words I selected the last line of the Progressive Poem.  It is a compilation of the song words.

The one thing that I found out about this process was that it became more and more exciting to see what words I would have available to use in the final line of the poem.  I watched and wrote backwards every day from that moment on, trying out different lines - or parts of lines.  I could not finish until the last line was offered!

Here are the lines backwards - and the underlined words are the selected last line:

*PUT LINES 20-29 HERE - pick 2-4 words
moonlight serious this moonlight the under sway let's two of power the by life multiply do you things the and you in faith have free be we’ll and hand my hold best the simply you’re life of sign a for looking stargazing us keeps that amazing so what’s curiosity stopping no there’s be to want we anyone be can we… runs honey the where land the to
"And free we’ll be -"

go to years light than now closer we’re old minute one than less know to easy not it’s deep the diving waves the waltzing me with come you won’t oh veins my in tiger a there’s and sea the to eagle an like fly wanna I sky the o’ piece a me get gonna today called it’s here tomorrow’s eyes my in sun the got sky the in cloud a not
"We’re diving in! Gonna"

down shining is sun the walk a take we’ll come go let’s set ready forever last it make lifetime a of chance the it’s blue dazzling greens Kodachrome today of portrait a on opens curtain the window your from lean rise to only had you day every and each sea laughin’ the swim we play to time just school for time no smiles world whole the and fun miles for see can I summer endless
"take a chance on summer!"

And now for the last line ...
Drum roll....
Um, and I've set it to music with a refrain.  Me and my!  I'm a beginner remember, so nothing fancy.  But I'll send you the lyric with chords if you like.  The music is at the end.

1 Endless summer; I can see for miles…
2 Fun, fun, fun – and the whole world smiles
3 No time for school- just time to play
4 we swim the laughin’ sea each and every day
5 You had only to rise, lean from your window,
6 the curtain opens on a portrait of today:
7 Kodachrome greens, dazzling blue
8 it's the chance of a lifetime
9 make it last forever–ready? Set? Let’s Go
10 Come, we’ll take a walk, the sun is shining down
11 Not a cloud in the sky, got the sun in my eyes
12 Tomorrow’s here. It’s called today. 
13 Gonna get me a piece o' the sky.
14 I wanna fly like an eagle, to the sea
15 and there's a tiger in my veins  
16 Oh, won't you come with me waltzing the waves, diving the deep?
17 It's not easy to know
18 less than one minute old
19 we’re closer now than light years to go
20 To the land where the honey runs
21 …we can be anyone we want to be
22 There’s no stopping curiosity
23 What’s so amazing that keeps us stargazing?
24 Looking for a sign of life
25 You're simply the best
26 Hold my hand and we'll be free
27 Have faith in you and the things you do
28 Multiply life by the power of two.
29 Let's sway under the moonlight, this serious moonlight,
30 And free we'll be - we're diving in! Gonna take a chance on summer! 

I found this guy in Target at the Starbucks there wearing this hoodie on Sunday afternoon.  I had to ask him if I could take a picture of his back... not too strange a request, right?  So I put the poem on it.  It enlarges to be more readable.

And now the finale - just because I "could"...well, not because I could really, but because I wanted to try and SEE if I could do it....I got my ukulele this month and am teaching myself, so I can maybe teach the basics to my granddaughter.
I set the poem to music (of sorts).  So, here I am playing my ukulele - my debut performance, lol! - I wrote the lines in order in the song, but used the first two lines for the chorus, then figured out chords, practiced and FINALLY played and sang ... right here:

Voila!  Now, my thought for a title is...

How about a found one using just the TITLES of the songs?