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