Friday, December 25, 2015

A Christmas Card

Our little Christmas tree from our motel Christmas!

 Our inside and outside Christmas trees.  Good ole' Spiny Pine is finally big enough to wear Christmas lights!

Merry Christmas, all!

Were you able to see the full moon tonight?  It won't happen again for over 30 years.  It was so foggy and rainy today that I was sure we would not be able to see it, but just after midnight, when I turned out the lights, I noticed light streaming in my windows.  Sure enough, the fog had lifted and the moon was out big and bright!

I'm posting my Christmas card poem and watercolor today.  I made my cards this year.  I was late - very late - getting them out, but it was fun!

It's Poetry Friday, hosted by Irene Latham at Live Your Poem, where she has been posting The Twelve Days of Kindness!  Her recap is there today to enjoy!
Today for Poetry Friday, I post my Christmas card to you!

I also want to direct you to Silver Birch Press, where my poem "Christmas Storm" was published yesterday!  I hope you can go there and read it.  It really was a special night for our family.

I hope your Christmas day is filled with peace, love, family and friends!

He made the stars also
So many years ago;
One star would light the way
To where our Savior lay.

An angel said a Precious Child
Would be there in the night;
Shepherds trembled at the words
Then traveled by that light

To find the Son of God where He
Lay in the manger lowly,
With parents set in place for Him,
Though He himself was Holy.

Thus a Perfect Plan was born,
Though at a daunting cost;
As sacrificial, perfect lamb,
Christ came to save the lost.

©Donna JT Smith

Thursday, December 24, 2015

Silver Birch Press - Christmas Storm

Silver Birch Express now has my poem "Christmas Storm" published on their site.  You can find it here.  It is a Christmas Eve poem, inspired by a trip back to Maine via Amtrak on Christmas in 1983.

As a young couple, we lived in Minnesota for a while, so had to make trips to Maine after our children were born to see grandparents in Maine. After our train trip at Christmas in 1983, we decided to move back East to make the trips less eventful. This was the longest trip ever with two little kids (an eight-month-old and a three-year-old old) on a train iced to a halt a few times and going in reverse at others. Had to inch along because frozen tracks can crack and it was frightfully cold out — well below zero. Bathrooms stopped working having frozen up. All trains were cancelled when we got to Chicago, so we ended up between homes not knowing when we would be continuing on the journey. But we had the best time in Union Station on Christmas Eve sharing Christmas cookies with strangers and listening as a man waiting for a train pulled out his French horn and played Christmas carols for hundreds of tired passengers. Instead of arriving the day before Christmas, we got there the day after! Thirty-six hours late. I can’t think of a better Christmas than that one, though.

I hope you enjoy it!  And, if it is in your plans to celebrate the birth of Christ... have a Merry Christmas! 
Well, and if it isn't... Merry Christmas, anyway!

Friday, December 18, 2015

Winter Swap and More Silver Birch Press News

It is Poetry Friday and I am pleased to be sharing a poem by Dori Bennett that she sent to me for this year's Winter Poetry Swap - thunk up and organized by the awesome Tabatha Yeatts.

Dori's gift of poem and star locket arrived on Wednesday morning, and worked to further boost my resolve and faith on a day-slash-week that needed girding.   How could she have known that the timing and words would be just right?  Perhaps she couldn't.  But I know that God did.

The poem was a combination of snippets from my known life through the blog, and projections or assumptions correctly and thoughtfully applied in words.  As I read it, I could recognize things that I'd written about, or was that thought about?  I could not remember having written about some things, but felt the familiarity of the words somehow in Dori's writing. The poem took my breath away...and brought a few tears!

And then there was the gift - though if the only thing in the envelope was the poem, it would have been more than enough of a gift to me!

The star locket took my breath away for a second time.  It looked like something my mother would have found and given to me for a birthday or Christmas - or I would have "lifted" from their store, years ago!  The star in its center will serve as a reminder to me to stay the course.  And besides, it is perfect for keeping two precious grandchildren photos close to my heart!

Thank you, Dori!

Guided Journey
by Doraine Bennett

Bring a book to keep you company.
Expect delays, but do not
be tempted to change trains.

Tune your inner song to the rhythm of the tracks.
Ponder the ever present whistle that fills the night.
Trust the words.

When the way seems long,
needle your memory,
recall the single leaf
whispering red,
the phoebe's feeble cry,
the unearthed treasure
etched in familiar scrawl.

If your bones are travel weary,
find your breath, that rauch breath,
and breathe into the pain.

Watch the transient images,
surrender to the mountain pass,
cross the deep ravine,
emerge onto the open plain.

Search the midday sky for shifting cloud.
Find the fiery star by night.

When it seems you will never
reach your final destination,
unpack your shawl,
wrap its purple arms around you.
Journey on until you smell the scent of home.


Sigh.  So many parts to love.

I also wanted to let you know that I will have two more poems on Silver Birch Press this month or next.  I am so pleased that they have been accepted and will keep you posted on when they will are published.

And now on to more poetry at Diane Mayr's "Random Noodling"!

Friday, December 11, 2015

Silver Birch Express

It is Poetry Friday, and this post COULD have been done LAST Friday, but I had turkeys on my brain.  I'm calling it a fowl.  And I promise I will be better at getting to more poetry posters.  Seems like lately I'm being pulled in so many directions that it would be easier and more relaxing to go back to work!

I was so excited LAST Friday: I had THREE pieces on other sites.  Two were on Spark27.  I responded to two pieces supplied by other people.  One piece was a photo to which I responded with a poem, and the other was a written biographical piece to which I responded using my new watercolor skills.
The third was a poem accepted by Silver Birch Press, my second poem accepted for online publication with them!

1. Get Sparked - Percolated Date - photo was taken by Alisa Laska and was my "inspiration piece" for my poem. Go there to see her photo.
2. Get Sparked - Pankha-wala - written by Urmilla Khanna was my inspiration piece for my watercolor of their servant boy in the 1940's.  I used only black and browns to try for a sepia look.  This is not poetry, but I am thinking about using more watercolor to illustrate my poems and other written pieces.  Go there to read her story.

"Bahadur, the Servant Boy"

3. Silver Birch Press - "This Girl" -  This was an ekphrastic poem - the one I sent.  Remember the girl picking radishes?  I didn't send that one.   When I saw this painting (oh, not the one above...that's a boy), I was drawn to the hat and the grown up little girl look in her eyes. I was the quiet and responsible one that literally and figuratively wore a grown up hat.
In reading about this portrait, I found that this is actually the artist’s daughter who is wearing a hat that some of his older models had worn. So she is really a little girl in a grown up hat.
I threw off my “grown up” hat as I got older. My “lover’ for life – my forever husband – not only endures, but joins me in my second childhood!
“Jeune fille au chapeau fleuri”  by Kees van Dongen (1907-09
I hope that you can briefly visit to see what these are all about, and check out other poems offered on these two sites, but if you can't...
My Spark27 watercolor response to Urmilla's story is above, and here is "Percolated Date", below, my Spark27 written response to Alisa's photograph.
It would be so awesome if you would leave a comment over at "This Girl", "Percolated Date", "Bahadur, the Servant Boy" or here!

Percolated Date
When we first met
Routine was set
Our late night splurging
For pocket purging
Drive into town,
Was DD where it was
“Time to make the donuts” –
Their sweet
Misspelling –
Our donut baker/coffee maker
Who always remembered
Would counter slide
As we came inside
A coffee,
one milk
and two doughnuts.

Ah, coffee!
Grounds for
A cuppa
For life!

A lifetime later,
Still coffee daters,
Our mid day jaunting
With cash for flaunting
Drive into town
Is SB, where it is
“Time to brew the coffee” –
Our sweet
“Spell” missing –
Our lattes done by barista son
Who always remembers
Before bidden
Counter ridden
A decaf,
one latte,
and no donuts –

Ah, coffee!
Grounds for
Two mugs
For life!

by Donna JT Smith, for Spark 27

Now, please join other poetry fanatics at the Roundup at Tara's "A Teaching Life" where there's always great stuff all the time anyway!  I'm heading over later this morning!

Friday, December 4, 2015

Set the Table, the Turkey is Here

Noah sees the turkeys.  Noah would like me to bring one inside.
Last Friday, I wrote about the coyotes, owls and moon because I finally remembered what my idea was.  Oddly enough, that was the day after Thanksgiving, and I saw a whole herd of terkies lerking on my lawn...(spell check isn't liking that!) and could have written about that.
I was messing about with the turkey idea, and the old jump rope jingle came to mind...
so I wrote - a turkey poem called Turkey Ramblings.

Hard to see the turkeys when the camera wants to focus on the screen!
The turkeys are always fun to watch.  They just eat their way across the lawn.  Occasionally a tom will stop to ruffle his feathers and look huge in case some cute young hen is looking his way.   On this day it was raining, so feathers were getting pretty damp. They all took turns ruffling to get the raindrops off.

They are all on guard, and will stop to take a look around while they are eating, to see if any danger is eminent.  When they are sure no one is around or looking at them (except me), they resume meandering and eating.

I wonder if sometimes they might count to see if they are all present and accounted for. 

I can just imagine the head turkey counting turkey heads:

"Um... one.  Another one.  Um...wait.  What number was I on?  I'm going to have to start again.  Ok.  One.  And another one.  One over there.  Wait - I counted that one.  Yup.  Counted that one.  So, there's one.  And that one.  And I know I didn't count that one by the house.  One.  Okay, that's it.  I think every one is here. Phew!  I don't think I could count one more turkey!"

Turkey Ramblings

Turkeys, turkeys, 
Meander this way.
Are we all here?
Did someone stray?
Oh, no, don't say!
Mabel, Mabel’s
   on the table!

So sad, too bad
Mabel stayed for lunch
She should have run;
I have a hunch
Oh, dear, steer clear!
Mabel, the guest,
   is dressed and blessed!  

Wishbone in hand
Winner's dinner wish
For more turkey
On empty dish!
Oh, me, oh, my!
Mabel’s ramble -
   a losing gambol!

Not one of our turkeys...
Can you believe it is December? The first December Poetry Friday Roundup is at Buffy's Blog today.  Join Buffy at the Roundup.  It's fixing to be lots of fun!

Wednesday, December 2, 2015

A Poem is Like a Vacation

The route to a poem is always intriguing to me.  I hate to lose the process.  The interesting thing with composing on a computer, is that you can save iterations of a poem.  I often copy and paste a whole poem as a copy before editing it - just in case I want to revert or just in case it gets to be so far removed from the beginnings that I want to see.  It's kind of like looking out the car window to see where you are going.  Or better yet, taking snapshots along your route.  The trip is always a part of the adventure for me...if you can call a poem an adventure.  Hey, maybe that's another post!

Researching where you are going
Jotting notes about what you want to do when you get there
Sitting back and enjoying the time
Take out stuff you thought would be fun, when you discover something funner to do with your time and efforts

*Special Note:  The above post was not intended to be a final copy!  I was taking notes so that I'd have something to go on for today...
Then I got so busy with other writings that I forgot all about the fact that I'd scheduled this to publish today!
I was sound asleep this morning (a little before 8 am which doesn't seem early, but when you haven't been sleeping well for a few days, you thoroughly enjoy!) when I got a phone call telling me my Windows machine was in peril - which quickly changed to "your Apple computer is...".  I was not very nice to the foreigner on the other end who was obviously in the middle of his workday.
But then I turned on my iPad to see what time it was, and...since I was now awake...check my email.  Seeing that I had a comment from Linda, I was curious as to which post this was.  And that is why I have added this "*Special Note"!  I'm not going to take it down.  Enjoy the backstage workings for this one!  This is not the norm for writing a blog post for me.  I don't jot down notes, but this one was on the heels of forgetting my post for last Friday!   And idea came to me, I was riding in the car...

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...