Friday, June 30, 2017

I Mean Business

I have spent time explaining to people what I do when I'm photographing their license plates to write a poem, and each time I've thought, why don't I just have a business card?  Then they could go read their vanity poem on my site someday.  But I never pursued it or thought about it again until the next time I tried to tell someone where to look for my poems.

But now I've done it.  And I even handed out a card last weekend.  Remember my OLW (one little word) for this year is REACH?  Well, I figure, the card is another way to REACH people.  AND (sorry for all the YELLING...but I'm not REALLY yelling...)
REACH I did.

We went on our trek to Starbucks last week, and the first thing (things? event? people?) I noticed was a group of 4 women, a man and a baby, all sitting together at the big table in the center of the room.  And they were happy, chatty and cooing.  The new baby boy was in the midst of all these adults, and though the baby was not giggling and smiling - being brand new and all - the adults surrounding him were beaming and handing him around the table for 5 or 10 minute stints with each one.

I was so enthralled with the happy group as I sat in a corner chair.  My husband and son were talking together, but I was watching the loving group at the big table together.  And I began to write.  I finished just as they were about to disperse.  They were clearing their table.  And I had to decide, would I or wouldn't I give them this poem?

I decided to reach out.  I walked over and told them I'd enjoyed seeing the joy they had at this new baby.  I met the mom - a local;  I met the great grandmother - visiting from PA.  I had them read my draft on the iPad, I gave them my card AND got their email address to send them a copy of the baby's poem.  They beamed some more, dropped a few more kissed on the baby and left.

Then I emailed them this:

New Baby Boy

Sweet the beaming smiles;
Love spills;
A family grows by one -
No frills;
By leaps, by bounds
It fills
The whole of souls
And wills
Our hands to fold
Each heart to hold;
And stills
Time briefly
He's overnight a man.

By Donna JT Smith

Hope you have a wonderful stay and enjoy that new soul! He is blessed to have such a loving family surrounding him!

I want to do this again sometime.  It felt amazing to watch the event, to be compelled to write, to take the moment to write and then to give that poem away.  I'm glad I took that opportunity to REACH out...and so glad I had my card!  

Oh, I almost forgot - when I gave them my card, they looked at the front and exclaimed, "Look what's on the front!  A whale!"  It's the mom's favorite!  Who knew my first card handed out, would be JUST one more connection that day?

Next up... head to see who else has poetry offerings at Random Noodling where Diane is hosting Poetry Friday today!

Friday, June 23, 2017

Poetry Friday Bumbershoots

On Thursdays, Laura Purdie Salas has an image and a challenge to write to the image in 15 words or less.  This week she had a picture taken at the Maple Grove Chalk Art Festival where it had been raining. 
(Here's a portion of Laura's image)

Here's my response:


Oh, Dat a Whay!

On, shumberboots;
Up, bubber roots;
Through ruddled poutes!
The rind and wain are in hacoots!

by Donna JT Smith


Oh, What a Day!

Up, bumbershoots;
On, rubber boots;
Through puddled routes!
The wind and rain are in cahoots!

by Donna JT Smith


I have been "off the air" for a while, trying to get some things straightened out with our new house.  Maybe I'll try to write about it soon.  We are not there yet.  I am living in piles of boxes - some packed, some unpacked, and some half-way filed; and surrounded by stuff that has had to be unpacked because we had to have some item in the two month delay and  ever-changing move-in date.

We have just recently had installed a beautiful new set of kitchen cabinets at our new home, but it will be ripped out in a couple of days, due to a very poor installation job and some design problems... Good news, though.  Lowe's is covering it all.  It was really bad.  Really.  Bad.  Thankfully, Lowe's immediately responded and has treated us fairly.  I will continue to shop there and recommend them.  I don't even think I want to show the images of the disaster, as they have been so gracious and willing to make it all right.  I will show images when the finished kitchen is all displayed in it's buttery splendor, though!

Happy here.  Have a wonderful Poetry Friday!  Go visit our hostess, Heidi, at My Juicy Little Universe and see what poetry treats are in store!

Thursday, June 8, 2017

Poetry Friday - Avoiding Joy

It's Poetry Friday!  I love this day!  And I love visiting Mary Lee's site, so it is doubly fun today as she is hosting all our poetry links.  Go visit Mary Lee at A Year of Reading.  Check out all the other offerings!
Is this not joy?

Last week on Thursday, the Spiritual Thursday post was to talk about "finding joy". Margaret Simon had the prompt and was our hostess that day.

Well, I had started this poem about finding joy and then lost it - or forgot about it.  Then on Friday morning, I was looking for something and in my purse I found this folded up North Country Harley Davidson invoice with scribbles on it.  It was the poem I'd started while we were riding in the car, when I started thinking about the topic of Finding Joy, its original title. As I began writing, though, it was clear that it was more about how we can refuse to find joy, preferring instead to wallow in self-pity, depression, unhappiness...
Have you ever avoided joy?

I've seen people do this... ME?  Of course, it is more understandable when I do it!!  LOL!  The poem was spurred by my own actions at times when I just wanted to wallow or be difficult, and thinking about how hard it was to snap out of it and "succumb to" good thoughts and a smile!

I remind myself that it is easier sometimes to find the bad in things than the good when you are on a roll!  However, it is just as easy to find the good and get on that roll!  It might involve putting the brakes on hard and almost upsetting yourself to do it, but it is worth it and always do-able.

I want to stop the Pollyanna-eze here, though.  I admit there will be times when it isn't as easy as one would like, and I can't say I am always successful at it.
(Yeah, like this week when I wasn't too happy with some of the details of our kitchen cabinet  installation...  but I digress... back to joy so I can avoid going down that path again...)

Avoiding Joy

Did you ever avoid finding joy?
I know it can be done:
Refuse to muse on trees,
Deny the warming sun,
Turn from a dewy bloom,
Rebuke the glinting sea,
Look through disdaining eyes,
Hold on to jealousy,
Drain color from a sunset,
Remain in shadowed vale,
Still a robin's echoing trill,
Pursue a lonesome trail,
Trade the sweetest laughter
For hot and bitter tears,
Decline the tiniest hint
Of any smile that nears;
Turn away a touch,
Slough off all advice:
You haven't need of such,
Embrace your heart of ice.
I've seen it being done;
It seems a sorry goal
To uninvite a joyfulness
For sorrow in your soul
When it could very easily
Be welcomed in your heart.
It's hard at first, but when you do
A hum will likely start,
And slowly seeping past the doubts
It starts to overflow;
It's scary when the singing starts
With words you do not know.
Just go with it, look through new eyes,
The ones without defeat,
And you might find the world out there
Is bountiful and sweet.
It's more than we deserve in life;
Be watchful for each stone -
For turning them we'll likely find
Some blessing yet unshown.
Embrace the joy of blessings

Melt your ice with flame;

If you refuse the joy in life

You’ve only you to blame.

by Donna JT Smith, 2017

Have you ever avoided joy???

Friday, June 2, 2017

Golden Poetry Friday

This is a repost of my Monday, Memorial Day post - with a few additions and revisions:

I was reading, Laura Salas' Golden Shovel poem creation.  I had heard of Golden Shovel before, but wasn't sure what it was, so I looked it up.  It looked like fun!
Grab a line of poetry.  Use each word in the line in order as the last word in each of the new poem's lines.  Make sure to credit the original author.
I decided to give it a go - if I could actually find a book of poetry in this awful mess I've created around me in the process of packing, tossing and yard-saling for our move to Gull Haven.

I did find one book without unpacking or digging:

This one was still unpacked in a stack of books on a box in the kitchen.  It was a book of Rupert Brooke's poetry "1914 and Other Poems".  It actually has more than at that link; it is two collections in one volume.  The second part of the book is just Poems by Rupert Brooke.  My eye happened upon "The Voice" first, in the second part of the volume and it made me laugh.  I'll let you listen to it first, being read by Heine Smek.

Further searches brought me to the Rupert Brooke's Society page and an article about his life in The New Yorker online.  After finding "The Treasure" written in August of 1914, in the book, I also found it online.  It was this one I decided to use for my Golden Shovel Poem.

The Treasure

by Rupert Brooke

When colour goes home into the eyes,
   And lights that shine are shut again,
With dancing girls and sweet birds' cries
   Behind the gateways of the brain;
And that no-place which gave them birth, shall close
The rainbow and the rose: -
Still may Time hold some golden space
   Where I'll unpack that scented store
Of song and flower and sky and face,
   And count, and touch, and turn them o'er,
Musing upon them; as a mother, who
Has watched her children all the rich day through,
Sits, quiet-handed, in the fading light,
When children sleep, ere night.
August 1914

I selected the highlighted line to write my "Golden Shovel Poem".   It came out in one sitting with no edits.  It must have been the right line.  And I think it was affected by the mood of "The Voice", as select words were lifted from that poem also.

Treasure in Night
from Rupert Brooke's "The Treasure"

She, in solitude, sits,
The night speaks in quiet
Voice and she is handed,
The keys to a thousand dreams in
Place of the
Touch of his hand, memory fading
As the sun makes real in the light.

by Donna JT Smith, May 29, 2017 (102 years later!)

Today is a day like no other.  Go find a poem to befriend!
There are definitely some great links being posted over at Buffy's Blog!

Thursday, June 1, 2017

First Thursday - Finding Joy

Today Margaret Simon is hosting Spiritual First Thursday and has offered the topic - finding joy.  I started writing this as soon as the reminder came out from Irene.  I wrote and thought I was all done.  Then I went back and looked at it.  A jumble of thoughts.  A patchwork of words.  I didn't like it.  So I'm starting again.  A REJOICE.

Finding joy is about rejoicing.  You can always find joy once.  But can you do it again?  Can you do it again when you really, really need it?

Imagine you have a cookie.  And when the cookie is gone, are you still happy?  Can you get happy again just by thinking about it?  Or do you have to have another cookie to bring back that state of mind?  Sometimes we feel so close to God the joy is palpable.  Then we distance ourselves, and the joy is diminished.  We need another "cookie".  We need another prayer, a talk, a walk.  You need to keep close to Him and that closeness will bring you the joy you are seeking.

It seems that you can be unhappy and still have joy in your heart.  It makes the times of unhappiness more bearable.  This is a something that, though it can't be seen, others can sense even when you are bearing a terrible load.  They can sense that your load is being carried by someone else along with you.  They can smell those chocolate chip cookies and see the crumbs!  Be ready to answer the questions they ask about finding some of that joy themselves... share your cookies!

Isaiah 12: 2-4
Behold, God is my salvation; I will trust, and not be afraid: for the Lord Jehovah is my strength and my song; he also is become my salvation.
Therefore with joy shall ye draw water out of the wells of salvation.
And in that day shall ye say, Praise the Lord, call upon his name, declare his doings among the people, make mention that his name is exalted.

Once you find joy, it can bolster you and keep you strong through the worst of happenings.  How do you find it?  It is just a matter of remembering and turning to Him when the cookie's been eaten.  Actually, it's a good idea to return BEFORE the cookie is gone.
Joy doesn't need to come in "waves"; it can be a steady stream of rejoicing...a conveyor belt of joy!  Rejoice - Joy again!

Rejoice in the Lord alway: and again I say Rejoice!  Philippians 4:4

There's nothing better than to have joy again and again!

"Oh, rejoice in the Lord, He makes no mistake;
He knoweth the end of each path that I take;
And when I am tried
and purified,
I shall come forth as gold!"

The worst times don't have to be devoid of joy.  Joy allows you to be tried and still emerge strong.

Here's Ronald Hamilton and the story of how he came to be known at Patch the Pirate, and singing the song "Rejoice in the Lord" that he wrote about his experience (at about 4:13 if you just want the song).

Okay, now I'm tired!  I've rewritten all of this, and I hope it makes sense!  I'm setting this to post at midnight, and I'll read it again in the morning.

Actually I'm probably going to find more joy in reading all the other posts about finding joy more than rereading this one!

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...