Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Ayuh to Z Challenge - Z

I can't believe there is Zilch to go!
Zero.  Nada!
We are done!

Before l finish,  I just want to say thankfully "we are not done"!  Yesterday was a special day for us.
And so was the day before that.

On Monday, we were almost not here for the last two letters of the alphabet.  My husband and I were in a car accident on the Interstate that involved being rear-ended by a person who was distracted and driving way, way, WAY too fast.  My husband saw her coming and tried to get us out of the center lane and to the right lane to avoid being hit, but she was still too fast and hit us on the back left with her right front.  We spun around a few times in the middle of the highway, missing cement dividers and the overhead pass wall, and thankfully no semis or other cars hit us, though it was a busy highway and we covered most of it!  I remember wondering how far the car would cave in, and could I avoid the door crushing in by leaning to the center.  We did not hit anything though.  I am amazed that everyone involved walked away.  Our car is totaled, and resting peacefully.  We had to pick up baby gifts from off the highway.  Some antique dishes I had gotten my daughter at Christmas were in the back, and some of the set is broken now.  But, who cares about that "stuff" - we were able to continue on in a rental car, getting there in plenty of time to see our beautiful granddaughter born early the next morning (yesterday)!

Two miracles in two days.  
Just the two things we'd been praying for: safe travels and a healthy baby girl.

My theme: Book Titles A to Z written by Maine authors,
and a poem for that title each day for the month of April.
 The poem is not about the book, but is written with the title as inspiration!

Welcome to Z!

Z is for 
Zero, Zilch, Nada
by Wendy Ulmer

                           Zero, Zilch, Nada

Here I come!

You're not done
You forgot some!

No, I didn't!

Yes, you did!

You don't know -
you're just a kid!

Start again! this time more!
I couldn't get past the door.

654321 -
               Here I come!

Not again, that's not right!
I couldn't get out of sight.

10987654321 - Zilch!

What!  Not so fast!
They zipped right past!


Yea! You're my hero!
You counted slow!
Can you do it again?
I forgot to go!

Your chances are zilch!
       I'll do zero more -
           Nada times again!
               I'm out the door!

©Donna JT Smith, 2014

Harry needs to blow up 100 balloons for a birthday party, but counting the balloons gets confusing. What is the best way to count to 100? Young readers help figure out what Harry needs to do to solve his math problem.
Wendy Ulmer is a former music and English teacher who currently spends her time writing or running her quilt shop. She lives in Arrowsic, Maine.  She lives very close to me, and has come to our school to share her book "A Campfire for Cowboy Billy".

I almost used this book, Mama Zooms, with a Z in it, before I remembered to check on Wendy's book titles.  I purchased this book in one of the bins of books in our local grocery store a long time ago.  It's a sweet book, so I'm still sharing it!
Mama Zooms
by Jane Cowen-Fletcher

Jane Cowen-Fletcher lives in South Berwick, Maine.  She is on the South Berwick Public Library Planning Task Force.  She was in the  Peace Corps for two years.

Mama Zooms is about a mother who is confined to a wheelchair.  Her son, plays with his mom and her wheelchair, the "zooming machine", pretending that he is on a train, a spaceship, and more.

Brought to you by the letter Z!
And now there's zilch, zero, nada letters left!

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Ayuh to Z Challenge - Y

My theme: Book Titles A to Z written by Maine authors,
and a poem for that title each day for the month of April.
The poem is not about the book, but is written with the title as inspiration! 

Welcome to Y!

Y is for

Yellow Dog
by Gary Lawless
Yellow Dog

floppy eared puppies
popping hopping
stopping on their chins
stepping on and over
no telling which one wins
like warm buttered popcorn
they spill
down the hill
until they reach the
bottom where
I am.
They wrestle and wriggle
around me
I think no puppy sees
that I am waiting quietly
on my knees
until one little puppy
comes to me
and she begins to pounce
and bounce
and say to me that I should
pick her
for she’s picked me -
and that is how yellow dog
and I came to be
©Donna JT Smith, 2014

"Yellow Dog" seems to be a "brochure*", as it is listed as such for sale privately.  So I don't know if it qualifies as a book or not.  Ok.  All the votes are in.  It qualifies.  I have not read it, and I cannot find a review or synopsis of it anywhere, though.

*I received an email from Gary explaining that "Yellow Dog" was a chapbook of poems written quite a while ago.  "Yellow Dog" was a poem about the oldest dog in their sled team, who had passed away.  Thanks, Gary!

Gary Lawless is a poet, book editor, and publisher, born in Belfast, Maine. He is co-owner of the Gulf of Maine Bookstore in downtown Brunswick.
Gary Lawless website
"Yellow Dog" on Amazon
Yes, this post was brought to you by the letter Y!

Next is Z!
Z ending letter...

Monday, April 28, 2014

Ayuh to Z Challenge - X

My theme: Book Titles A to Z written by Maine authors,
and a poem for that title each day for the month of April.  The poem is not about the book, but is written with the title as inspiration! 
There was no book that began with an X or EX, so I went with a word that ended in X.

Here is my double Haiku for foX .

Welcome to X!

 X is for
by Kate Banks
fiery-tailed red fox
sunset prowler, night hunter -
beware, slight tailed mouse
wary, bright-eyed mouse
field dweller, harvest nibbler
red fox waits for you
©Donna JT Smith

Katherine Anne (Kate) Banks was born in and grew up in Maine.  She graduate from Brewer High School.
Kate Banks' website

In Fox, a little fox, guided by his parents, learns to hunt, bury his food, cover his trail and run fast, until he is ready at last to go out on his own.
More about "Fox"
Macmillan's review of Fox and some illustrations

Brought to you by the letter X!
Y is next.  Yes, I found a Y.  Yes begins with Y.  So does Yellow.
And then there's You.
See You tomorrow...or Yellow or Yes.

Sunday, April 27, 2014

Little Girl Across the Street

Precious girl, you are almost here,
I know just how you'll cry;
I already see your curled up fists
And feel the mother's tie.

Treasured girl, you've already caught
Our hearts, our minds, our souls;
I want to wrap you, keep you safe
From rocky life's hard shoals.

I know you'll press to be on your own
With ways you'll want to try,
And you will give us fits and starts
That make us want to cry.

First take the hand that's given you
And let's both cross the street;
I know the little girl you'll be
And I think you two should meet.

She's making castles in the sand,
Eating broccoli ,
Swirling angels in the snow,
Sitting on my knee.

She's holding bugs and reading books,
Standing in the rain,
Collecting shells and bits of glass,
Waving to a train.

She's riding on a grown up bike,
Listening to owls,
Rolling out some cookie dough,
Making thinking scowls.

This little girl is not alone
To do all the hard stuff,
Someone’s with her every day
To help when things get rough.

Even though she'll be so strong
And she will do it all,
We will stand beside her
To soften any fall.

We can't do it for her
And she won’t want us to
But we will help her through it
Our hearts are stuck like glue.

She'll be a friend, and she'll be kind
And we will love her so
She will know much of this world
Before we let her go.

Come see who's out here waiting,
Excited at last to meet
The new one soon to be that girl
Just across the street.

©Donna JT Smith, 2014

Saturday, April 26, 2014

Ayuh to Z Challenge - W

My theme: Book Titles A to Z written by Maine authors,
and a poem for that title each day for the month of April.
The poem is not about the book, but is written with the title as inspiration!

Welcome to W!

 W is for 
The Weather Sky
by Bruce McMillan
 The Weather Sky

I look above
and my eyes are greeted with blue
clouds skim the sky
clouds with stories to tell
like where they have been
how cold they are
how old they are
how high and
how fast they are moving
where they are going
if a storm is coming
whether there will be thunder and lightning
whether the weather will be snow
or will it blow in rain
or rattle down sleet
will the day be humid, hazy and lazy
or will it be a day to dry the clothes
the weather sky
will tell you
look it in the eye
watch and learn
it has a lot to say
if you will use discerning eyes
if you will listen to what you see
the sky will tell you
what the
will be
but not whether
you will like it
for the weather sky
just is
and does not
discern you

©Donna JT Smith

Bruce McMillan lives in Shapleigh, Maine.  Years ago I went to a workshop given by him.
Bruce McMillan information at Maine Writers' List
The Wicked Big Toddlah
by Kevin Hawkes
Kevin Hawkes is a writer and illustrator from Maine.  He illustrated The Pig Parade, which I wrote a poem for the letter P, and has written some Wicked Big Toddlah books.
"The Wicked Big Toddlah" tells, and shows, how difficult it can be to raise a toddler - especially a wicked big one.  It's a really cute story about toddler life in a giant size!
Book link on Amazon
Kevin Hawkes' Website
Whistling with Olives: 54+ Things to do at Dinner Besides Eating by Robin Hanson
Robin Hanson lives on her sheep farm West Bath, Maine.  She also writes books about knitting.

 Brought to you by the letter W!

- or "wubble you", as I used to call it with my first graders, so they'd remember it's sound was /w/ and not /d/.  It's the only letter that goes by a name that says what it looks like instead of giving a clue to its sound.  Okay, and sometimes I called it a "double vĂ©" because it is a double v, not a double u.

But now for our X-it............stage right.

Friday, April 25, 2014

Ayuh to Z Challenge - V

My theme: Book Titles A to Z written by Maine authors,
and a poem for that title each day for the month of April.
The poem is not about the book, but is written with the title as inspiration! 
Welcome to V!

 V is for 
the giVer riVer

To help make up for the lack of V titles, in addition to using two titles in one poem, I will use a V poetry form: the Villanelle - a nineteen-line poem with a rhyming scheme of: aba aba aba aba aba abaa.

 The first and the third lines in the first stanza are repeated in alternating order throughout the poem, and both are in the last two lines of the couplet at the end.
by Debby Atwell
The Giver
by Lois Lowry

The giVer riVer

I’d like to be a river,
winding round the bend -
a rolling life giver

whose cold spray sends a shiver
as over rocks I wend.
I’d like to be a river

I’d start out as a sliver -
a wide bay at ocean end.
a rolling life giver

who’s able to deliver
whatever men would send.
I’d like to be a river

to set a bear aquiver
sniffing fishes he would rend
a rolling life giver

quenching thirst before a wither
the world’s best friend
I’d like to be a river
a rolling life giver

©Donna JT Smith, 2014
Debby Atwell lives in Rockland, Maine.
"River" tells how a clean river became dirty and polluted but with care recovered.

Lois Lowry lives part-time in Maine.
"The Giver" is about a perfect world. The Giver holds the memories of the pains and pleasures of life.
I wrote this poem first when I wasn't sure I'd find a V title (which technically I didn't do).This book began with a V, but Jill Krementz is not a Maine author.  However there is a  connection to Maine, in that the ten-year-old trumpet player, the subject of her book, is Josh Broder from Portland, Maine. 
"A Very Young Musician" shows, in photographs, Josh and how his music plays a role in his everyday life.

A Very Young Musician
by Jill Krementz

A Very Young Musician

An old tin can was a drum
His dirt clad hands would beat
Some measuring spoons on a cord
Made him stomp his feet,
Two pencils slapped together
Made such a happy sound
A paper tube against his lips
Could toot a tune, he found.
Teaspoons clapped together,
Rubber bands stretched out tight
Could be firmly rapped and strummed
To give a sound quite right.
His audience was an Army man,
Teddy bear and Lego toy,
A space cadet, a farmer,
and a bow-legged cowboy.
He played upon the rock top
Sunny or cloudy skied 
His notes sprang forth and touched my heart -
As I watched from inside.
Though he was just a young one
Such music in his soul
Every heartbeat was a note
And every note pure gold.
©Donna JT Smith, 2014

Brought to you by the letter V!


Wonder where the Wubbleyou went?

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Ayuh to Z Challenge - U

 My theme: Book Titles A to Z written by Maine authors,
and a poem for that title each day for the month of April.
The poem is not about the book, but is written with the title as inspiration!
Scoot to the bottom if you are here for Poetry Jam!  You'll find the Desert there!
 Welcome to U!
U is for:
Up the Mountain
written and illustrated by Charlotte Agell
Up the Mountain
Haystack Mountain, Castle Hill, Maine, taken by me
Up the Mountain

I set out to go up the mountain
it wasn’t very high
mountains in Maine do not grow much
before they touch the sky
the path was easy to follow
though roots and rocks were rife
much like the path we follow
as we wander throughout life
squirrels ahead took refuge
in trees as I passed by
chipmunks scampered into holes
both creatures “stranger shy”
I wondered how it seemed to birds
to be soaring free and high
and suddenly in their endless view
see a point of land in sky
an island peak to stop a while
if they were needing rest
like the boulder kindly offered me
as the mountain’s honored guest
sunlight filtered through tree limbs
to needles that still crinkled
and ledges where the rain and dew
lay in secret pools and twinkled
zigzagging up the steep incline
I kept pushing on, ascending
as shadows thinning overhead
foretold the climb was ending
domain of wind and hawk
atop the mountain keep
where even pine trees had no hold
on ledges hard and steep
upon the crest of mountain
I surveyed the land around
past the roads I’d traveled
above any human sound
trees and hills crossed my view
I touched the sky and cloud
eye level with the clear horizon
I felt the quiet so loud 
there's beauty always up there
and the beauty is what's below
you have to climb away from it
so you can see the show
up the mountain you will find
this view of life is rare
things below impose up close
hiding what all mountains share
when I traveled up the mountain
I learned there's more to see
a happily ever after
up the mountain there for me

©Donna JT Smith, 2014

Up the Mountain is a young child's book about four friends that go up a mountain on a not so sunny day, but spend the day together on their trek, which ends up in a nice day.

Charlotte Agell's website

Uncle Tom's Cabin
by Harriet Beecher Stowe
(not a young child's book, but I couldn't leave her out)

Harriet Beecher Stowe lived in Brunswick, Maine, when she wrote Uncle Tom's Cabin.  Her husband was teaching at Bowdoin College there from 1851-1853.
Uncle Tom's Cabin Available through Amazon here.
Download and listen to Uncle Tom's Cabin at this site - LibriVox.  It is in the public domain now.
Online text of Uncle Tom's Cabin here.
or a variety of ways here, Kindle included.

This post was brought to you by the letter U!


If V would please step forward...>>>>Clear the way, please>>>>

Poetry Jammers...I had a couple more minutes to concoct this:

Deliriously Delicious Diamante

arid, camel-filled
scorching, evaporating, shifting
erosion, dunes, indulgence, confection
savoring, craving, indulging
moist, caramel-filled

©Donna JT Smith, 2014

AND inspired by Wendy Burke's line: "it was hard to tell the deserts from the seas"

From the Desert to the Sea

arid, rocky
scorching, evaporating, shifting
erosion, dunes, sand, waves, erosion
chilling, pounding, churning
misty, deep

©Donna JT Smith, 2014

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Ayuh to Z Challenge - T

My theme: Book Titles A to Z written by Maine authors,
and a poem for that title each day for the month of April.
The poem is not about the book, but is written with the title as inspiration! 

Welcome to T!

T is for:
Touch Blue
by Cynthia Lord
Touch Blue

"I will touch blue,"
She says, and grasps her crayon
to furiously color the sky
leaving white spaces as clouds.

"I will touch blue,"
She declares, sweeping her brush
across the page to paint the waves
crashing against the rocks.

"I will touch blue!"
She shouts, picking berries
and tossing them into her pail, 
bending low by the stone wall.

"Touching blue,"
She whispers, closing her eyes,
while indigo berries,
cerulean seas,
and cobalt skies
drift and sift through
her dreams; 
and she reaches
to gather

©Donna JT Smith, 2014

I just added this one below at 9 am.  I just keep revising the poem.  I now have put this one up, too.  What do you think?  Maybe I should keep working on it again some day later?
Touch Blue 
"I will color a blue sky,"
She says, grasping her crayon
spreading the blue
leaving white clouds.

"I will paint blue waves,"
She declares, sweeping her brush
across the page
to crash against rocks.

"I will eat blueberries!"
She shouts, kneeling at the stone wall
filling her bucket to the brim
for baking a pie.

“I will listen to the blue jays,”
She crows, calling to them
for the sheer pleasure
of their company.

"I will touch blue,"
She whispers, closing her eyes,
while royal blue jays,
indigo berries,
cerulean seas,
and cobalt skies
drift and sift through
her dreams;
and she gathers the
©Donna JT Smith 

I have used Cynthia Lord's book "Rules" for my R post on Monday.  Check out the links below for lots of great information about this author and her books.
The state of Maine plans to shut down her island's schoolhouse. The islanders plan to increase the numbers of students by having several families take in foster children.  Tess' family is taking in a 13 year old boy.

Touch Blue has received:
  • 2011 Lupine Award, Maine Library Association
  • 2011 Maine Literary Award, Maine Writers and Publishers Alliance
  • 2010 Best Books For Children, Christian Science Monitor
  • Best Children's Books of the Year (2011), Bank Street College (starred for outstanding merit)
  • Best Children's Books of 2010, Book Page
  • Selected by Independent Booksellers as a Top Ten book on the Autumn 2010 Kids' Indie Next List
  • Selected as a Fall 2010 Top Ten children's book by the New England Children's Booksellers Advisory Council
  • Editor's Pick, Adoptive Families magazine
Cynthia Lord Touch Blue

Cynthia Lord's website

Ten Big Farms
by Dahlov Ipcar
I featured Dahlov Ipcar my first post of the A-to-Z Challenge with her book Animal Hide and Seek, and then on the third day I had another poem for The Cat at Night.  Please check back there for more information on this wonderful Maine writer and artist, who is practically a neighbor of mine...and I should let her know I have her books featured here...what was I thinking?
This blog post was brought to you by the letter T!

Terrific!  Tom Terrific!
(You do remember Tom, don't you?)

U are next.

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Ayuh to Z Challenge - S

 My theme: Book Titles A to Z written by Maine authors,
and a poem for that title each day for the month of April.
I've focused mainly on children's books, with a few others sprinkled in.  Thus most poems are of more interest to children and the young at heart!
The poem is not about the book, but is written with the title as inspiration!

Welcome to S!

S is for 
The Sea Chest
by Toni Buzzeo
The Sea Chest

Upstairs in the attic
From my cousins I hid
They didn’t visit often,
but when they did
we’d play hide and seek
in our house in the field.
As in darkness I huddled,
the shadows concealed,
I heard their voices,
as they looked about,
but no one came;
Too scary no doubt
in the dark to look here.
I reached for the string
hand groping above
pulling down to bring
the dust-measured years
and eyes squinting tight
as wood floor and beams
appeared in the night.
There in the middle
apart from the rest
was some kind of box -
a wooden sea chest?
 It had locks of brass,
wide straps of leather,
ship painted on top,
worn from the weather
Across the front
I felt, more than saw
our name in letters
carved big, bold, and raw
deep as a heart
in the cedar wood-
What a story to tell
If only it could.
And I wondered then
how it came to be
here in the attic
and not on the sea.
©Donna JT Smith, 2014

Toni Buzzeo is a school library media specialist in Portland, Maine.  Please take just a few minutes, to read this interview that talks about the writing of the story "The Sea Chest".
The Sea Chest is the story about a little girl's sheltered life on an island, living in a lighthouse; and the sea chest, with precious contents, that gets washed ashore one stormy night.
Here's a video of the building of Toni's Writing Cottage.  My husband and I had been talking about a Writing Cottage for me!  I'm going to show him this - just in case I need more ammunition for the need.  But I don't think I need to.  We already have a plan for it.  I'm excited.  My spot here at the kitchen table is not good when he is home.  He needs the kitchen for eating and taking breaks... often in the middle of one of my thoughts.  Wouldn't it be great to have a Writing Cottage? 


Sea Smoke
by Miriam Nesset
Sea Smoke

sea smoke haloed firs
misty seascape hovering
cloaking rocky shores
©Donna JT Smith, 2014

Miriam Nesset lives in Maine. She is originally from Wisconsin.  In 2009, she moved to Maine to continue her writing.  She has been writing since the age of eighteen, having published one of her Haiku poems, and self-publishing three books of Haiku poetry.  She has also written Georgie Blake and the Bushie Sisters, Murder in Between, Kat the Cat and Sea Smoke.

Sea Smoke is an historical novel taking place in the 1730's New England Woodland Rebellion.  It is a mystical love story and mystery about being shipwrecked on a remote, sea smoke surrounded island off the coast of Maine.

Brought to you by the letter S!


You go, S!
No, literally,
you go...time for T!

Monday, April 21, 2014

Ayuh to Z Challenge - R

My theme: Book Titles A to Z written by Maine authors,
and a poem for that title each day for the month of April.
The poem is not about the book, but is written with the title as inspiration! 
Welcome to R!

R is for:
by Cynthia Lord

Don’t wipe your feet;
It’s not a big deal,
When you are eating
Let out a big squeal!

Stomp when you’re angry!
Hiss when you’re mad!
Stare when you’re hungry!
Groan when you’re bad!

Don’t say your sorry
For jumping on things;
If you couldn't jump
I think you’d have wings.

Kersplash in the water!

Climb a tall tree!
Wallow in mud!

Sting someone’s knee!

Dig up the garden -
Go right for the roots!
Chomp on the newest,
Most tasty-est boots!

Scratch on the corners,
Put hairs all around,
Put paws in the fishtank -
Oh, look, the fish drowned!

This isn’t about
How you’d act at a zoo,
This is supposed to be
Rules made for you..."

Don’t pick the flowers!
Don’t jump on the bed!
Don’t burp at the table!
Don’t scratch your head!

Don’t talk when you chew,
Nor chew when you talk;
Don’t run in the house,
Just keep to a walk.

Don’t hit your brother!
Don’t write on the wall!
Don’t slouch and don’t grouch!
Don’t climb or you’ll fall!

Don’t ask your mom
 If you’ve just asked your dad;
And don’t scream and yell
When you’re feeling bad.

Put on your seatbelt,
Put on your shoes,
Play the game right -
Don’t pout when you lose!

Be nice to your friend.
Sit in your seat.
Hold your hands still.
Don’t wiggle your feet.

It seemed to be easier
To live in the zoo
There weren’t so many things
That you couldn’t do!

Maybe you’d rather
Just be a small mouse
And go where you want to
All over this house.

But watch out for cheese;
It could be a trap!
I forgot about that rule -
Stay away from the..."

©Donna JT Smith, 2014

Rosebud & Red Flannel
by Ethel Pochocki
illustrated by Mary Beth Owen
I tried to try a Rondelet for "Rosebud & Red Flannel, but I forgot about the rhyming scheme (that's why it is down here at the bottom now.  My "Rules" poem I came up with to replace this one.)  I played with it some more and just made it worse, so here's what a Rondelet is -  a French poetry form with a septet (7 lines) with two rhymes and one refrain: AbAabbA. The capital letters are the refrains, or repeats. The refrain is written in "tetra-syllabic or dimeter" and the other lines are twice as long - "octasyllabic or tetrameter".  Now, to be honest, I don't have a clue what anything between those two quotes means.  I know what "Tetris" is and "octopus" and "diameter"...  I'm going to go do some research and see what I can understand.  I vaguely remember not being able to understand it in high school.
I do understand rhyming pattern and number of syllables though, so there's no excuse there.
Here goes, the right and the wrong of a Rondelet today (I am posting it as I wrote it, without the rhyming pattern...I won't show you the garbage that spewed forth in my attempts to make it all come out right!)  It's not bad if you don't call it a Rondelet...maybe I could call it a wRongdelet:

Rosebud & Red Flannel
Cozy and warm!
Red flannel gown billowed around -
Cozy and warm!
A rosebud buttoned at my neck
and puffy sleeves to fingertips,
My sleep will be so heavenly,
Cozy and warm!

©Donna JT Smith


Ethel Pochocki has written many books for children, including The Attic Mice, Rosebud and Red Flannel, and Maine Marmalade. She lived in Brooks, Maine.  The illustrator, Mary Beth Owens, is from Walpole, Maine.

In this book, a nightgown, Rosebud, and a pair of long johns, Red Flannel, are blown off the clothesline in a snowstorm.
They would usually hang side by side on the clothesline.  Red Flannel loved Rosebud, but Rosebud was a little too refined to give Red Flannel the time of day.
When a snowstorm comes up, Rosebud and red Flannel are blown away and to on an adventure together.  This book has beautiful watercolor illustrations, and was a Lupine Award winner.
Amazon link to book
When I was doing another search for books, I discovered (remembered really) that a teacher at my high school was also a published writer, as was his wife.

One of the books he wrote, Reasons and Raisins, a children's book, was published in 1976.
How could I leave it out of a Maine authors list?  Couldn't.  So here it is.

R is also for:
Reasons and Raisins
by Richard Aldridge

Richard Aldridge lived in Sebasco Estates, Maine. He was a 1952 graduate of Amherst College, and published his first poems in New Poems by American Poets in1953.
He was granted a Fullbright Scholarship at Worcester College, Oxford. He worked for the publisher Doubleday and Company, and later moved to Maine.
In 1958, he married Josephine Haskell, having met her at camp in the Sebasco Estates area, where they then resided.  He taught in Bath at Morse High School and at Hyde School, retiring in 1985 to devote his time to writing poetry.  He died in 1994.
I, unfortunately was a teenager in high school when I knew him, so was pretty much unaware (as is the custom of most teens) of the resource and knowledge available at my fingertips.
My poem is a bit "If You Give a Mouse a Cookie"-ish and unrhymy.

Reasons and Raisins
"If You Give a Reason for a Raisin, He'll be Raisin' Questions to Get a Reason"

"Why are there grapes?"
"Because we need raisins."
"Why are there raisins?"
"Because we need cookies."
"Why are there cookies?"
"Because we have milk."
"Why is there milk?"
"Because there are cows."
"Why are there cows?"
"Because of the hay."
"Why is there hay?" 
"Because there are farms."
"Why are there farms?"
"Because we need grapes."
"Why do we need grapes?"

"I already told you, 
The reason is
Don't be raisin' any more questions; 
I'm plum out of reasons." 

Why do we have plums?"

©Donna JT Smith, 2014
This post was brought to you by the letter R!

Ridiculously Remarkable and Rambling!

Ssssso.... what'sssssssss next?

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Easter Sunday - R for Resurrection

It's Easter Sunday - a scheduled post for this blessed, glorious day!


once dead now risen
death stripped powerless to hold
cleansed and ransomed souls

©Donna JT Smith, 2014

See you back at the R(anch) tomorrow!

Saturday, April 19, 2014

Ayuh to Z Challenge - Q

My theme: Book Titles A to Z written by Maine authors,
and a poem for that title each day for the month of April.
The poem is not about the book, but is written with the title as inspiration! 

Welcome to Q!

Q is for
The Quilting Bee
by Gail Gibbons
I have two poems for this title!  I wrote this one first, but then I thought I'd like to have one with a classic form.  So I wrote a Quatern for the second one, which I will explain below.  Which do you prefer?  I also posted some pictures of some quilt blocks I sewed by hand (needle and thread, no machine) back 30 years ago!  I found them when I was looking for some photos (which I never found).

The Quilting Bee

Walk and bring
all your squares
Talk and sing
all your cares
Stitches fine
in and out
Squares of nine
all about
Layered quilt
out and in
Layered life
stitched within
Stitch, gossip
tiny tales
Gossip, stitch
tiny trails
Up and down
in and out
Down and up
round about
Quilts for bride
Quilts for babe
Gifts of love
from the heart
Love gifting
home to start
Time for spring
Quilting bee
Stitched by hand

©Donna JT Smith, 2014

As promised above, here is what a Quatern is: 
A Quatern is a French form of poetry.  It has sixteen lines of four quatrains. Its refrain is the first line of stanza one, the second line of stanza two, the third line of stanza three, and fourth line of stanza four. 
 There are eight syllables in each line.

The Quilting Bee

life snippets hand-sewn in a quilt

women’s hands with needle and thread

sew in gossip, advice, and love

Nine Patch and Pine Tree for a bed

Hole in the Barn Door, Hens and Chicks

life snippets hand-sewn in a quilt
layers of cloth, layers of life

tales of laughter and of milk spilt

time gone by and days yet to be
Hourglass and Kaleidoscope

life snippets hand-sewn in a quilt

of love, joy, happiness and hope

the stitches, as love, remain strong

though colors and fabric may wilt

the stories remain in the squares

life snippets hand-sewn in a quilt

©Donna JT Smith, 2014

So which poem do you prefer (that's assuming that you like one of them)?

I came this close [-!-] (see the two dashes are very close to that ! - Hey, now it looks like my cat's face!) to writing a silly poem about a Bee that quilts...and maybe I will, as it is still buzzing around in my head.  I'm looking back on what I just wrote there and wondering if I could be a little ADD?

The Quilting Bee by Gail Gibbons was written in 2003. Gail Gibbons writes and illustrates children's non-fiction books. Although she also lives in Vermont, since 1986 she has spent several months of the year on Matinicus Island in Maine.
She received the Katahdin Award 2009, a lifetime achievement award presented by the Maine Library Association in recognition of an outstanding body of work.
The Quilting Bee is, as all Gail Gibbons books are, non-fiction.  It explains what a quilting bee is and how a quilt is made in very easy to understand language.
More information about Gail Gibbons
Holiday House information about Gail Gibbons
The Quiet Noisy Book
by Margaret Wise Brown
I found this book first and was going to try a poem with it, but then the quilts won out when I found them.  And the one above won of the three quilt books I found.

The Memory Quilt was written in 1988 and is about an orphan boy who has a difficult time adjusting to life with his grandparents on a Maine island.
Elizabeth McKey Hulbert  is a children's author and illustrator who lives on Mt Desert Island.

More quilt books by Maine authors:
Under the Quilt of Night by Deborah Hopkinson
The Queen's Twin (1899) by Sarah Orne Jewett -  author of "The Country of the Pointed Firs"
Here are my quilt blocks arranged three ways - the bottom two would be two parts to the same quilt.  I have 12 full blocks and 7 partial.  I should put them together, shouldn't I?  But which pattern?  I'm kind of drawn to the pinwheel look of the bottom two...maybe.

This post was quite rightly brought to you by the letter Q!


R U E 4 R?

Friday, April 18, 2014

Ayuh to Z Challenge - P

My theme: Book Titles A to Z written by Maine authors,
and a poem for that title each day for the month of April.
The poem is not about the book, but is written with the title as inspiration!
I wrote two separate poems for P - preposterous!

It is also Poetry Friday ----which is also a P word! Head on over to Life on the Deckle Edge where Robyn Hood Black is hosting some good poetry today.

Welcome to P!
 P is for 
Panda Whispers 
by Mary Beth Owens
Panda Whispers

If a panda whispers, listen;
He's telling you what he knows,
Like how far it is from Spain to Maine,
Or how an orange grows. 

No, pandas do not often talk,
Pay attention, though they're lispers;
They're saying something vital
When their voice creeps low to whispers.

2 times 2 is 4, you know,
and c-a-t spells cat;
Augusta is Maine's capital.
Did you know all of that?

Well, there you go, you've learned a lot!
Now, off you go to bed -
Panda has much more to teach;
You'll need a rested head.

©Donna JT Smith, 2014

Mary Beth Owens wrote and illustrated Panda Whispers.   She also wrote A Caribou Alphabet, which was selected by Parenting magazine as one of the ten best picture books of 1991.  In 1995 she was awarded the Lupine Award and the Christopher Award for her illustrations in Prize in the Snow
Mary Beth Owens lives in Walpole, Maine.

Panda Whispers tells what different animal parents might whisper to their offspring as they go to sleep and dream.
A Pig Parade
by Michael Ian Black
Illustrated by Kevin Hawkes
The Pig Parade

March out the band!
Start up the tunes!
Roll out the floats!
Get the balloons!
We’ll need some popcorn,
And ice cream to sell,
Some flags to fly,
Some batons as well;
For the Biggest Parade
You ever have seen...
What? A Pig Parade?
What can you mean?

Oh.  Okay.

March out the hogs
On little pig’s feet,
Get those piglets to wiggle!
Though they aren’t very neat.
Line them up in the mud
Before they have doubts;
Wash the mud off their ears
And corn off their snouts!
Give them horns to blow on
And drums made of pails;
Some trash lids for cymbals -
Tie balloons to their tails!
How pink and shiny this
Hoard of hogs will be;
The Piggest Parade 
In porker history!

©Donna JT Smith, 2014
The author Michael Ian Black is actually from Connecticut, but the illustrator, Kevin Hawkes is from Maine.  So I am technically cheating on this one, but I don't care.  I like the book and the illustrations. 

In A Pig Parade, the reasons for not having pigs in a parade are listed.  The illustrations are great, with pigs being pigs - real reasons for not having a pig parade.  Why do you think a pig would make a bad majorette?

The Pig Parade on Amazon
Strategy Instructions for using this book
Kevin Hawkes bio on Candlewick Press
Kevin Hawkes' web site

This post was brought to you today by the letter P!

Q comes with U!

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Ayuh to Z Challenge - O

My theme: Book Titles A to Z written by Maine authors,
and a poem for that title each day for the month of April.  The poem is not about the book, but is written with the title as inspiration! 
Again today, I used both books in the poem.  They just seemed to go together.  They would be the start of a good spine poem!

Welcome to O!
O is for: 
Only Cows Allowed
by Lynn Plourde

On the Hill
by Lisa Jahn-Clough

Only Cows Allowed On the Hill

Only cows allowed on the hill
To graze on the nimblewill;
No quilled porucpine,
Nor piggish big swine
And no fowl with a beak or a bill.

Only cows can be way up there;
Not with horses nor moose will they share;
"Go away, you old cat!"
"Skeedaddle, muskrat!"
This is a strictly "Cows Only" affair.

If you're plucky and you are a cow -
A bovine with the climbing know-how,
Then you are in luck;
All others are stuck
At the foot of the hill, not the brow.

If perhaps you are named Jack or Jill -
Grab your pails and head up that hill;
There's milk you can get
And it's tasty, I'll bet -
Though you still might be taking that spill!

©Donna JT Smith, 2014

*nimblewill - a slender, branching American grass animals may graze on in the central United States.

On the Hill is about Franzi and Camille who live on opposite sides of the same hill.  They are happy where they live, but they miss human company.  They both set off to go around the hill to see if they can find companionship.  They each find the other one's empty house, but eventually find each other.
Kirkus Reviews
Lisa Jahn-Clough is a children's picture book author and illustrator.  She lived on a farm in Rhode Island until the age of 10, but summered on Monhegan Island, Maine. Her family moved to coastal Maine when she was 10.  She grew up in Brunswick, has lived in the Boston area, and now lives in Portland, Maine.
She was the director of Children's Writing Certificate Program at Emerson College in Boston, and taught there for several years.  She is also is a member of the faculty in MFA Writing for Children and Young Adults at Hamline University. She leads workshops for children on book-making and for adults on writing, illustrating and publishing children's books.
Lisa Jahn-Clough's website.

Only Cows Allowed The cows decide that no one is allowed in the barn except them.  The hens formulate a plan to get every animal back into the barn where they belong.
Lynn Plourde is a native of Dexter, Maine, and now lives in Winthrop, Maine.  More about Lynn Plourde here.
Lynn's book, A Mountain of Mittens, was featured for the letter M, also.

Brought to you by the letter O!


P, where could you be?

Z is for Zoetic

Good Words Alphabetically: Z is for Zoetic Ah, z end of z month... I'm going to miss writing a poem and drawing every day.  Perhaps I wi...