Friday, September 25, 2015


It's Poetry Friday!  

I got a text from my daughter this morning.

Her 4 year old son asked to wear these shoes today.  He's usually in flipflops or Crocs, but today he asked to wear his "stress shoes".  And he named them:  Bobo and Bernie. 

Then he proceeded to "Time Out" when he couldn't wear them to go outside and do yard work.  There was a bit of a rough patch preceeding the "Time Out"... but we've all seen those, so I needn't describe the exchange that would lead to a need to calm down, right?  Speaking of "stress shoes"...

It was handy timing because I didn't know what I would write about.  I had no poem, until then.  Thanks, Grandson!  
Maybe next week I'll include his hand conversation at breakfast.

"Come on, you stress shoes!"
Stress Shoes

I want to wear my stress shoes
They're black and have real laces
I think I'll call them Bobo
And Bernie - with no faces.
Still they each have tongues,
Even though they do not smile;
And mom says I can wear them
For just a little while.
I cannot do real stress in them;
No working in the yard,
Even though I promised
Not to make them work too hard.
She says that they are dress shoes
But that just can't be so
I think I'd know it if they were
They'd need to have a bow.
Wait, Mom tied my laces in a - Oh, no!
Aren't dress shoes just for dresses?
Should I name them Brynne and Brenda?
Now I really know what stress is!
I wish I had real stress shoes
To work and kick about
Then I would be outside instead
Of waiting in Time Out.

by Nannie, ©Donna JT Smith, 2015

I forgot!  I did have a poem to share... in case you missed it -
Michelle H. Barnes, on Today's Little Ditty, is posting a whole slew of ME poems sent in by brave souls - poems of a pivotal moment in your young life to share with the world!  My poem, "A Passing Remark", is posted there with many wonderful snippets of our younger lives!

by Donna JT Smith
I was a child
of field and truck
with fingernails
a’la dirt and mud

the neighbors had
a girlie girl
with skin so soft
and hair a’curl

pale of face
with body narrow
a shape that barely
made a shadow

rosy cheeks and
toned farm arms
should not have been
cause for alarm

but our neighbor’s visitor
said to me
as I passed by
“Hello, chubby!”
from that time on
I realized
it mattered if
you weren’t pint-sized;

and that is when
my fight began
with body image
and who I am.

Visit.  Read.  Laugh.  Cry.  Gasp.  Wince.  Giggle.
Then think about what YOU might write before September 30!

Read more poetry on this glorious Poetry Friday
hosted by Janet Wong at Poetry for Children
and clicking on the links to other participants!

Great fun is in store
for those who read more!

Sunday, September 20, 2015

Sharing My Poem on Today's Little Ditty

Today, Michelle Heidenrich Barnes at Today's Little Ditty, has my ME poem, written in response to Lee Bennett Hopkins' Ditty of the Month Club challengeIt is a poem that is about a pivotal moment in your childhood - something that changed the way you thought about something, something that changed you in some way.

I have a few moments like that in my childhood, but the one that came to mind immediately was one that happened when I was probably somewhere between age 8 and 10.  It had a huge impact on my life, and I wish I could have spoken to that person in my future adult voice when it happened, and asked them what in the world they thought they were doing, and how did they think that would help me.  But I was just a kid, and if a grown up said something, it was probably true.  The remark was one they would today most likely have no memory of ever having said (if they were, in fact, still alive today).  I never ever saw this person again, but I didn't need to; the words stuck in my head and affected the way I thought of my self from then on.

No matter how thin I would become (and I would at one point become very thin), I would never think of myself as "thin" again.   There would always be something unacceptable about my shape.

I wish I could take back, for him, what he said; I'm sure he didn't intend it to be mean.  I wish I had not heard him.  I wish our paths hadn't crossed.  I wish he knew how much it had hurt when he said it.  I wish he knew how long the hurt had lasted.   But I really wish I'd understood how much it didn't matter - how much I didn't need his approval - how I should have taken it with a grain of salt.  For I was not even chubby.  I was not overweight.  I was just a healthy kid, probably in an outgrown red jersey.  See?  I even remember the shirt.

Heavy or not heavy, chubby or not chubby... my life has been WAY more than just okay.   And I take back the wish that he could know how much it had hurt, and how I'd run to my mother to ask her if it was true.  I would not want him to know.  I'm sure he didn't mean it.  It could never have been taken back - once spoken, it has hit its mark.  I tried to push it to the back of my mind - ignore it - not take it seriously, as my mother had advised.  It was mine to choose to ignore or dwell on.  I tried to ignore, as my mother had said... but it still resurfaced at various times... now I'm thinking that I may have dwelled on it a fair bit!

Perhaps the good in it (and I like finding that good in all things) is that it helped me to never say something like this to anyone.  I'm going with that good thought about it.  Because it did.  Maybe that is the more significant "change" that actually occurred - one infinitely more important than the forever changed "body image".

Please visit Michelle's Today's Little Ditty today where Michelle is sharing my poem, and other ME poems, too!

Friday, September 18, 2015

Aquasphere - Another Response

Poetry abounds, and you can bound along, too, if you go and visit Michelle at Today's Little Ditty where there are a plethora of poetry links! (Isn't "plethora" a great word... love it's opposite, too - "dearth")

I am posting Aquasphere today.  It was a "runner-up" in my brain, for posting on Spark as a Response Piece for the ocean picture by Tisha Carter.  You can see that image here.

You could say this particular poem was taken by force!  I tried a different technique to create it.  One that I hadn't used before.  You may want to try it with a picture you would like to write to.

Here's what I did: 
Because the sky and sea blended so nicely in Tish's picture, making them almost one entity or fluidly joining, I wanted them to be joined in the poem somehow, too.

I brought Tish's image into Sherwin Williams Color SnapThere the names of Sherwin William's paint colors were assigned to different areas on the image that matched Sherwin William's paints.   I listed the paint names* associated with the image, and moved the image markers around to get more names for more hues in the picture.    

Some paint chip names referred to sky and some to sea (including one that was called “Sea Serpent”) giving me an idea for my "theme" for the poem - or a "where I am heading".
"Aquasphere", another paint name, seemed to fit the sky and earth realms, so I then researched to see if there were any “Sea Serpents” in the heavens.  Come to find out, there is a constellation called "Serpens", with two halves of a Serpent - the head, "Caput", and the tail, "Cauda", separated by a figure holding each half. 
I ran with it, seeing as there were no real scissors involved.

This is my own watercolor image to go with "Aquasphere".  Yesterday was my second group watercolor session with a local artist, Judith Kinsman.  Such a great group.  Wish I'd taken a picture of me... all clean brushes, clean palette, new pad of paper... not a clue what I was doing or if I should be there... but everyone was so supportive of a beginning painter.  Everyone is so helpful and KIND!  I am enjoying my time there immensely.  We worked on painting coastal rocks.  I made a pretty decent one.  Maybe you will see it someday.  That's my serious picture... this one below is a bit less formal!  I thought I was pretty clever putting those stars in (or rather leaving the paint out in starrish shaped areas)!

I am REALLY having fun with watercolors now!


Somewhere in the aquasphere,
In meditative mood,
Submersed in pool of languid blue,
A lone sea serpent broods;

Breathtaking smoky daydreams
Waft in sky of powdered hues,
He renews his search for refuge
From the icy ocean brews.

Peering above into the sky
He sees the stars anew;
Should he remain Sea Serpent
Or was Sky Serpens his due?

What’s his to gain or lose in this? 
If one lives must one die?
Could he abide in realm
of sea
And take the helm
of sky?

Slowly with his dreams in tow,
Cruising the aquasphere,
Sea serpent swims by day at sea
But come night, disappears;

Leaving darkest depths of sea
For deepest skies of night,
Cauda and Caput reveal
His serpentining flight.

By Donna JT Smith, Sept. 2, 2015

*Some paint names were harmed/massacred or lost in translation for the ebb and flow, and meaning of the poem.  My sympathies to their relatives, but I make no apologies.  I would do it again.

Friday, September 11, 2015

Poetry Friday - A Garden, a Rose and Spark

Happy Friday, happy poetry!  We are all attending the poetry party at Robyn Hood Black's place, so go and take a look at what else is being offered today - right after you finish here, of course!
My last swap of the summer was with Margaret Simon...way down in Louisiana!  Quite a ways from Maine!  However, having frequently read Margaret's blog and swapping a poem last summer, has made me feel like I know her a little bit better than some of my face-to-face friends!
Anyway, for the poetry swap, Margaret sent me a "Happy Day" journal (in which I have already written!) with a sweet poem written about a Maine author, Cynthia Lord, using a line I'd put in one of my poems recently "When the haze sweeps in".  She paints a pretty authentic picture of living in Maine.  Margaret posted this poem last Friday and you may read more about her connection with Cynthia here.  With her permission, I have Margaret's poem written out here:

Cynthia's Garden
by Margaret Simon
for Donna Smith, Summer Poem Swap, 2015

When the haze sweeps in,
I stop by Cynthia's garden
to see the pink rose of Sharon
surprise with a bridal white.

Cynthia asks me in for tea,
a warm taste of sweet honey-orange spice.
On the center table,
sweet pea, Queen Anne's lace, elderberry.

On the mantle, a photograph
of last winter's snow, thick and unshoveled.
We look and sigh, knowing
this moment of surprise sweeetness
is fleeting.

Her kitchen window looks out on the bay.
Colorful sails rise like kites
above crystal blue.  We talk
about bunnies and blueberries
and boys who love to sleep
ouside under the stars.

When the haze sweeps in,
I tell Cynthia goodbye
and hold her heart
like a poem I want to hear

Thank you, Margaret.  I think I would like to visit Cynthia's Garden someday.  I'm not much for gardening, but I love when other people take to it!
My first Maine beach rose watercolor...
Meanwhile, on Spark, I have two poems up.  One is a poem I wrote, and Tisha Carter responded to it with a photo she took.  She also sent me a picture, to which I have written a poem.  The two poems with their images by Tish, may be seen here.
Spark 1 - Tish's image as inspiration for my poem - I did not use "Aquasphere" as I said I was going to... "Beach Girl" won.  I'll put up "Aquasphere" someday!
Spark 2 - my poem as inspiration for Tish.  I had fun with this poem about a dog and I-scream - and Tish had fun finding the perfect picture!  Crazy eyes!  She found the knots on a piece of wood, and they looked like the intensely focused eyes of some of the dogs she's owned, and reminded her of "Blue Dog" by George Rodrigue.  So please, click on through.  Diane Mayr has some pieces up also!  So check it all out.  You may want to play along next time!

Friday, September 4, 2015

Spark for Poetry Friday

It's Poetry Friday - somehow I missed posting last week.  It's been busy - traveled by train down to Maryland for my nephew's wedding on the ocean for the weekend and that threw off my writing, plus this:
For the past ten days I have been ruminating over an image sent to me by a Spark participant. Has anyone else out there done Spark?  This is my first time.  Amy Souza at Spark organizes this meeting of artists - pairing an artist with a writer.  I sent my partner a poem, to which she will give an image response, and she sent me an image, to which I respond with a written piece.

The image she sent to me is of the ocean with just a bit of sand in the foreground, and the ocean goes on to blend with the gray cloudy sky.  It is hard to see where one stops and the next starts - a very intriguing picture by the sea.  (Fortunately for me, I love ocean scenes!)

Later this morning I have to send a poem response to this image.  I have had ten days to write.  And I have 4 poems now.  (Never give me too much time!  I have written, rewritten, jotted notes, more notes, revised, re-revised...and finally said, "hey, do the laundry!").  I had my daughter, my husband and a friend read them yesterday, to tell me which they think best goes with the image, or which they like best.  I have had 3 different answers.  They each picked two, so they have hit on all four of them.  This was not as much of a help as I'd hoped!  I should have known better.  Now I am almost right back where I started!

These are the names of the poems I wrote:

Beach Girl
How Have You Left Me?
There Is a Fish

These are the picks, first and second choices:

Husband: Beach Girl and How Have You Left Me?
Daughter: Aquasphere and Beach Girl
Friend: Aquasphere and There Is a Fish

This is my deduction: Not "How Have You Left Me?" and "There Is a Fish", right?  And their were two firsts for "Aquasphere", though that wasn't my husband's favorite...

So with that information, I am going to use "Aquasphere", I guess.  It got two firsts.  I liked "Beach Girl", too, though.  I'd ask on here, but I need to wait until I've posted it for Spark.  So today for Poetry Friday I am going to post "How Have You Left Me?"  I won't post the image with it.  I have one of my own.

How Have You Left Me?

Have you deserted
  in thinnest of air?
I cannot see you 
  drifting out there.
Where have you gone -
  slipped off into sea?
How can I know just
  where you might be?
Nowhere remains
  any footprint of you,
No clues to find
  in all this wide blue.
How can I follow,
  if follow I must?
Does promise, as you,
  dissolve into dust
To swirl off away
  becoming a dream?
I’m no longer one piece,
  but rent at the seam.
When you come back
  you must know that I'll be
Saving your seat
  by the sea
   next to me.

by Donna JT Smith, Sept. 2, 2015
Spark 26 Option 3

Please visit Linda Baie at Teacher Dance today, for more wonderful poetry offerings this fine Poetry Friday!  (Heaven help me, I was about to revise this one more time!  I stopped myself, so when you don't like one of the lines, I'll know which one and reprimand myself for not changing it when I had the chance.)

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...