Friday, July 18, 2014

Expect the Unexpected

Today I'm Jammin' at Poetry Jam and participating in Poetry Friday at The Opposite of Indifference with Tabatha Yeatts...try out both spots for some great poetry today!  There's something for everyone!
At Poetry Jam, the challenge is to write about something unexpected "Life is full of surprises, good or bad, things we never thought would occur. So this week I'd like you to write a poem about unexpected."
And so I did.  I think it is the thing we hear about, but don't get to experience until we have a child.

You Should Expect the Unexpected

How can you love
someone with your whole heart
and then find that there was
a reserve -
a hidden place in the heart perhaps
that held more
more love
than you knew you possessed
and that your heart
could be so effortlessly opened
by someone so small,
so fragile,
and helpless?
Still when she arrived
in that tiny wrinkly package
she opened your heart,
and love tumbled out
surrounding her
and cradling her
and you wanted
to forever keep her from pain,
and tears.
This flood of love
so unexpected
and so sudden,
was there all along
but you had no inkling.
Yet you should have
expected it.
It happened before -
on the night your
son was born -
Why should you be surprised
this morning
at your daughter’s birth?

©2014, Donna JT Smith

Special note:
Thank you, Buffy, for the tappy Sapsucker Rap poem!  What a wonderful rhythm and rhyme this had.  We live in a log home, and a couple of weeks ago we had a pair of Downy Woodpeckers inspecting our eaves, rapping and tapping.  They evidently didn't get what they thought should be there, as the next day they were gone!
Mary Lee, what a unique way to send a poem.  I keep the poem magnet on my refrigerator and can enjoy the image of thunderheads and the wish for monarchs!  We've had plenty of thunderheads lately and they are so beautiful - in an ominous way!
Tomorrow I'm sending out my fourth the end of summer I will post all the Blog-gems on a Poetry Friday.  But for now, here's what happens to create a Blog-gem:

I put your URL into Tagxedo and came up with the image.  Then I used the words found in the Tagxedo to construct the poem, which I call a Blog-gem.
I’ve found that in making the Tagxedo, I have to take out names and allow apostrophes.  I also increase the number of words to 300 and allow common words, so I have a good assortment of words from which to choose.
When I finish the Tagxedo image, I type out the words, sort them by parts of speech, print them, cut them out and start playing with them.  After a bit I leave them alone to continue sorting themselves on their own (or that’s what it seems) until they make themselves into a poem. 

Ah, yes, if you could only read the words, you might know who was getting this next Blog-Gem!
Each time I’ve thought, “Man, this is too hard.  I can’t do this.  What was I thinking?”  And then I’ve left them on their own, sitting on the kitchen table taking up all the space for lunch, while I go and eat lunch by my computer.   
Then the "unexpected" begins to happen.  A few words will call out to me and say things like, “Hey, look what do you think of this!”  and “Read us!  We sound good together.”  And then I will go over and slide a few more around until they all just start marching to their spots. 
Like a good hostess, I sometimes have to make different seating arrangements when I find that some other word has more in common than the one I originally intended for the spot. 
The words are very patient with me as I make mistakes and have to slide them into a new spot. They have faith that I will get them where they need to be. 
And the leftover words?  For some reason they have not gotten all pouty and huffy.  They know that their day will come in some other poem on another occasion.  I have not forgotten them.  At some time I will just use them in a thought or in the course of a day speaking to someone.  And they are fine with that.
Lucky for me, the blog words have all been so forgiving and unselfish and can take the revisions and editing that I deal out to them. 
What a wonderful groups of words!  So far every word I’ve worked with has shown true good sportsmanship, strength and character. 
It is truly an honor to work with these words.  They are champs!  And they all, whether used in the final copy poem or not, help to create each Blog-gem!

Today I finished creating my fourth Blog-gem.  I will miss working with these diverse word groups as the summer comes to a close.  I may just have to pick up some Blog-gem work on the sly...a little poetic moonlighting...

A little side note for today... I stayed up all night.  Why?  I don't know.  I just didn't get tired.  I wrote a bit, cleaned a bit and watched the sun come up.  I'm still awake.  This is going to be an interesting day!


  1. I think I will have to come back to this one.
    I'm not sure how I feel about it.

    1. Too sappy? It just rambles? No rhyme? No wording catches you? All of the aforementioned?
      Hmmm. Maybe you are right about those. Wait, I said those things. Maybe I'm right!
      Come back to it in the morning and let me know. I'm happy for a critical eye!

    2. I'll read it again in the later morning and see what I think, too! But I've just made some revisions. Still don't know if it says what I want it to. I may just have to leave it be for now.

    3. I think it's too prose-y for a poem for me.

    4. Thanks for revisiting and commenting. I can see what you mean. I like it enough to work on it offline some more for another go someday. I like that you don't always like everything!

    5. I like the way you put that. Most people say, "You don't like anything."
      But it's not true.
      I'm just harder to please, I guess, but, when I am. I AM!

  2. It is one if the fantastic things about love, it has no limits and loving someone with all your heart does not mean you cannot love someone else just as much.

  3. smiles...when your child (for me it was sons) is born
    there is def a love that is different than all else...and just when we think
    we have reached the end of love...there are whole new countries
    to be explored...

    1. Like eternity...there is no end. There's always more even though we can't imagine it.

  4. Aw, that one made me teary-eyed!! You captured the feelings of a second child's birth perfectly!

    1. I can still get teary just remembering that unexpected overflowing of love!

  5. I understood this right away and know exactly what you are talking about. Amazing sometimes how much feeling we can find within our selves.

  6. Have you crashed yet from lack of sleep?
    I love the poetry magnet -- what a great idea!
    Nice imagery of love tumbling out.

    1. Still awake 4:53 pm my time...had an iced latte at Starbucks just a bit ago. Hope I'm not good to go another night!

  7. I hear your voice in the poem, speaking directly to that small one, Donna, "and love tumbled out". And love hearing the process of 'blog-gems'. I used lines of titles for someone last year & managed to work it out fairly well, I think. It's fun to play. Like Tabatha, I wonder at this time (3:30 your time), if you finally are napping? Have a great weekend!

    1. The energizer bunny in me is still going. What is up with this? I think I should sleep tonight though, unless that latte kicks in!
      Blog titles would be fun to try, like book titles!

  8. Donna, I read through the comments. Everyone has their own tastes. For me this tasted perfect, straight from the heart. And it echoed many of the unexpected feelings that hit me when my first and second child (children? This doesn't sound right..) were born, I had two sons, and still that rush of love it's amazing-- also loved how you gave the poem a surprise ending :-)

    1. And what a rush it is! I remember thinking, "Wow, I WOULD run into a burning building to rescue my child!" You got it. A surprise ending is like another little unexpected aspect to the poem now isn't it?

  9. Oh, I think that there is always more love that a heart can give. I surely found this when my grandchildren were born. The heart is always expanding. The flood of love is wonderful to feel.

    1. Yes, that's the special part of being a grandparent, too! It happens all over again. Love that love!
      I'm going to get around to make comments tomorrow. It was a busy day, and I'm still awake... I will have been awake for 40 hrs. straight by the time my head hits the pillow in 30 min.! Really, it's time to sleep!

  10. Love the ending of your poem especially, Donna. It perfectly captures that moment of utter amazement and gratitude in such a matter-of-fact way. Thank you, also, for describing your process of creating blog-gems-- such a marvelous idea, I just might have to give it a try.

    1. Oh, you should try it. It is really fun after you get going. Kind of like a jigsaw puzzle or diving into the cold seems a little uncomfortable and daunting at the start, but bit by bit you start finding pieces or begin getting numb. It's like making your own magnet poem (only without the magnetic backing!).

    2. Donna, the lines that resonated with me were "This flood of love/so unexpected/and so sudden,
      was there all along/but you had no inkling." The poem describes an amazing overflowing of the greatest gift a mother can give her child: love. Thank you for sharing your blog gem process. Great idea!

  11. The process of creating those blog-gems is fascinating! Glad you liked the magnet!

    1. Thank you the poemI It's a beautiful summer wish - and great to have it on my refrigerator so I can catch glimpses of it during the day.

  12. Pure, unconditional love is seamless and endless. When the moment hits, there is a sense of surreal awe. Lovely thoughts.

  13. heart is the true reservoir for unconditional have beautifully expressed this...

  14. Donna, I was the happy recipient of a blog-gem! So glad I stopped by to see the process. Wow! What commitment. I hope you will give me permission to post the wonderful poem you wrote for me on my blog next Friday. I'd like to include the image as well. Can you email it to me?
    I love this poem you wrote. I have 3 daughters and that feeling of new love never got old.

  15. So much love in this post. And we need more of that in this world. :)

  16. Beautiful and a tale of love and endless beauty. Well done.

  17. You've captured that unexpected magic, perfectly Donna. Great post!

  18. Lovely poem and such a good response to the prompt. I enjoyed reading it.

  19. I don't have children, so I don't know this feeling you describe, but I don't like kids and hope never to have children. I know I wouldn't be a good mother. Still, unexpectedness haunts us all, so perhaps I change my mind in some years time... Who knows? Although at the moment I don't share your view on children, I really enjoyed your poem, Donna!

  20. Lovely poem, Donna--that overwhelming joy and love is pretty unexpected! And glad you liked my sapsucker rap.

    1. I didn't make it very readable here, so want to use it printed out nicely on my page. Hope that is ok!


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