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, MY...no, 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 ukulele...lol!  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?

Y is for YAY-CAT #AtoZ Challenge

One more day in April.  One more day for National Poetry Month.  One more day for the AtoZ Challenge.  I am writing a poem a day for April, and except for Sundays, the poems are inspired by vanity plates in Maine.

Y is for YAY-CAT:

Super Cat

Yay, cat!
My feline hero!
Cat score - one,
Mousie - zero!

Gone that mouse
From my house

Way to go!
Job done well
Hooray, cat!
Rest a spell.

Mouse won’t roam
In your home.

Yay, me - meow!
I’ll take my beow.
Then curl up here -
Nap time neow.

By Donna JT Smith ©2019

Sunday, April 28, 2019

Sunday: Fancy Note and Haiku

Sunday is a no AtoZ Challenge day....Monday is Y.
But it's still National Poetry Month, so here is Sunday's poem!  And a late posted fancy note to the Easter Bunny.

A note to the Easter Bunny - misplaced "the" - but what do you expect when you are concentrating on making your letters fancy and doing it all on your own...just shy of 5 years old:
Easter Bunny
Please enthe 
 (please enjoy the carrots)

My morning window inspired Sunday haiku:
beyond this portal
sweet invisible curls waft
petals beckoning

by Donna JT Smith ©2019

Clothing inspired Sunday haiku:
indigo heaven
simple white dots, silver spots
stars He made displayed
 by Donna JT Smith ©2019

Saturday, April 27, 2019

X is for XPRESV #AtoZ Challenge

X is for XPRESV:
Here are some plate I found in storage.  I did not find a new one for this year.

Expressive Impressions

When you have a car
and a great something to say
you get a license plate
as a way to display
What you like to do
your hobby, your work
maybe your name,
or some other odd quirk.
Better than a sticker
to put on a bumper
But some of these plates
can be real a stumper -
Like X2RNR...
what's that about?
Others are XSELNT
...a vanity shout...
If you have the need
to be all XPRESV
Get a vanity plate
and you'll be impressive.

by Donna JT Smith ©2019

Friday, April 26, 2019

W is for WHAT3VR #AtoZ Challenge

Day 23 in the AtoZ Challenge is the letter W.
It is also National Poetry Month.  So I am writing a poem a day this month inspired by vanity plates spied around parking lots in Maine in 2018.

W is for WHAT3VER
I didn’t think I liked this poem.  First, it  doesn't rhyme.  Second, I started out thinking I wanted it to go in a different direction - which it did - not MY direction!
And because it wasn't a direction I thought I'd go...like why was I writing about "ants"???... I didn’t feel like writing it.
But ants are on my mind.  We have been battling these small ants in the house lately, and whatever we did this morning while pulling some weeds stirred a huge nest and they came parading out of nowhere, and then gathering in large groups on the walkway at the front of the house.  They were the same kind as we'd seen inside the house, so I killed them all...sorry for those of you who think I should just fence them off or take them somewhere to set them free in the wild.  That just isn’t going to happen!

So the "whatever" poem of sorts came to mind while I was sitting here wondering what to write.  And here it is. 
After I wrote it, I read it.  It isn't as bad as I thought it was going to be when I set out to write.  Lots of times - and this was one of them - I don't even know if I am the writer or just the conduit... maybe there was an ant ghost whispering in my ear.

Whatever Ants Know

Ants know the small parts
Of the large
The crevices of tree bark
The sand and pebble pockets
Of sidewalks
The blunt edge of a sharp
Blade of grass
Ants know the roundness
Of a drop of rain on dry pavement
Does it fear the one drop
That has the power to drown?
Does is flinch at the shadow of
A bumblebee or crow?
Ants know the tickle of soil
On antennae above their heads,
And know which is weightier, a grain
of sand or a leaf wedge.
Ants know whatever is deemed
Important in their downsized world;
Plants are plants, garden or wild,
Houses are just hillsides with a different interior,
Sidewalks go on forever with the occasional
Oasis of green grass in a deep ravine.
Whatever an ant knows
Is important to us also
Just in a different perspective, proportion
Or portion.
Do ants know people exist before they
Feel their last whatever?

By Donna JT Smith ©2019

It is also Poetry Friday!!
Let's see what else is out there to read!  Go check out the links at our host's site:
Carol Varsalona at Beyond Literacy where she is hosting the last Poetry Friday of National Poetry Month.

Thursday, April 25, 2019

V is for VIOLIN1 #AtoZ Challenge

Day 22 in the AtoZ Challenge is the letter V.
It is also National Poetry Month.  So I am writing a poem a day this month inspired by vanity plates spied around parking lots in Maine in 2018.

V is for VIOLIN 1:

Four Strings

The instrument that should have been
is a sleek and squeaky violin.
I asked my mother could I play
and she said, "I don't think today
would be so great to start that noise
for Sunday's your dad quite enjoys
the peace and quiet of football
and not a stormy violin squall."
No other days were good she said
for migraine's would engulf her head,
and so I never got to play
an instrument until today...
a ukulele...
Granddaughter says she likes it fine
and has one too, almost like mine.
So there.
    Taking uke out for a spin;
don't need no squeaky violin!
We will play ookoo-lay-lay duets,
and I am taking wagers and bets
that she will far out-ring my strings -
her little fingers are borne on wings.
While mine are stable in their ways,
they're not as nimble as younger days.
Yet still these four strings want to sing
There's surely not a more wondrous thing
Than sitting side by side with her
strumming four strings to make them purr.

by Donna JT Smith ©2019

...her 21" soprano ukulele and my 23" concert ukulele
Finger on C...

Wednesday, April 24, 2019

U is for Unveil #AtoZ Challenge

I am doing a poem a day this month for National Poetry Month.  The poems are inspired by Maine vanity license plates I've photographed over the past year. 

Day 22 of the AtoZ Challenge is dedicated to the letter U!  And my U word is UNVEIL... 

The trees in fall becoming bare have rare and colorful beauty;
I wish they'd always look that way
For bright colored leaves just suit me.

It's always sad to see them go to drift and swirl to ground,
Unveiling all the tree branches
with a farewell swishing sound.

The winter snows attempt a veil with fluff and puffs of white,
But in the sun the snows unveil
and melt without a fight.

Winter's stark and dark will end when lightly springs the veil
On breezes blue with yellow sun -
as green tulle freshens stale.

Once more the trees are under wraps of multi-hues of green;
their heads all covered and their limbs
with nests, in veils, unseen.

Then summer's end sees all that change to colors red and gold,
until again the trees, unveiled,
Return to gray and cold.

We'll seek again spring's drape of green, we know its sure return;
This veil of haze rewards our gaze
From tree's top down to fern.

by Donna JT Smith©2019

Tuesday, April 23, 2019

T is for TIMESTU #AtoZ Challenge

Day 20 in the AtoZ Challenge, the 23rd day of National Poetry Month.  I'm writing a poem a day inspired by vanity plates found in Maine in 2018.
Today T is for TIMESTU.

First - Is this "Tim, es tu?" or "Time stew" or "Times 2?  The world will never know...I did not get to talk to the owners of the vehicle.  So it is my call.  I think it is "times two".  However, my brain went with...

Time Stew

Just when I think I have it planned
It's poured into the pot
Astir with all the other things
Becoming what I'd not
expected or even wanted -
the unthinkable unthought wrought
We made do with the unplanned stew
and found it's not so bad
to have the life you didn't think
you'd have but now you had.
If I could take stuff from the stew
and rearrange this time,
I don't think I could do it better;
I think it's gone just fine.

by Donna JT Smith ©2019

Monday, April 22, 2019

S is for SEA MATE and SOL-M8

Day 19 of the AtoZ Challenge, where I am gathering Maine vanity plates alphabetically.  Today is S.
It is also National Poetry month, day 22 of a poem a day for April!

S is for SEA MATE and SOL-M8

My soul mate is my sea mate
we both fish in the deep
With traps and line,
both hers and mine.
In faith we took the leap
to fish together all our days
and weather every storm;
and so we sail
through every gale,
and keep each other warm.
When at last our boat hits land,
the ending of our journey
her heart and mine
remain entwined -
she with me and blue sea.

by Donna JT Smith ©2019

Some extra plates for S:

Sunday, April 21, 2019

Easter - A Vanity Plate Found Poem

Today I have written an Easter poem using only vanity plates.  At the end I also gathered extra plates collected over the past few years that might be used in a Bible passage or sermon/message:

Happy Easter

For what shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul?” 
Mark 8:36
Here's my Easter Poem on a Plate for today, using only the plates - a found poem!.  Can you read it?  I've put the poem below the plates.

Easter Message on a Plate

Hey, you!

Give thanks

In faith,

Look up,
Know Him;
God loves you!

Jesus -

I am 
the only one.

by Donna JT Smith ©2019

Saturday, April 20, 2019

R is for READ2M

It's R today for AtoZ!
R is for ride, too.  Our motorcycles arrived yesterday evening in perfect shape.  I had my denim skirt on, but I took it for a spin around the block as soon as it hopped out of the van...no helmet, no jacket, no gloves, no valid license plate...what a Rebel!  Boy, did that feel fine!  Now to get our driver's licenses here and get these registered and inspected here.  Sigh.  No real riding until that is done.

R is for READ2M - I thought first it was Read 2 ME and then I reread it... ah, "read to 'em" - probably a teacher's plate.

Read to Them

Read to them
   the books they need
   the books they want
   the books they breathe

read to them
   and give them words
   and give them thoughts
   and give them...birds

      and dinosaurs
      and little bugs
      and knowledge that's
      like little hugs

read to them
   from days of old
   those tales we loved
   that we were told

read to them
   of Alice, Seuss,
   of Treasure Isle
   and Mother Goose.

read to them
   the tried and true
   then read to them
   of something new

      comparing hair
      lights in the night
      how poems sing
      about Great White

read to them
   and read some more
   sit on the bed
   sit on the floor

   whatever you do
   wherever and when
   just remember to
read to them.

by Donna JT Smith ©2019

7th stanza references to:
*Can I Touch Your Hair by Irene Latham and Charles Waters
*Flashlight Night by Matt Forrest Esenwine
*Bayou Song by Margaret Gibson Simon
*Great White Sharks in Action by Buffy Silverman

Friday, April 19, 2019

Q is for QUANDRY #AtoZ Challenge

First, it is Poetry Friday..  so you have to opportunity to read and relish poetry from all around the world today, just by clicking on a few links at Amy Ludwig VanDerwater, our Poetry Friday host today at The Poem Farm.
Secondly, yesterday was Poem in Your Pocket day - though no one seemed to know that.  But I gave my grandson poems to be handed out at school anyway - he handed out 30 poems for kids to put in their pockets!   I visited our local library and handed out a few myself.  I figured, why not?  It was a school break day for some area schools, so there were parents and students everywhere.

And then a side note...our motorcycles arrive today sometime, along with my helmet, jacket and boots!  So exciting.  Hope the trip goes smoothly!

And now for AtoZ Q day.  Honestly, this has been the worst letter every year!  People just don't like using Q on their plates.  I have used these all in the past on Q day.
Q is for...QUANDR3 - I made my own plate and posted all my other years entries...I'm not liking Q.  When I get back to Maine, I think I'll have to think of a good Q vanity plate for my car.
Really Q?

It’s a quandary, a difficulty,
A dilemma with no end;
My plight is for the letter Q
And rules I’ve had to bend.

I’m bewildered, it’s a puzzle,
Though predictable predicament.
I’m in pickle, in a bind,
And in awed bewilderment!

The hang-up is the letter Q,
The letter after P -
All the other letters aren't
Fraught with perplexity.

The impasse I’ve arrived at,
This sheer uncertainty,
Of where my next plate comes from,
Is not my cup of tea.

Q could have been for QWEST
Instead I’m left with nothing
And it just makes me sick.

So please, if you are reading this
And wondering what to do
Please reconsider plates with K
And changing them to Q.


By Donna JT Smith ©2019

For AtoZ in 2018, I had this plate and wrote this poem:

One and two and three and four.
Strumming on guitar?
Or counting?
by Donna JT Smith,  ©2018
I wrote a Quinzaine for this one.
A quinzaine is an unrhymed verse of fifteen syllables in three lines with the syllable distribution of 7/5/3.  The first line is a statement and the next two lines ask a question relating to the first line.
Quatro = four in Spanish
Quatro = a small guitar with four or five strings or pairs of strings, used in Latin American and Caribbean music.
In 2017 this was my posted poem and explanation:
So, you say, this doesn't begin with a Q.  But, see those two Q's!  So this counts.  And it is the only one I could find besides GQQD LF which I used a while ago on a Sunday this month.


said Doc BrownCow,
"I think she'll be fine!"
Said Mommoose.
"I'll cut down on the pine."
"She does needed some fiber
But stick to the reeds,
That's all the fiber
a growing moose needs."
QT Moosey moaned,
"No more piney trees?
I love how they taste;
Just one more tree, please?"
"You heard Doc BrownCow now,
Not one more tree, dear;
You must eat in the marsh;
Doc BrownCow was quite clear!"
"I promise," QT said,
Then they moosied on down
For a snaque in the swamp
Brows furrowed with frown;.
They lunched on some ferns
For growing strong bones,
But then came dessert -
A cool treat of pine cones.

by Donna JT Smith, 4/19/2017

So, forgive me for no Q at the beginning?

On my first vanity plate year, 2016, I only had this one:
I didn't have a clue what to write about this one, not having any idea what it could possibly refer to.  Then I did a quick Google of the letters and came up with Quidditch, a game in the Harry Potter books.  I've not read or seen any Harry Potter stuff, so was at a loss as to what to write.  I researched this elaborate and kinda violent game, and this is what I came up with:

What, you have never heard of Quidditch?
You do not know the sport of Wizzes?
Why everyone who's anyone
Plays it and knows what this is.

1 seeker, 3 chasers, 2 beaters, 1 keeper
Make up two seven person teams;
Add 2 Bludgers and a Quaffle ball:
It's not as confusing as it seems.

Astride brooms players dodge the Bludgers;
The Seekers snatch the Snitch,
While Chasers try to score with Quaffle -
Worth 10 points in the game Quidditch.

Snatching Snitch earns 30 points
To bring it to an end;
If you're confused, you aren't alone -
How 'bout a game of chess, my friend?

by Donna JT Smith, 2016, all rights reserved

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...