Friday, August 18, 2017

Study the Insignificant

As the years have slipped by in the past 5 or 6 years I've been blogging, I've noticed that the  Poetry Friday offerings and Tabatha's Poem Swaps have matured and grown in depth and beauty - as I guess they would.

Wouldn't it be fun one of these Friday's to repost one of our earlier works with a new one - side by side, to see the growth?  Maybe that will be a post for another week.

Today, I have a poem in response to Irene Latham, who last Friday, inspired me to look at the Greek philosophers and use a quote as the basis for a poem.  I settled on a quote by Odysseus Elytis: "You'll come to learn a great deal if you study the Insignificant in depth".

Thanks, Irene, for inspiring me to squeeze out another bit of a poem!  It started out, just a study of a dandelion - that insignificant flowering weed.  I was going describe parts of it, but its small voice spoke to me.  It did not see itself as insignificant, nor a weed.  Perhaps we need to put ourselves in a better light, too.

The Small Sun

When I looked at the dandelion
Its sun sparkled countenance
Returned my gaze;
Its small rays reached toward the heavens
To touch the sun’s own outstretched
burly beams.
“Pick me and see
I am the twin
Of that orb in the blue,”
I held up the radiant blossom
By its pale hollow stem
and eclipsed the sun
With its grin.

by Donna JT Smith, 8/13/2017

My OLW "reach(ed)" is here, too!

Today I am in PA at Sight and Sound to see "Jonah"!  So excited to see it later tonight.  We've seen "In the Beginning God" and "Samson" in other years.  It is such an impressive production.  If you ever have the chance to go - go!  It is amazing and you will not be disappointed. 

Friday, August 11, 2017

Poetry Friday

I have been busy with grandchildren this week.  They are leaving just after lunch, so the legos, stuffed animals, crayons and gluten foods are all being put away until the next visit!
I have been writing some when I get the chance - mostly early morning or during nap time.
I wanted to share one of the days:

We went to the playground behind our local school where the kids climbed, swung, slid and ran, and ran, and ran.  And then they discovered a little house on a pole.  It was a Little Free Library.  I explained to them what that was, and how they could each pick a book and we'd put two back on our next visit.
My grandson, soon to be six, picked Chris VanDusen's "If I Built a Car" to take home.  It is an awesome book, written and illustrated by VanDusen, and the rhyming is just the way I like it!  And just right for my grandchildren, too!  Yay!
By request, his mom read it that night before bed.  The next day he had determined that he would design some cars himself.  He asked me if I had some paper he could use, and we rustled up some printer paper and some pencils and pens.
He began working, and continued during quiet time/naptime in his room, just like in the pictures in the book.  He emerged at the end of nap with more images to post on the refrigerator.
He wanted to build one now.  His mom asked if he was going to build a prototype and explained what a prototype was.  Yes, he would build some prototypes.
He set up a shop on the coffee table in the living room, with two Lego boxes and one of his drawings.  The first thing he built was the hot dog car - as seen in the book (the red and yellow car).  Many more cars followed.  It is a good thing that years earlier my son was really into Legos - and that I'd kept them all!  My grandson needed lots of blocks and wheels!  Oh, and doors!


My story/poem ... inspired by my grandson, the book "If I Built a Car" and the book "If You Give a Mouse a Cookie":

"If You Give a Boy a Book"

If you give a boy a book
He will want to read it.
Reading it will give him ideas.
When he gets an idea,
he will need a pencil.
And if he asks for a pencil,
he will also need some paper!
When he gets his paper,
he will lie down on his belly to draw...
He will ask for a blanket!
The blanket will be cozy and
he will think about taking
a nap.
When he thinks about taking a nap,
He will turn off the light.
That will make it too dark so see his paper,
and will ask for a flashlight.
His flashlight will remind him of
headlights!
Headlights will remind him of
cars, and
He loves cars!
He will start to draw a car with his pencil.
When he finishes drawing the headlights,
he will realize that
cars need tail lights, too.
He will need crayons to make them red.
He will ask for some crayons.
When he gets crayons,
he will begin to color the car,
And draw lots more cars.
And pretty soon
he will have LOTS of pictures
on LOTS of papers.
He will ask for a stapler
to make a book.
And if a boy has a book
He will want to read it!

**********************************

One of his very detailed cars - in blue ink

Timelines

Permanent ink lines
Linking a book, a boy and
Transient cherished time.

by Donna JT Smith (aka Nannie)


Poetry Friday, it is!  Follow me!  I'm going to visit Margaret at Reflections on the Teche!  She's hostess for her birthday party today serving up delicious poetry.

Thursday, August 3, 2017

Poetry Friday Here, Here!

Today is Poetry Friday, and I am hosting the party!  Yay!  Post your link for the party here:

Made with Padlet

Poetry Friday Padlet Linkups



It is summer.  Why, I remember it as if it were only yesterday when it was raining and I heard a robin's sweet song and I saw the first sweet rosebud on my rosebush by our house...

Sweet, huh?

So speaking of roses and sweet, my poem for today is about the beach rose - Rosa Rugosa - that can be found along roadsides and along beaches here in Maine. They are the absolute best smelling rose ever!  There's nothing like them for filling the air and surprising you with their sweet aroma as you pass by.  I have some roses given to us in memory of my parents, and from our church when we moved.

When Joy shared Jone's postcard and challenged us to write a poem about a little insignificant thing, I started writing this poem, and remembered I'd taken this picture a couple of days ago at the beach:
And after writing and posting the poem, I realized I'd also incorporated my One Little Word "Reach" in the poem, too!

RR Crossing the Sands

Rosa stands
In arid sands
With much to teach
About reach
Roots stray
Bursting to day
Unshadowed
By mother
Forming another
Clustered
Mustered
Family
She carefully aimed
And claimed
More beach:
Rosa’s breach.


The area in front of my house where we planted three rosa rugosas, is being taken over by new roses sprouting up all around the originals.  I laid stone around the area a couple of years ago, and there are new shoots coming up between the stones.  As beautiful as these roses are, they are a bit intrusive.  I am researching how to transplant some, so they can go with us to Friendship and so that my daughter and son can take some to their homes, too.  Though they are very hardy and resourceful when left to themselves, I have not been successful at transplanting any yet!

New Beginnings

Today is Spiritual Journey First Thursday and is hosted by Julianne at To Read To Write To Be.  The topic is New Beginnings.

I am a little bit unfocused on this topic, as I begin to write.  I have been ready for a new beginning that was to have happened this summer, and had it "called off" or at least "delayed for an undetermined length of time"...

Because the move was supposed to be happening on May 1, we packed most everything we thought we'd need at the new house; and made piles for Goodwill, for a yard sale, to give to our kids, to give to church, of trash, to keep, and of "I don't know about this stuff yet".
We started attending our new church just over an hour away from our present home, but closer to our new one...if we were there, that would make it convenient...but we aren't, so it isn't.
Kitchen in a Box... an ending or a beginning?
Then the hold-up occurred on the house.  Kitchen cabinets were kind of massacred and needed to be torn out and reordered from scratch.  When we were told the delay would be at least 8 weeks, we stopped treading water and kind of started drowning in stuff.  All our delays prior to this one had been for the ultimate good.  And so we must believe that this one was for some unknown, maybe never known, reason, though a good one.

But we'd never really seen a finish line before.  We'd never really started preparing for a move.  This time it seemed it would really happen, so we had begun the process - a process that has now essentially stopped mid-stride.  We are living in piles of stuff.  We stopped sorting.  Stopped throwing away.  Stopped caring.  Caring seemed to be too emotional, and we wanted to make it less stressful.  We wouldn't make it that important; it wasn't that important. 

However, instead of getting down to business and sorting at a more leisurely pace, we stopped that, too.  Beach trips, motorcycle jaunts, Starbucks, grand kids have all taken priority.  And now it is August with nothing more done.  I'm sitting in a mess, with few clothes to choose from each day.  I spend precious minutes searching for the paper towels or other items we've bought, but didn't want to put them "away - away".  Filling cabinets with stuff again seems so counterproductive!

New beginnings.  Sigh.  It seems that there is something wrong with the way we handled this delay in our new beginning.  Every morning I started with the thought that it would be different today.  Today I would surely pack more for the move or even unpack a small box of things I know we could use.
But which to do?  And then we'd go on a motorcycle ride to the beach.
We should really have a yard sale on Saturday.  But wouldn't a picnic be more fun?
The sun is shining.  It's hot in the house.  Let's go to the Flea Market.

Forget the new beginnings.  Each day is a new beginning for us.  And it doesn't matter where we are.  I have determined to stop feeling guilty for living in limbo and not attending to the day to day as well as I should.  I have determined - not quite succeeded yet - to just be content.

Not that I speak in respect of want: for I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content.  Philippians 4:11

I can't tell you how much I like to repeat this verse to myself!  It isn't permission to be stagnant, but it is a commission to be satisfied in what I have been given, and I have been given a lot.

New Beginnings

Beginnings and endings,
so closely aligned:
When one thing begins
an ending's resigned!
And though we might like
to hold on to the past,
Each new beginning is
better than last.
Reach for beginnings,
release what's been spent,
Rejoice in the chance
to enjoy what's been sent.
Begin each beginning
with smile and with grace;
And know that its ending's
just a lap in the race.

by Donna JT Smith, Aug. 1, 2017

Side Note: I'm thankful for receiving this poem - wherever in my brain it came from.  I was having a minor (which is always major for me) meltdown immediately after writing this post.  Then this poem suddenly emerged, and I am better now.  Breathing again.  Reaching.
Amazing how much that poem helped remind me of all the wonderful beginnings I've had in my life.  And that there are more to come.

Thursday, July 27, 2017

Storm Poem in 14 Words

Today is Poetry Friday...though I'm posting this on Thursday, this is my poem share.  Thanks Linda Mitchell at A Word Edgewise, for hosting this gathering today.  I love your "Auction" of beginning lines today.  Such fun!  It would be fun to try in a face to face group, too, where you can hear the poets' thoughts and bids for a line!
I am stealing the line, I've won my bid for
Laura Purdie Salas has her 15 Words or Less Poem Challenge today, with a picture of a storm brewing over a skyline.  Here's my offering today.  It reminded me of a storm coming in over the trees and bluffs of Hokah, Minnesota, when we lived there - and LaCrosse, Wisconsin, when I taught there back a lifetime ago!  It's been long enough that I can look at it differently; back then it was much more serious.  Not sure I ever smiled when a storm laughed overhead.  Especially that one that leveled the home we were building and strew the broken pieces of the house over the valley.  Not funny at all, unless you ARE the storm.

This was not in MN - but in ME one night while out riding around.


Storm

Firs and bluffs
Tickle the sky
Chortles rumble
As tears tumble
From storm’s eye.

Donna JT Smith,
July 27, 2017


Friday, July 21, 2017

A Rhino-Whine

Poetry Friday, yippee! This week's hostess is Katie at The Logonauts.
 
Today is a Rhino-Whine...inspired when I saw Mary Lee Hahn's post about her stuffed rhino and the book Rhino in the House, the true story of saving Samia by Daniel Kirk.  Now I might have to read Rhinos Don't Eat Pancakes by Anna Kemp, which I discovered when I looked at the Samia book on Amazon.  Reading...writing...learning... it's just a never-ending cycle!
I ordered, on Amazon, the Shel Silverstein book Who Wants a Cheap Rhinoceros, and bought a stuffed rhino for my grandson when he was here last week. 


BTW: This figure was one I found on the beach between rocks.  He'd been abandoned between a rock and a hard place, so I picked him up off the deserted beach and took him home. 

My grandson, who is now 5 11/12, loves the rescued man, the book and the stuffed animal. It was his idea to recline the man on the rhino's snout (look back at the book and rhino picture), copying the picture on the book cover.   I haven't read him the poem yet.   When they visit in August, I will read it to him.  Hope he brings the rhino for a visit!

A Rhino-Whine

I want a rhino, big and fine;
A rhino that I call all mine!
I’d love her dainty rhinocertoes,
Her very pointy rhinocernose;
Rhino fine,
Rhino mine,
My love is rhino-genuine!

In my bathtub let her brine,
Brush her till she starts to shine!
When we’re finished doing that,
She could don my big sunhat;
Rhino fine,
Rhino mine,
In our deck chairs we’d recline.

Supine in the warm sunshine
Could it be it’s time to dine?
Browsing grass and leaves at brunch
Downing berry pies for lunch
Rhino fine,
Rhino mine,
Gives no thought to her waistline!

I’m in the “Buy a Rhino” line!
I’ll take sweet rhino number nine!
I want that huge rhinoceros,
No matter what the cost to us!
Rhino fine,
Rhino mine,
Remove her “Rhino For Sale” sign!

No longer will I sigh or pine;
No need for her to rhino-whine
This rhino’s coming home with me
For cookies, honey and some tea;
Rhino fine,
Rhino mine,
My world is now rhino-divine!

This distant cousin of equine
That some say looks like Frankenstein
Proves beauty's in beholder’s eye,
I think she's quite a cutie pie!
Rhino fine,
Rhino mine,
Perhaps I’ll name her Valentine!

By Donna JT Smith, July 13, 2017


Friday, July 14, 2017

National Macaroni and Cheese Day

Today is National Macaroni and Cheese Day.

Tabatha Yeatts, our Poetry Friday hostess today at The Opposite of Indifference asked around to see if anyone else would be interested in using this special day as a prompt for their Poetry Friday post.
I'm in!  So to celebrate this day, here is my Macaroni and Cheese poem.
I am gluten sensitive, and need to maintain low carb, so this is not my meal of choice anymore... but it is good stuff, and I remember it fondly!

Here's an interesting One Pot Mac and Cheese recipe to try.  Looks easy and yummy.  I've done a one pot spaghetti that came out great.  I might try this with a gluten free sauce and pasta sometime when I'm feeling like I can add a carb or two! (sorry for the ad!) If you wait through another ad you can see a Wafer Tater Tot Cheese and Bacon Sandwich...not Mac and Cheese, but I think I may have to do this someday!  When is National Tater Tot Day?


Here's my tribute to the meal of the day, jumping rope, and Mom's rules:

Ma Macaroni's Warning (a cautionary tale)

“Keep your elbows off the table,”
Ma Macaroni said.
“For that’s the day, I’m sad to say,
That you’ll be boiled and dead.
They’ll bury you in cheese sauce
With other elbow fellows
And bake you as a casserole
Until you’re golden yellow.
Then one by one and fork by fork
They’ll eat your hollowed hide,
And there’ll be nothing left of you!"
Ma Macaroni cried.
“Heed my warning, pasta,
No elbows on the table,
Or you’ll be in hot water
As dear Mabel sets the table!”
But then one day they all forgot
Ma Macaroni's law,
For pasta has such little sense
(Indeed their major flaw);
"Is it almost time to eat?
I set the table fast!
Is the pasta ready?"
Miss Mabel sweetly asked.
"It's ready! Come and eat!" Mom called,
Putting elbows on the table.
"Please, pass the cheesy pasta!"
Was the cheer from dear Miss Mabel.
Now there are no more elbows
on the table or a dish:
Tomorrow is another day
What's the rule for fish?
It has to do with fires,
And avoiding frying pans -
But that is for another day
And some old man named Dan.

by Donna JT Smith, 2017

More macaroni and cheese, please!

References:

Jump rope chant:

Mabel, Mabel, Set the table
Don't forget the salt and pepper!
(lots of versions... but this is the one we said)

Nursery Rhyme:

Dan, Dan, the fine old man,
Washed his face in the frying pan,
Combed his hair with the leg of the chair,
Dan, Dan, the fine old man.


Please, please, make sure you have checked in at Tabatha's to see her poetic contribution today, AND all the other macaroni maniacs' commemorations, and the contributions of those who chose another poem for today.  You won't be disappointed!

Friday, July 7, 2017

My Writer's Card

Welcome to my Poetry Friday post.  There are lots and lots of poetry sites to visit, if you've never been to a Poetry Friday Party, go visit our hostess Carol at Beyond Literacy Link and click on more links!

Last week I showed you the front of my "business card"...in quotes because, well, is it a business?  I guess it's my "writer's card".  A card I can hand out when I'm writing something and need to let the person know what I'm doing.  Sometimes it might involve them, as being like the star of a poem...or their license plate or lobster boat is my topic.  It means they can easily get to the site and see what I've written.  I've handed out one card.  There isn't a big rush on them.  But I'm ready!

Here's the front again:

On the back I have part of this poem about whales:

A Wail of Whales

Once I heard
a herd at sea
The scene was seen
by none but me
I called and heard
The herd call back
A wail of whales -
Some plump humpbacks
Their siren cries
Salted the sea
The yearning calls
Assaulted me
And I walked in
Braved frothy waves
To greet them in their
Sea enclave.
I swam a bit
And gave a shout
My answer was
A waterspout.
Whales’ echoing
Off ocean floor
Gently nudged me
Back to shore
“We’re happy that you
Came to to see
What’s happening
Out here at sea,
But truly you must
Use a boat
For you never were
Meant to float
Nor sink even
For that is worse
You’re not a whale
And that’s a curse!
Next time you see us
Use a dinghy
Paddles, oars,
Or motor thingy
Don’t visit without
Safety vest;
Listen to us for
Whales know best!
There’s no spare air
In watery deep
Unless you’ve gills
Or you can leap
And grab with gusto
Air you need
Before you dive
Below to feed.
Next time you’re here
You should be found
By looking up
And not around.

By Donna JT Smith, June 17, 2017

Next Friday, July 14, is National Macaroni and Cheese Day!  Come join in the fun of some cheesy, pasta poetry next week!

Thursday, July 6, 2017

Into the Dis-Comfort Zone


Pat at Writer on a Horse is hosting this month's First Spiritual Thursday with thoughts by bloggers on "Getting out of your comfort zone..."

Have you gotten comfortable in one spot?  It is easy to do.  I do it when I can.  It really is easier than moving on and taking chances.  Facing the known, no matter how unhealthy, unrewarding, even awful, it is, it is better than meeting the unknown - stepping out of your comfort zone and into the Discomfort Zone...

Being voted “Class Quietest” in high school, I was never one for speaking out or speaking my mind…I was a listener.  So you might say that my blog is even out of my comfort zone...

I think my most amazing step outside of my comfort zone, was singing a solo. Singing alone was truly terrifying to me - If I was singing alone outside of the shower or not in the confines of my car, I'd better be in a choir or a quartet...I could do those.  But not alone.  No solos for me.  I knew I would choke.  Positively die choking on notes.

But one day I was pushed out of my comfort zone.  Being pushed out of my comfort zone was like being pushed out of a plane!  Until I realized I had been issued a parachute.
I had been asked by the pastor to sing a solo.  Now if the pastor asks you to do something, you do it.  If the pastor thought God needed me to (let me rephrase that…) wanted me to, then that is what I needed to do, and somehow it would be all right.   I determined to do it.  I proceeded with much deep breathing, deep prayer, deep dread… and then laid it all aside, placing it in God’s hands.

I learned that I could sing alone in front of people, if it was for God.

When I did that, the most amazing thing happened.  He took over.  Took over my feet, pushing me forward to the front.  Took over my hands, taking away the trembling.  Took over my eyes, focusing me on the back window where for the first time I noticed that the lines of the two windows coming together high in the back wall made a cross.  Took over my heart, showing me that this was being done for Love. Took over my voice, putting forth a sound of singing I had never heard before.

That day opened up a whole new aspect of worship for me.  And I will ever be thankful that I was asked to step out of my comfort zone.  It would have been selfish, foolish and even prideful to remain in my comfort zone.

Because of our move, we have begun attending a new church that will be much closer to our new home.  There was a call for music “specials”.  It is a small church, and we have only recently joined.  I was going to wait much longer to “volunteer” to sing.

But then I asked myself “why would you wait to serve?”  Yipes!  That is right.  So I signed up to sing in two weeks.  This is going to be a totally new zone.  But I am assured that my “Comfort” will be there holding my hand.

Stepping out of your comfort zone, gives you the power to try another zone that you thought would be too far a walk. 

Maybe that is why I picked the One Little Word: REACH.  I’m not really one for reaching past where I'm comfortable, but the baby poem last week was a new zone.
Maybe that is why I tried the motorcycle.  Way out of my comfort zone.  I was sure I would never ever ride a motorcycle. But here I am riding in a new zone.
I can enjoy the ride now.  I can enjoy the singing now.  Who knew?

I wonder, what new "Discomfort Zones" will be conquered this year?  I must always remember that getting out of one's Comfort Zone just means there's a new experience that isn’t quite comfortable yet

Forging a rocky, overgrown, rough patch or "Discomfort Zone", it can become a well-worn path as we walk it often, taming it, resulting perhaps in a new "Comfort Zone"!

Thanks, Pat!  I'm glad I finally "talked this through"!



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
Until
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!