Thursday, October 31, 2013

Pearly Whites and a Picket Fence

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

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

So Are the Teeth

As barnacles on a rock, so are the teeth in our jaw.
As pearls line up on a string, so are the teeth in our mouth.
As a line in a crossword puzzle, so are the teeth of first graders.
As Chicklets in a box, so are the teeth of second graders.
As pickets in a fence, so are the braced teeth of teens.
As biscuits popped in or taken out of the oven, so are the teeth of great grandparents.

Any other ideas?

Canine cornered doggy lips,
Sharp fangs of a cat,
Tusks of giant elephants,
Incisors of a rat,

Orange dentured porcupines,
Denticles of sharks,
Rabbit’s yellow nibblers,
Making toothy marks.

Baleen smiles of great big whales,
Molars of a rhino,
Milky whites of browny cows,
Making eating fine-o.

Toothy grin of little boy,
Girl’s of pearly whites -
Teeth beneath their pillowed heads:
Tooth froggy’s delight.

Of course, my first graders would put up some resistance when I told them there was no tooth fairy, but gave in to laughter when I told them there was a tooth froggy.  Frogs have no teeth, so Tooth Froggy collects teeth to make dentures for frogs so that they can chew their food better.  It's a good deal.  He pays for the teeth, and then sells the dentures to the toothless frogs and other creatures.  He makes enough money to buy more teeth and take an occasional vacation to a warmer place in the winter - avoiding sleeping in the frozen mud all winter.
They never really gave up their Tooth Fairy, but humored me on the Tooth Froggy story.  ALL of my students had seen a tooth fairy at some point in their lives, if they'd lost a tooth.  They could describe and draw their personal tooth fairy, also.  It made for interesting tooth fairy mobiles in our classroom.

One of my favorite books to read to them was Little Rabbit's Loose Tooth, by Lucy Bate.  It's such a sweet story, and I loved Little Rabbit's innocent voice.  It's an old story, but the kids always loved it.  Good books are timeless.  Teeth aren't.

P.S. Frogs do actually have teeth, albeit nothing to write home about.  They are very small cone shaped teeth, which in most frog cases are only on the top jaw.  They aren't for chewing though, so they would still need the dentures for that.  These teeth just help them hold prey as they swallow them whole.

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Whiney Whys

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

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

At restaurants:
  • Why is it okay to build a fort out of the individual serving creamers, butters and sugar containers?  Oh, and wear the bowls they were in on your head, like perhaps you needed a construction worker's hard hat or a crown.  I guess it is pretty hard for a four year old to understand that though when your father and mother are helping construct the condiment castle and teaching you how to put them back so neatly no one will ever suspect you have had the bowls and food in your very grubby, marker stained hands.  I'll bet the bedroom walls are beautiful.
But then, Mom and Dad don't want to stifle creativity.  And there are some self-esteem issues, doncha know.
But it isn't really even all about the kids' poor behavior then is it?  Sometimes the adults don't even HAVE kids with them...
  • like the lady at the salad bar at the grocery store who filled her container so full she couldn't close it, so she had to put some of the olives back using her fingers.  I mean, really, what else could she have done?  She couldn't close her container.  She didn't want to dirty the tongs in the olive serving dish. (What?  Wait.  That's right, those were tongs for putting them in.  There must not have been any return-tongs!)  She knew her hands were very clean.  Hmmm, but there was that grocery cart handle...oh, and the purse strap the baby chewed on..wait, did she wash her hands after she fixed her shoe and tidied her hair, scratched her nose and... ummm.  I wouldn't worry about it. 
  • and the guy who makes sandwiches with those protective gloves on.  The protective gloves are not meant to protect you from my sandwich.  They are to keep my sandwich clean.  So.....if the gloves are dirty...then my you see where I'm going?  Yup, your hands will still be clean.  My sandwich, not so much.  So stop opening registers, handling money and pushing your hair out of your face with with them on while you make my sandwich, please.

I guess I did want to whine, complain and be judgmental.  How'd I do?
I promise, I won't whine tomorrow!

Saturday, October 26, 2013

Another Poem Format to Try

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

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

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

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

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

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

©Donna JT Smith, 10/25/2013

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

Hmm.  Too late!
Knocking at my door
Was a little brown mouse
Why would this tiny rodent
Come to my big house?

He borrowed toilet paper
-didn’t mean to be a pest.

I thought he’d need
some help but
he just rolled it to his nest.

©Donna JT Smith, 10/26/2013


Shhhh!  Don't tell anyone.  Only the people that get this far will know it is my birthday today.

Friday, October 25, 2013

A Falling Out

Maple Pine Oak Birch

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

Mild mannered
Leaving leaves

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

Immersed in
Ever green


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

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

Friday, October 18, 2013

Hey, Mortimer, Do You Have a Minute?

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

I am hosting the poetry-loving Mortimer Rabbit for The Mortimer Minute.  He is going to ask me a few questions today, and I will answer them to the best of my ability.
If you would like to have Mortimer visit your website and ask a few questions, here are the 3 guidelines:

1. Answer three short questions, one of them taken from the previous Mortimer Minute.
2. Invite another blogger (or two or three) to take part on the following week--writers, teachers, or anyone who loves children's poetry is the perfect choice.

3. Link to the previous Mortimer Minute and to your choice for next week. 

Well, over at Random Noodling, I discovered Mortimer, the rabbit, interviewing

Me: Hello, Mortimer!  Nice to finally meet you nose to nose.

Mortimer:  Why, yes, I suppose it is.

Me:  So I hear you have some questions you would like to ask of this poetry lover and writer!

Mortimer: Yes, I do.  Here's my first and very most important question: If you were a rabbit and liked to write poetry, what would you write?

Me: Well, I think I might write a little hop-skip-and a jump ditty!

Mortimer: Kitty?  Did you say kitty?  I am not too fond of cats.

Me: No, ditty.  A ditty is just a little something written down like a song or poem...

Mortimer: Oh, okay.  No "Owl and Pussycat" poems, please.  They make me nervous.

Me: Okay, no owls and cats in the ditty.
Here goes:
I hop -
I jump -
I bound around!
I twitch -
I freeze -
I hear a sound!
I spring -
I dart -
I can't be found!

Mortimer: That almost sounded like there WAS a cat or owl in that poem.  And I sounded like a scaredy-rabbit.

Me: Okay, then.  How about this one?

I've the quickest legs for changing gears,
And for rabbit radar, the longest ears.
My nose will ever test the air
To see if I should take some care.
A daily carrot and lettuce leaf
Are good for health, is my belief!
I'm soft and furry,
And prone to hurry;
Although I am small
And you are so tall,
Still you can depend
On this bunny friend!
Make it a habit
To hug your rabbit!

Mortimer (twitching his nose and scratching his left ear): Oh, yes that was much better.  More fitting for me.  Did rabbits some justice, I must say.

Me: Thank you, I'm glad you liked it.

Mortimer: Now, the second thing I'd like to know is - Do you know any rabbit riddles? 

Me:  I do. 

Mortimer: So do I.  Listen carefully and think. What do you call a rabbit that has fleas?  Now that is a question, but it isn't one of my allotted 3 questions, you know.

Me: Okay,  I won't count that question.  Hmmm... What do you call a rabbit that has fleas? It seems it would have to be something like a "buggy rabbit".  Am I right?

Mortimer: No.  The answer is "Bugs Bunny".  But yours was pretty good.  You are clever.  You could be a rabbit - except for those ears.  Can't fix the ears.   Too bad.  But it's the whole package or nothing.

Me:  Well, that's disappointing, but I guess I'll just resign myself to being a human.  I rather like my ears trimmed short anyway.

Mortimer: No accounting for taste. Let's continue.  My third question is this:  I've heard that many poems rhyme, but sometimes they don't.  Which type do you prefer and why?

Me: I would have to say that I prefer ones that rhyme, as you can see from the ones I wrote earlier, though I have written non-rhyming poetry, too.  I like the sound of words that rhyme, I really like the rhythm as they are read and I like the challenge of trying to make the hard work of rhyming sound natural and easy.

Mortimer:  I'm fond of rhyming poetry also.  I wrote a poem, you know.

Me: Really?  Can you recite it?

Mortimer:  (clears throat)
I am a hare, so I am not square. 
I am a bunny, so I don't eat honey.  
I am a rabbit, so I eat carrots.  
That last part is not quite the way I want it yet.  I've some revising to do.
Now, technically this is a fourth question...or fifth really if you were counting, but who's counting?  Oh, dear, that would make 6.  Nevermind.  I asked Diane this question when I was down in New Hampshire -  Which way to the highway? 
Me:  You are in Maine, so there aren't many highways.  Remember, you are also on an island, so you'll have to go over a few bridges to get to the mainland.  Then you will either head north to Canada, or go south or west to New Hampshire.  East wouldn't be a good choice; that takes you to the Atlantic Ocean. It's really close, but I don't think you'll want to swim anywhere, being a rabbit and all.  I think your best plan is to take out your GPS and get a reading from here to where you want to go.

Mortimer:  Oh, you must mean my RBS - my Rabbit Burrowing System.  I know it's somewhere here in my pocket...ah, yes, here it is. Hmmm... It looks like the nearest rabbit hole that leads to Marileta Robinson's place - the next Children's Poetry Lover - is just over there under that hemlock! Well, must be off to the next hop, skip or jump! Lovely meeting you!  Next time we must have lobster and a whoopie pie!

Me:  Good-bye!  It was nice...

And he was gone.  Scoot.  Down the hole.  Just like that.  I would have liked more time with Mortimer, but a minute is like an hour to a fast moving rabbit...

He's on his way to Marileta's place now... a children’s writer and former editor with Highlights for Children and High Five, with poems and stories in Highlights, High Five, and Hello.   Wow, he should have quite a time visiting her!  I'm going to check in next week and see what will be going on. 

Thursday, October 17, 2013

15 Words a Bunch of Times Makes a Longer Poem

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

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

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

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

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

  © Donna JT Smith

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

And tomorrow - a lighter note!  A Mortimer Minute!   Come back for Mortimer's visit to Maine!

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Wednesday: Wanted...Now Found!

This has nothing to do with anything...doesn't it just look SO good, though?  It was.

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

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

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

Friday, October 11, 2013


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

Days of Roses

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

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

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

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

She almost sees the faces
She almost hears their voices
If she had time to give again
Would she make different choices?

The faded roses tell her "no,
Life was what it should be";
She loved and it returned to her
Much more abundantly.

Paint and time may dim the rose
But her eye still discerns
The days of love and life gone by
And happiness returns.

© Donna JT Smith, 2013

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Days of Roses

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

Days of Roses

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

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

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

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

She almost sees the faces
She almost hears their voices
If she had time to give again
Would she make different choices?

The faded roses tell her "no"
Life was what it should be
She loved and it returned to her
Much more abundantly

Paint and time may dim the rose
But her eye still discerns
The days of love and life gone by
And happiness returns.

Donna JT Smith

Now head on over to the Slice of Life offerings at Two Writing Teachers!

Friday, October 4, 2013

It Isn't Summer

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

Last of the Colors

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

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

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

Where mittens and hats
Are the only displays
Of color and warmth
Till return of spring's days.

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

No Surgery Today

Sorry to bore you with another post about sight...but I'm still amazed and delighted.  You know my husband and I have all new clothes now, what with this color in my life again.  They aren't actually new clothes, but they have been given a new lease on life with the added benefit of seeing them in color!  I just love the blues and reds in his "new" old tie! (see pictures below, especially if you don't want to read more about eyesight drivel)

I've been looking forward to having my second cataract removed today.  Well, I woke up yesterday with a sore throat.  I let it be, using the technique of ignoring, but in the back of my mind I worried that it was a cold coming on. I still held out hope that it was just the eye drops irritating my sinuses and back of my throat.  It got a bit better as the day went on, but last night it was sore again.  This morning I awoke with a headache and chest congestion and cough...

So much for my second cataract being chipped away and replaced today.  Guess I'll have to go with disparate vision for a bit longer.

I'm still not totally convinced that it isn't the medicine that I have to put in my eye two days before the surgery.  The nurse says it isn't.  I guess we'll see if it happens again when we try for the second date.

In a way, it's nice to delay the second one for a bit longer.  I get to continue to appreciate and be fascinated by the difference in vision quality.  I'm afraid in some ways that I will forget how bad my vision was after a while and take it for granted again.

The timing for my cold was impeccable.  Such precise timing.  There must have been a reason.  And for that I am glad.  I want to have the second cataract done and my vision restored to all its former glory, but for some reason it has been delayed.  It will most likely never be my privilege to know the reason.  But I am thankful, and know that soon it will be time.

But for now I want to continue to appreciate the before and after difference, and later I'll have lots of time to enjoy the forever difference.

Funny story - another person and I were having a discussion in church some time ago about the stained glass windows and our favorite parts.  She mentioned an oval with grapes in it as her favorite.  I asked her where that was.  She pointed it out.  I could not see grape shapes anywhere in that window.
Last Sunday morning, I looked with my right eye only at the stained glass windows with the sun streaming through and exclaimed over their beautiful blues and reds.
"Can you see the grapes now?" she asked.
And I looked where she was pointing.  Yes, I could!  I could see the vibrant purple against the deep red, using my good eye.

My left eye (with a cataract I hadn't been aware of before my surgery due to the fact that my right eye was sooooo much worse) still can not see it.  Both colors, the red and purple, are a muddied brown-red.

I wonder how long I've been colorblind and haven't realize it.  I wonder what other wonders there are out there.
I PROMISE my next post will NOT be about my eyes!

But I couldn't resist this before and after simulation I created.  I took a picture and using my left eye with the cataract and my right eye that has been fixed, I edited the pictures to show what I was seeing before (and still see with my left eye) and after (with my right eye).

Left eye view with cataract (that I thought was wonderful vision - though it's actually a little more jumbled than this - with some double vision going on with it - and the red and blue are a little more muted than this):
Right eye view with cataract: 
You can see how I might think that my left eye was wonderful, if you just looked through my right eye with the cataract. But then the above view was replaced with this view!

My husband's "new" tie after removal of the cataract in my right eye:
I'm loving these colors!
Let's not even think about how it was for driving at night...

Time creeping
Turning pristine
To worn;
Reds are brown,
Life toned down -
Landscapes frayed,
Tattered days
And torn
Oh, for light,
Untarnished sight

N is for Nestle

Good Words Alphabetically: N is for Nestle I cannot spend lots of time on these. So some are as good as they get in 30 min and under. BTW, t...