Friday, December 6, 2019

Thursday and Friday

I am combining my first Thursday of the month, Spiritual Thursday's post hosted by Irene Latham, and Poetry Friday with Tanita as hostess!  You can read the Spiritual Thursday's writers' posts about their OLW "One Little Word" for 2019 - a recap of the words that directed lives this year, and poetry for a Friday. Thank you, Michelle Barnes, for sharing my poem today at Today's Little Ditty.  You have so much on your plate that is delicious and savorable!  And I am so pleased to have contributed to your newest anthology!  I'm enjoying the reading and rereading!
I have not been up to speed on my blog, but I blog when I can, and when there's inspiration. Here's today's time and inspiration.  Perhaps you can guess what my One Little Word will be for next year.


I did not
    have a word.
But I did have
days and weeks of
fortnights and months of
hours of waking;
minutes of sleeping;
       without a word.
It was a time of
gluing together,
    ripping apart,
       changing direction,
forging ahead;
    juggling shattered plates
       without a word.
It was
heaving memorabilia,
    savoring memories,
learning new road signs,
    carving new life signs.
It was
without compass
    or sextant
       (the stars were clouded anyway);
the GPS recalculating
    route and
    distance and
       still without a word.
There were storms withstood,
    dancing dreams,
       pins and needles.
There were
       and blessings,
But never was there a word
    of anchor.
I think it would have required
    a boulder sized word,
       or maybe mountainous.
Perhaps that should have been my word.
    Mountain -
       (For that is what I sought)
The refuge of a mountain,
    above the fray,
       closer to pray.
I dragged rocks around that
    I could have given away
       or should have let stay.
Next year
       a word
Lighter than air
    fluttery like a butterfly
    confident as a robin,
       happy as hopping,
       spider web strong,
       fearless regardless,
    positive as punctuating with a period,
       full of yes, more, please -
       sparse of nay and
       devoid of dismay
    I'll grasp,
Yet all the while
    I'll recall how
    is knowing I can,
       with help,
             without a word.

by Donna JT Smith, 12/5/2019

Thank you for reading.  Thank you for always being so, so positive and supportive.  I love this group.

Friday, November 22, 2019

Time and Space

Time goes by, and I realize I have not put much online lately.  It isn't that I haven't been writing, but because I have.  And I have been busy with life.

I don't know if anyone has invented this poetry form or not.  I will have to research it.   I would call it a Shuffle.  I have written the poem to have alternating lines.  The first Stanza is non-rhyming, the second has the same rhyme throughout, then the lines are alternated to make the third stanza.   Better understood after reading it!

Time and Space

So much time,   .
Wait... short the time,  
Something's wrong -
Each battered soul  
Desires as I     
A contented walk  
No stress or grimace

Though time runs short     
In joyful Autumn   
I dare to linger 

   so little space
   but long the race
   confounded pace
   in need of grace   
   to find a place
   without dark trace
   clouding face
   so much is chase
   such a fickle embrace
   ere sweet flakes of lace.

So much time,
   so little space.
Wait... short the time,
   but long the race;
Something's wrong -
   confounded pace!

Each battered soul
   in need of grace
Desires as I    
   to find a place;
A contented walk
   without dark trace
No stress or grimace

   clouding face,
Though time runs short, 
   so much is chase
In joyful Autumn
   such a fickle embrace
I dare to linger
   ere sweet flakes of lace.

by Donna JT Smith, ©11/22/2019

Friday, November 1, 2019


Michelle H. Barnes of Today's Little Ditty interviewed sloth fan, Rebecca Herzog, who gave the poetic challenge of writing about what a monster might be afraid of.  I started with one thing in mind, and it grew and twisted by the end.  Hope you had a scareful Halloween!


Upstairs in my darkened room
I love to scatter dust with broom,
Then eat a snack of lovely bugs
Like beetles, worms and slimy slugs.
I pet my rat, I catch my bat;
Content with where each web is at.
And I am hummy-glum in gloom…
I hear the dreadful chilling sound
   Of children -
     Up the stairs they bound
With awful, joyful sounds of giggling -
Their bodies, hands and lips all wiggling -
A disgusting and revolting sight
Made worse when they turn on the light!
I shiver-hide behind a box
Avoiding sounds of happy talks
Trying not to be so scared
Of children with their shiny hair.
Why don’t they have a webby do?
Why do they scream a silly “boo!”
When will they all just go away?
Spider wants to come and play.
But I can’t play until they go
    I know what to do
       And so…
I get my disappearing stuff
And mix it till it’s good enough,
Then slide it out for them to see.
They’ll think it is a bit of tea!
They’ll see the potion,
   drink it up,
Till nothing’s left up here
   but cup!

  Another scareful, monstrous day
Pretending children come to play...
I have to find my momma now;
I may have scared myself somehow.
Momma warns, “You’ll have daymares
     If you’re too scareful with play-scares!

By Donna JT Smith, 10/12/2019

It's Poetry Friday; please visit more poet and poems hosted at Tabatha Yeatts - The Opposite of Indifference.
I've been incredibly distracted and busy.  I am writing when I get a chance and/or an inspiration.  I have however found a writing workshop to participate in weekly, and am enjoying both the writing time and the time to mentally attend to things other than the day to day!  I wrote the post I am putting up for Noah ( at the last went over well, so the "book" he is writing may be not bad...
I'm ready to continue finessing a "book" I've written, and a couple of picture books.  Maybe I will simply self-publish them to have them out there as finished copies for the grandkids at least!  Procrastinating is not a good thing, but I don't feel as much like it is procrastinating as it is running out of steam.  Time to fill the kettle again, and that's what I'm hoping the writing group will help with!
Thanks for reading and commenting. 

Saturday, October 5, 2019

Beauty - Spiritual Thursday in October

I had little time to write this week, but I did go buy beads for a couple more necklaces and bracelets that my grandchildren want to make.  We made some this past week with beads and supplies that I always have, but I got a hankering to get a few more beads, so my granddaughter and I headed to Jo-Ann's for some sparklies (and some not quite so sparkly for her brother).

As the background image for my words, I have the 4 strings she picked out for beading.  I wish I had a recording of her voice as she looked at all the beautiful beads to choose from!  I was surprised that it didn't take long to choose them - after we inspected every shimmering facet and glittery swirl of every bead in the store anyway!

As my 5 year old granddaughter says matter-of-factly, no hint of ego or vanity - "I'm pretty on the inside, because I like to be kind to people."  And that she is.

When a kindergartener on the first few days of school was crying as she waited for the school doors to open, Granddaughter came up close to her and told her what she did when she was sad..."Think of things you like, like unicorns and cotton candy!  That's what I do." And Granddaughter stayed by her and talked incessantly to cheer her up.

On the third day we got there, there was no more crying and the little girl was actively looking for my Granddaughter.

That's beauty.

And my verse:
I am late posting this, but life lets me do what I do what I can when I can...and now I can, so I'm doing.
And I shall post this late to both Thursday's "Spiritual Thursday" over at Karen Eastlund's blog, and Friday's "Poetry Friday" link ups at Cheriee Weichel's Library Matters!  You may have already seen them on FB as I posted there, too.

Friday, September 27, 2019

Her Hands

This was written a week and a half ago... and I updated the tense... life continues to be ever so slightly busy and off kilter...

"Yesterday" was a chaotic day of trying to decide if we had time, and could that time be stretched to cover all the bases.  It was decided that time would tear if stretched that far unless we used two people.
So my husband went alone to his dying mother's side, he was already more than half-way there in Southern Maine.  I'm glad that we could stretch it that far.  But I missed supporting my mother-in-law and my husband in this hour. 

She was not one to stand on ceremony and would tell you that you didn't need to attend any old funeral for her.  But I know in her heart she still would care.  My daughter and I made the 11+ hour drive to Presque Isle a week and a half ago for her service.  It was a long but leisurely drive once we got into Maine.  Half of the trip is outside of Maine, half is just Maine.
Northern Maine has not always been near and dear to my heart.  I didn't know it existed until I met my husband to be.  At that point I began learning about The County, and all the different types of potatoes and how the sky was just as big over oceans of potatoes as it is over the water. 
There are very few places in this world I could live besides near the ocean, and Aroostook County is one of them. My first year teaching was in the small town where my husband was born and spent his entire pre-marriage life.  Winters are cold, the snows are deep, and the wind howls as it piles up drifts over the roads and covers windows.

I will miss going up there for family gatherings.  Our connection is gone.  A strong woman has strode off into heaven.  She was plowing to the post.  She made it.   Straight and narrow... and now everything is opened up wide and beautiful... maybe even prettier than Aroostook County potato fields.

Her Hands

Her hands were gnarled
with veins like maps
of where she'd been
and beans she'd snapped.

They worked the fields
and picked the rocks
released from winter
fields unlocked.

From wet of bogs
To widest lands
Fiddleheads and berries
Knew her hands.
They hung the wash
on lines outside
Till County's heavenly
breezes dried.

Her hands could bake
and they could sew
They planted trees
and they could mow.

When came the fall,
and frosty weather
Her hands slipped into
Gloves of leather.

Katahdins, Mountains
From deep, rich soil -
Her hands helped glean
The County's oil.

Hand in hand
Beside her men -
God knows she'd
Do it all again.

And though her hands
are now at rest,
Proof still remains
her hands had blessed. 

by Donna JT Smith

It's Poetry Friday.  I'm late, but I've squeezed in a bit of poetry at the end.
Carol Varsalona at Beyond LiteracyLink is hosting today!

Friday, September 6, 2019

Summer Sweet Swaps 2019

I had a late start to I'm starting it now.  I could have just skipped it, but theoretically and in reality, it doesn't stop until autumn begins, and that isn't for a while yet...especially if you aren't a student or a teacher, or a parent of a student.  I was all of those things (or people), but now I'm retired and seasons according to the rulings of a school district don't apply.  For most of my life they have applied, and it is very freeing to think about summer extending as long as it feels like summer and at least as long as the actual calendar says it is summer and not autumn.

So today, I am celebrating summer and the deliciousness of summer swaps (thanks, Tabatha!).  I received some awesome and encouraging swaps this summer.   The words sent me have been beautiful and just what I needed to remind myself to keep on swimming, riding, being strong.

in no particular order, I received the following precious poetic packages:

From Linda Mitchell:

Salt water taffy with cut out paint chip names on each one...poem prompts! - I've been pretty focused on this type of stuff as we work on the house in Friendship and think of cabinet colors, or colors in my son's home that he's renovating.

From Jone Rush MacCulloch:

Jone sent a beautiful photo she took in Paige, AZ.  It's mounted on wood with her poem on the image.  I have it sitting in the living room area by the tv.  It is such a beautiful, almost abstract image of sandstone.

sandstone walls
echo the ancient
stories of
river sky
vermillion constellations
of secret canyon

©jone rush macculloch
From Carol Varsalona:

You roar ahead full of steam
with bold, determined actions
on your faith-filled life journey

©Carol Varsalona

Twisting, turning, uphill, down
your winding path continues
family first in front view

©Carol Varsalona

Morning light captures
nature's breathless beauty
seaside stillness

©Carol Varsalona

Thanks, Carol!  This was beautiful.  Getting part in the mailbox and another part as a working document was really creative!  So many facets to this one!

From Tabatha Yeatts:

Tabatha sent a swap early on, but for some reason, this is all I can find of it now!  Judging from the carpet, it was when I was watching grandchildren.  When I went to her site to see the post recapping it, I recognized it.  But I have yet to locate it again.  It must be at the other part of the house, maybe having gotten mixed with some craft materials in a bin.  And someday we will come across it again and be very surprised!
I loved how Tabatha's search lead her on a wonderful chase through history!

From Jan Godown Annino:

Jan put a SUMMER acrostic poem on a wonderful fan.  I can't tell you how many times I used it this summer.  It is much warmer in PA than in Maine, and especially before we got our AC in, it was pretty miserable.  I always like to carry a fan around with me, so this was great.  It sat beside my chair for easy grabbing whenever I was overtaken by the heat.

Sifts suns rays through pinewood blinds
Understands creek's insistence that I step in, splash, stay to play
Minds not the sandy porch, the muddy sneaker, grass-stained dress
Misses nothing of winter
Expects respect for the amble, mosey, walk that puddles into hillside nap
Requires nothing, nothing, nothing

© 2019 Jan Godown Annino

From Margaret Simon:

Our House is Just a House 
©Margaret Simon

Our house is just a house
full of stuff we like
arranged on a shelf
pleasing and speaking their stories

Our house is just a house
holding our furniture, a table
from grandmother, a desk from his aunt,
and a sofa we thought was the softest in the store.

Our house is just a house
where the kitchen window
frames a perfect day,
the call of birds, the scent of roses.

Our house is just a house
through faithful tides.
When bits are worn
then carried far away - Love remains.

© Margaret Simon

The perfect leaving a home and making another house your home poem...thanks, Margaret.  I love it.

And now I've decided that I will write a poem about all the swapping and poems.
*Okay, no, I won't.  It decided it would be a found poem from words/lines/phrases from all the shares!

Our House

Our house
sifts sun's rays
in the early morn,
minds not the sandy porch.
Walls echo
speaking their stories.
Memories, old and sweet,
of family,
faithful tides,
seaside stillness,
and seaglass

by Donna JT Smith, 2019, 
with a little help from my friends!

You don't know what and how much these all meant to me.  There were so many times I felt like Alice falling down the rabbit hole, or like Dorothy caught up in the tornado...with things slipping by me or me sliding by them.   Staying grounded was my main focus this past year.  Not sure if'm pretty sure I WASN'T successful all the time.  I tried, though!

More poetry and poetry links may be found this Poetry Friday at  Poetry for Children.

Friday, August 30, 2019

My Poem Swappers

I so want to apologize to my Poetry Swap buddies.  I should have just taken this year off.  Every post from May 1 on has been a journey outside of the daily stuff.  And most times I just can't get past the daily stuff.  Even this moment I am eyeing the clock...gotta be somewhere in a few minutes so I don't want to get so involved that I get lost in time.
After the purchase of the home in PA, we had to return in spring to prepare the home in ME for sale.  Now that is sold, I am back in PA and my husband is in ME helping renovate my son's home.
A variety of extraneous issues that I don't want to go into have drawn attention from one thing to another in rapid succession.  I can't discuss all of it, but just know, it has been mind-boggling and randomly concerning.  If it isn't one thing, it's another.  However, there have been enough good things to keep smiling in between...just not enough TIME smiling to relax.  I'm always waiting for the next shoe to drop lately.

That all being said, I want to assemble all the Poetry Swap items that I received over the summer and share them.  I couldn't do it for this week, but next Friday I will.  If you sent me a poem, would you email me for confirmation that I received it.  It has been so hectic with getting mail in one place, and being split for weeks at a time this summer between ME and PA, and moving stuff that got put on top of or stuck inside of things by me or someone else if I wasn't around.  So disorganized at times.  Slowly we are getting things straight, but I could easily miss something.  I already know I've misplaced one exchange from Tabatha.  I took a picture of the envelope...remember reading it...and can't for the life of me find it now.  I've been back and forth to Maine a couple of times, or three, since I got it.  And often my husband has been here instead of me for that time, so who knows where he put it!  Our apartment is still in disarray and I seem to be constantly misplacing things because there is either no place for it yet, or it is hiding behind things that have no place to be yet!

This is just too much of a ranting explanation of the whirlwind that has become my life.  So I apologize for that, too!  Lol!

Gotta go.  I have to watch a grandchild for a bit.  I wonder if I can write a poem while I am there.  Maybe I'll "find" one in the above. 

Let's see.  1, 2, 3, GO!

Poetry of Life

Will it rhyme or be discordant?
Weep, or laugh, or be informant?
Is there some time to tell a tale,
Or will it be too soon, too stale?
While others gifted summer songs
I have sorted write from wrongs.
Random whirlwinds shuffled life
Ties were cut with dullish knife
But as all gales are settled down
I'll watch and wonder for the sound
Of rhyming whispers in my ear
(I'm hoping by the close of year)
Yet if fresh words are not relayed
Life's poetry's just been delayed;
To me, there is no better thing
Than making pen and paper sing.
I hope to soon resume the game
that calls for me to sign my name.
And not just on house buying stuff
Of that I've had my fill - enough!
Back to the whimsy of a write
That overtakes without a fight.

by Donna JT Smith

Okay.  I had a few interruptions mid every step today, but I persevered!  Just a little fight grasping words to slap on paper...or screen, that is.

Enjoy more poetry from me sporadically.  I will try to get around to YOU.  That may be easier than ME getting to writing.

Today's Poetry Friday host is Kathryn Apel, with two great books reviewed and a very nice bit of news!

Friday, August 16, 2019

Trees and More

It's time to celebrate poetry.  Today's topic is trees if ya got one....and I remembered this one I have on my I'm reposting it.  Yesterday I just happened to take a picture of this tree in the schoolyard where my grandchildren were learning to ride their bikes. It is a spectacular oak - so huge!  What a great thing for a school playground.  Though it was hot and muggy, the tree's shade made it the perfect temperature and you could feel a breeze sitting beneath its sheltering boughs.

Poet Tree

I wrote
one day
I really had
too much to say
I could not write it all
I was much too small but
then I learned about Haiku
so short and stout and then I
that would do
so I wrote a little poem
that said more than it’s words
and from that grew a wish and need
to spread
my words like apple seeds and learn not
to rhyme all the time
one day my tree grew branches and I had more to say
so much more and so much
white space
so I
in a
just a peek
one wee
and I
knew I had
to keep on
and keep
on looking
at the world
or no
Donna JT Smith, 4-19-2013

I am still unpacking where we have moved - having moved more things (too many more) from Maine to Pennsylvania on my return trip.  Ginger's here, too, again.  I think she misses the big runs she could have with her friend, Spicy.  Our lot is small and no more going out in a nightgown with messy hair (me not the dog), and she has to be on a leash...and I'm not running full tilt around the house five times with her.  Lots of changes.


I think I'm hungry,
want to go out;
I'm waiting and waiting
with doggy-ish pout.
Why do you dress up?
Why brush your hair,
when you know that I need
to get out for fresh air?
City living's exciting,
small dogs call it grand;
But somedays I miss
running free on the land,
and standing stock still
as a coyote howls
or listening nights to
the hooting of owls.
The deer and the turkeys
dwelt in our hood
I barked at them all
as loud as I could.
I miss all the smells
of the geese in the flats
and the porch nesting phoebes
who tormented the cat.
In the city we have
rabbits, squirrels and skunks
all of them acting like
rodentia punks -
though we all know a skunk
is a Mephitidae
still a skunk is a punk
and I'm sorry to say
I got up too close to the
the tail end of one,
and man, that thing stunk 
like a son of a gun!
I promise to never 
sniff skunks again.
So if you would hurry
just tell me when -
for I'm ready to leave
 and sniff only ants,
on my way to the yard
to water the plants.

by Donna JT Smith, 8/16/2019

Enjoy more poetry today by following the links on Wondering and Wandering, by Christie Wyman, our Poetry Friday host today.

Sunday, August 4, 2019



Once I was young
And free of most cares
Now that I’m older
I find that the stairs
Are higher and steeper
Than any I’ve known
But still I look back
On the garden I’ve sown
Everything’s good
Though perfection it’s not
Yet there is a story
Back there with a plot
It’s taken me here
To the next thrilling act
The cliffhanger page where
You’re missing some fact
So I lift my right foot
Then likewise my left
I drag myself up
Till I rest in the cleft
Yes the steps are much harder
The higher you climb
But the view from the top
Will be something sublime.

By Donna JT Smith 8/4/2019

Friday, August 2, 2019

My Children

Back 30 years ago, I drew these two portraits of my children from memory...not a copy of a photo.  I found them in our move.  Sometimes you just have to make some changes to find treasures you forgot you had.

Hannah, at age 5

Adam, at age 8
My grandchildren are these ages now.

Time,Treasures and Trains

When you thought you had it all
and you wanted time to stop
it didn't.
Thankfully it kept on going
to the next precious station.
Life, holding to
the track,
even when switching rails
treasures abounded
with more around
every corner
clutching your ticket
your journey
with twists, turns, jolts
and shifts
to reveal treasures
Remember to
look, listen
and live
in each time,
for each treasure
on each train.

by Donna JT Smith, 8/2/2019

It may not be my may be my fastest though!  I have to go get a van for moving more stuff this morning.  My train is barely slowing down today.
Hope I can get to read more posts tonight in a very empty house in Maine.
Here's how YOU can: visit Heidi Mordhorst at myjuicylittle universe for Poetry Friday!

Thursday, August 1, 2019


We are in the midst of some life-changing events lately.  And when you make big changes, you need to keep connections.  I kept coming back to connections in the middle of change....
Connectedness keeps you grounded.  When spaces change, people change and conditions change, you need to rely on the good connections you have established to keep you grounded yet moving forward.  That is my life now.  
I thank an unchanging God for the change to my life He brought, and for giving me all the connections we have established to draw on in daily life and in misty memories.  And that is all I can say. 
I started this poem yesterday when I was contemplating our move and its many complications, and the connections to the past it is evoking and enabling as we go through the changes.  It's all just a part of a whole picture unfinished, a leg of a journey you are still walking, a chapter yet to be read, a dot-to-dot to be colored in.


Pieces and parts
Layered together
Haggard heart tugging
A silvery tether

Shimmery pearls slide 
    Memories glide
Between each gem
    Years cushioning them

Seeds of next time
Yet someday to bloom
Reside in the new
Dispelling of gloom

A placement in time
   A trace of divine
We stretch our toes
   Where our heart goes

Up then down
Side to side
A grand new maze
Where lives collide

Seeming the same
   Renewing the game
Hope swells content
   With all minutes spent

In brilliant puzzle
Corners are pieced
Outer edges aligned
The picture released 

Still filling the inner
   Choices grow thinner
Uncharted the smiles
   In upcoming miles
Sweet story the middle
Seen from the edges
With golden the morning
Green growing the hedges

All is quite well
   Wherein we now dwell
Always September
   Remaining remembered.

by Donna JT Smith 8/1/2019

It was good to be able to write again.  It's been sporadic lately.  This morning I am sitting on our chairs in the kitchen or living room now.  I should have written here before...maybe with a pillow though.  This poem is giving me food for thought...I feel another poem in there somewhere.  Maybe after breakfast?

Thursday, May 30, 2019

The Ocean's Hunger

Thank you for visiting today.  I make it to as many Poetry Friday's as I can.  Lately it has become difficult to pop in.  But I am making an effort this evening (Thursday) to prepare a post for Friday.  I am in Maine and working with a number of fantastic people to help me prepare our Maine home for sale.  Never fear, we are keeping the home we are renovating elsewhere in Maine - but are selling our log home on an island on the coast.  So much to sort and move.

Some pictures in case you know a buyer!!

I don't remember where this thought came from, but in cleaning out things, I came across a notebook with bits and pieces of an unfinished poem, and I put it together into this now finished poem.  I am including my ocean watercolor, started, but not finished, of Hatchet Cove in Maine, where our home we are renovating is located.  For now we will be elsewhere.  I will finish it when we get back.

Ocean's Hunger

The hungry mouths of waves begin
to gnash and gnaw, the sand pulled in;
Earth doesn't struggle with the tides
Though back and forth the grains collide.
They gurgle, rush in ocean's throat 
As salty stew stirs them to float;
Away the grains are drawn to sink
To shift, to shape, to form new brink;
My settling heels record the debt   
And we are left to marvel yet
How all the world is set in motion
Through faithful tides of famished ocean,
How edges of our world collapse,
Bits carried far away perhaps
To surface once again all cleansed,
A seascape through some other lens,
Sating still a mind and soul
With crumbs of shore the ocean stole.

by Donna JT Smith, 2019

Visit Mary Lee Hahn at A Year of Reading today to see other poets' and poetry lovers' postings!

Sunday, May 26, 2019


Have a wonderful Sunday.

I want to learn to play this song...seems easy enough with lots of goodness in it.

Thursday, May 2, 2019

Spiritual Journey First Thursday - Spring

We are joining Carol Varsalona for a springtime Spiritual Journey first Thursday today for thoughts about the topic Spirit of Spring  paying homage to the earth and the Lord for creating it. 
Seriously, I have been so busy lately that today's post is being done in a rush.  And I don't feel like it should be rushed.  No one should rush spring!
Spring is the setting up of the maturity of summer.  If you don't plant in spring, what harvest will there be?
So though I like to sit back and enjoy the warmer days and the hidden gifts beneath the dead leaves, there are also things to do before it is over and summer sets in.  Summer is the time to enjoy the fullness.  Fall is the time to harvest for Winter.  But Spring is the awakening again, and the start of...eeesh...getting ready for Winter, really.  Don't rush Spring.  Pay attention to it.  Nurture it.  Feed it.  So Summer will gladly arrive and you can THEN watch it unfold into what you set it up to be.
I'm doing that.  In my own life, I am well past Spring.  I like to think I'm in Summer...but I know parts of me are feeling the Fall coming on.  When I was in Spring, I set myself up for my Fall years.  I know there's a Winter coming.  But as long as I can, I am going to nurture my little Springs, be there for my Summers even as I enter Fall.  And when Winter comes, the Springs will be all ready to mature into the Summers we hope they will be.
You know what was so much fun this morning, just before writing this?  I was sitting with my newly five year old granddaughter as she put her magical fairy garden together on the dining room table, and she was humming and whispery singing, "Endless summer I can see for miles, fun, fun, fun and the whole world smiles..." 

Spring.  Thank you, God.  I will nurture Spring while it is here.  I'm not Winter yet.

Tuesday, April 30, 2019

Z is for ZZZZZ and ZUCHINI #AtoZ Challenge

If you are here for the progressive poem - click here to get there!
This month has been lots of fun.  I don't know what NEXT April will be like.  There are not many vanity plates in PA at all.  Maybe road names...those are interesting here!  Guess you will have to check back in April, but hope you will check back before that!

Z is for ZZZZZ and Zuchini...

Sleeping Zucchini

Zucchini seeds slept in the garden
Planted in early spring.
Zucchini seeds dozed in the warm soil
Heard the robins sing.
Zucchini seeds yawned venturing a root down
into the warming dirt.
Zucchini seeds stretched their seed leaves
unfolding green and pert.
Zucchini plants spread from here to there
awake and doing fine.
Zucchini plants grew gold blossoms
and twisted round and twined.
Zucchini fruit (or vegetable?) grew
sleeping in the field.
We got more unteeny zucchini
than one garden should ever yield.
Next year there'll be no zucchini;
it's too much a garden boss.
Forget "fake-sleeping" zucchinis -
I think I'll plant some moss.

By Donna JT Smith ©2019

Special thanks to Red, for using my "license plate" prompt to write your Z post today!  Head over to Doesn't Speak Klingon to read the short story for Z.

I'll be back soon with more poems, just not AtoZ Challenge.  April is over...on to May!

Monday, April 29, 2019

Progressive Poem Final Line is Here

The entire Progressive Poem is here today! (if you are here for Z - go HERE)
These are the poets that contributed a line each to Irene Latham's brainchild, the Progressive Poem.  This year's poem was begun by Matt Forrest Esenwine, with a great idea: using found lyrics from songs.  Each day a new poet added a new "found" line from a song...right up until today.  Today is the last day, and it is my turn to supply a line.  
I have written a rather lengthy explanation of what went on in my head and on paper.  You can, of course, read it, or skip down to the ending...well, not the ENDING... save that.  Go to the middle where the poem is, to read the last line.  Then go to the END if you are in the mood for - um - a laugh?  more music? something different?
April 2019 Progressive Poem Contributors and their lines:

  2 Kat @KathrynApel

  3 Kimberly @KimberlyHutmacherWrites

  4 Jone @DeoWriter

  5 Linda @TeacherDance

  6 Tara @Going to Walden

  8 Mary Lee @AYear of Reading

  9 Rebecca @RebeccaHerzog

10 Janet F. @LiveYour Poem

13 Doraine @DoriReads

17 Amy @ThePoem Farm

18 Linda @AWord Edgewise

20 Buffy @Buffy'sBlog

21 Michelle @MichelleKogan

22 Catherine @Readingto the Core

25 Jan @Bookseestudio

26 Linda @WriteTime

27 Sheila @Sheila Renfro

29 Irene @Live Your Poem

30 Donna @Mainely Write

Here is a list of each line's source:

L1 The Who, ‘I Can See for Miles’/The Beach Boys, ‘Endless Summer’
L2 The Beach Boys, ‘Fun, Fun, Fun’/Dean Martin, ‘When You’re Smiling’
L3 The Jamies, ‘Summertime, Summertime’
L4 The Doors, Summer’s Almost Gone’/Led Zeppelin ‘Good Times, Bad Times’
L5 Ray Bradbury, “Dandelion Wine”
L6 Joni Mitchell, “Chelsea Morning”
L7 Paul Simon, “Kodachrome,” “Dazzling Blue”
L8 Dan Fogelberg, “Run for the Roses”
L9 Spice Girls, “Wannabe”/Will Smith, “Gettin’ Jiggy Wit It”
L10 The Beatles, “Good Day Sunshine”
L11 The Carpenters, “Top of the World”
L12 Lin-Manuel Miranda, “Underneath the Lovely London Sky” from Mary Poppins Returns
L13 Carole King, “Hi-de-ho (That Old Sweet Roll)”
L14 Steve Miller, “Fly Like An Eagle”
L15 Don Felder, “Wild Life”
L16 Nowleen Leeroy, “Song of the Sea” (lullaby)
L17 Sara Bareilles, “She Used to Be Mine” from WAITRESS
L18 Stevie Wonder, “Isn’t She Lovely”
L19 R.E.M., “Find the River”
L20 Carole King, “Way Over Yonder”
L21 Mint Juleps, “Groovin” by the Young Rascals
L22 Jack Johnson, “Upside Down”
L23 Kermit the Frog (Jim Henson) “Rainbow Connection” from the Muppet Movie
L24 The Foo Fighters, “Learning to Fly”
L25 Tina Turner, “The Best”
L26 The Partridge Family, “Summer Days”
L27 The Pointer Sister’s, “We Are Family”
L28 Indigo Girls, “Power of Two”
L29 David Bowie, "Let's Dance"
L30 ?

And here's the link to the playlist that was created with the songs from which the lyrics came.

First, let me say, this has been a long month, what with the AtoZ Challenge (if you are here for Z - go HERE) and National Poetry Month with a poem a day and all!  And then following along with the Progressive Poem. I've watched and read with trepidation, wondering what line I could "find" in music to wrap up this poem into a conclusion that matched its summery, "dare to be" song medley.  I was coming up with nothing for the first week.  But that is expected.  You have no idea where it will go.  The best I could hope for was a happy coincidence that one of the lines or songs I was thinking of would actually work by the time the 29th writer had finished.  So I waited.  At first I didn't read it every day.  I waited for two or three days, so I wouldn't be tempted to get ahead of myself in planning.

BUT THEN...OH, MY WORD (did I say that already??)

BUT THEN... one day it occurred to me that I could maybe make a found poem with what was there.  And thus began my journey in earnest... and at last I could start doing more than just reading and waiting.  It was scary to do that and realize that suddenly I'd have to come up with a finale to contribute in 24 hours.

OH,, I won't say it again.  But I got this idea that made me so excited to get started, and I could start now... I would not go looking for a song, but do the ultimate in the "found" category, by using the "found" words in the created poem, to create a "found" last line!

I wrote the lines and took words in order, anxiously awaiting each day's offering.  To spread out the "found words" that had been supplied, I decided to try to write a line 8-12 words long, with at least 2 words in each section - dividing the poem up into 10 lines each (except 9 on the last, as mine would be the 10th of that section).

And then suddenly another inspiration hit somewhere around April 15.

What would it be like if I took the poem in reverse - total reverse, not just lines but first word last?  It would help me to be free of phrases in songs and see the individual words.  It might end up feeling more like a summing up or a back to the beginning of the poem at the end - a cyclical kind of thing?  Or maybe it would be just something altogether different?

At any rate, I decided to try it.

I took what I had and wrote each line backwards, adding them in reverse order - most recently written at the beginning.  I kind of liked the feeling of liberation.  So I continued writing each line in reverse order, starting with the first line, first word at the end.

I kept my division of the poem into thirds to divide up the lines to give me some "spread" over the whole poem. And from these words I selected the last line of the Progressive Poem.  It is a compilation of the song words.

The one thing that I found out about this process was that it became more and more exciting to see what words I would have available to use in the final line of the poem.  I watched and wrote backwards every day from that moment on, trying out different lines - or parts of lines.  I could not finish until the last line was offered!

Here are the lines backwards - and the underlined words are the selected last line:

*PUT LINES 20-29 HERE - pick 2-4 words
moonlight serious this moonlight the under sway let's two of power the by life multiply do you things the and you in faith have free be we’ll and hand my hold best the simply you’re life of sign a for looking stargazing us keeps that amazing so what’s curiosity stopping no there’s be to want we anyone be can we… runs honey the where land the to
"And free we’ll be -"

go to years light than now closer we’re old minute one than less know to easy not it’s deep the diving waves the waltzing me with come you won’t oh veins my in tiger a there’s and sea the to eagle an like fly wanna I sky the o’ piece a me get gonna today called it’s here tomorrow’s eyes my in sun the got sky the in cloud a not
"We’re diving in! Gonna"

down shining is sun the walk a take we’ll come go let’s set ready forever last it make lifetime a of chance the it’s blue dazzling greens Kodachrome today of portrait a on opens curtain the window your from lean rise to only had you day every and each sea laughin’ the swim we play to time just school for time no smiles world whole the and fun miles for see can I summer endless
"take a chance on summer!"

And now for the last line ...
Drum roll....
Um, and I've set it to music with a refrain.  Me and my!  I'm a beginner remember, so nothing fancy.  But I'll send you the lyric with chords if you like.  The music is at the end.

1 Endless summer; I can see for miles…
2 Fun, fun, fun – and the whole world smiles
3 No time for school- just time to play
4 we swim the laughin’ sea each and every day
5 You had only to rise, lean from your window,
6 the curtain opens on a portrait of today:
7 Kodachrome greens, dazzling blue
8 it's the chance of a lifetime
9 make it last forever–ready? Set? Let’s Go
10 Come, we’ll take a walk, the sun is shining down
11 Not a cloud in the sky, got the sun in my eyes
12 Tomorrow’s here. It’s called today. 
13 Gonna get me a piece o' the sky.
14 I wanna fly like an eagle, to the sea
15 and there's a tiger in my veins  
16 Oh, won't you come with me waltzing the waves, diving the deep?
17 It's not easy to know
18 less than one minute old
19 we’re closer now than light years to go
20 To the land where the honey runs
21 …we can be anyone we want to be
22 There’s no stopping curiosity
23 What’s so amazing that keeps us stargazing?
24 Looking for a sign of life
25 You're simply the best
26 Hold my hand and we'll be free
27 Have faith in you and the things you do
28 Multiply life by the power of two.
29 Let's sway under the moonlight, this serious moonlight,
30 And free we'll be - we're diving in! Gonna take a chance on summer! 

I found this guy in Target at the Starbucks there wearing this hoodie on Sunday afternoon.  I had to ask him if I could take a picture of his back... not too strange a request, right?  So I put the poem on it.  It enlarges to be more readable.

And now the finale - just because I "could"...well, not because I could really, but because I wanted to try and SEE if I could do it....I got my ukulele this month and am teaching myself, so I can maybe teach the basics to my granddaughter.
I set the poem to music (of sorts).  So, here I am playing my ukulele - my debut performance, lol! - I wrote the lines in order in the song, but used the first two lines for the chorus, then figured out chords, practiced and FINALLY played and sang ... right here:

Voila!  Now, my thought for a title is...

How about a found one using just the TITLES of the songs?

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...