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.

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...