My writing...reflections...poems...pictures...projects...life...in Maine.
All material on this website is © Donna JT Smith unless otherwise noted.

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

A Slice of Coincidental Seagull

This past Friday, for Poetry Friday, I posted a beautiful poem that Keri Collins Lewis wrote for me as part of a Summer Poetry Swap that Tabatha Yeatts organizes.

She sent me this wonderful poem placed on a picture of a seagull soaring.  Both picture and poem were special to me.  Part of the reason is that I'd fairly recently begun collecting some "things seagull" to put in our retirement home, Gull Haven, across the road from the ocean.  I posted my pictures of seagulls that inhabit my current home (still very close to the sea) just after the Keri's poem.

One of the comments on the post that day was from Linda Baie.  In her comment she stated, "I'm going to send a picture to you of a sea gull perched on a piling (I think) that I found in an antique shop when I was on the Chesapeake Bay with my students. I collect little iron animals, this was a lovely "find"."

Then she emailed me this picture, below, of her seagull find:
He is so cute!  What a neat "find"!

I mentioned to her that my parents had been antique dealers/shop owners for most of my life, and that after their death, my brother had taken over the antique shop.

Guess what.
She emailed me back saying that her brother is an antique dealer, too.
Wow!  Now that's a neat coincidence, but we're not done yet.

On Saturday morning, my husband and I usually go out for breakfast.   Well, on our way there, we drove by an indoor flea market and an antique co-op where my brother has an area with some of his stuff.  My husband suggested that we go in and look around after eating.  I love doing that, so we headed there when we had finished our meal.

We strolled through the flea market items, and then we headed over to the antiques portion of the mill building to just browse.

I had just glanced at the items in two big glass cases and was rounding the corner to a peruse the third, when staring at me from the second shelf at the far end of the display, was this:

Really and truly!

So, what do you think I did?

Oh, yes, I did.  You knew I had to.

Of course,
  • when someone just happens to send you a poem with a seagull on it,
  • and you just happen to share your collection of seagulls to prove how amazing that coincidence is
  • and another blogger friend hundreds and hundreds of miles away just happens to comment and emails you a picture to show you part of an animal collection she has that includes a seagull
  • and then your husband just happens to suggest going into a shop you haven't been in in for years
  • and then you just happen to see amongst the thousands of items in the shop the very same seagull you saw in the blogger friend's picture the day before...

well, I think you are supposed to buy it and take it home.  Don't you?

So I did.

Doesn't he look happy?

If you haven't gone by other Slicers yet... they are waiting at Two Writing Teachers... see if some nice coincidences happen to happen to you today!
Let me know if they do!

Friday, June 26, 2015

A Whole Lotta Poetry Goin' On

It is Poetry Friday and time to celebrate poets and poetry and all that is poetic.  To find more poetically collected links today, please visit  Carol's Corner, where Carol is our hostess today.  Thank you, Carol!

Next week, I will be hosting Poetry Friday RIGHT HERE at Mainely Write!  That will be on July 3rd - the same weekend we have summer in Maine.  Eeesh!  Maybe I don't have to put that snow shovel away - winter's going to be here again before you know it!

There are a few links I'd like to share here today for Poetry Friday:

For poetry connections today I, and others, have poems posted on Michelle H. Barnes site, Today's Little Ditty, where Michelle is posting the June challenge poetry.  Corey Rosen Schwartz has challenged us to write about building a treehouse, using unpredictable  multisyllabic rhyming words.  I submitted "Moldysocks and the Three Treehouses".  Go to Today's Little Ditty to read it and more treehouse poems for June.

Then Keri Collins Lewis, at Keri Recommends is sharing the poem that I sent her as our first swap of the summer.  The poem I wrote and sent to her was written after reading many of her posts over the past year.  It really is something I'd like to do more of - reading older posts.  Often we pop into the middle of a blogger's life, and there is so much more we could learn just by reading. This fun in the sun activity is organized by Tabatha Yeatts of The Opposite of Indifference.

Lastly and bestly, I'd like to share the awesome poem by Keri that she sent to me for the Summer Poetry Swap.    Keri must have read a few of my posts, because she sent me a beautiful laminated picture of a seagull soaring.  Here's the picture with poem:
                                        She soars on the edge of the world
                                        drops ideas onto the rocks below,
                                        then picks out the scrumptious words - -
                                        meaty morsels to sustain her
                                        until she hatches a new poem.

                                       © Keri Collins Lewis, all rights reserved

Isn't that beautiful?  I love it!  I love the picture; I love, love the poem.  And it seems to fit how I work.  I like picturing the process this way.  I can almost see myself "dropping ideas", like mussels, onto the rocks below.  I love "scrumptious words", and "hatches a new poem"!

This also prompted me to go around my house and find my seagulls...of which I have a few... (I may have missed some)
Seagull pillow

Seagull framed tile

Two seagulls perched on a cork lid

Two welcoming seagulls

Two flying seagulls

How did she know it would be just perfect?

I've already sent out my second poem for the swap.  I don't know how long it will take to get to its destination.  I'm staying out of this part of the process now.  If you've been to Keri's site, you now know the story behind the poem I sent to her.  I am hoping this second one goes more smoothly!  I'm not even going to check this time.  Well, not yet anyway.

Have a great day... read more poems! 

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Today's Little Ditty Challenge

Today's Little Ditty: DMC: "Moldysocks and the Three Treehouses" by Donn...: "Moldysocks and the Three Treehouses" - One day when a girl named Miss Moldysocks Was traipsing through woods and on river rocks, She spied...

To read my "rest of it", go visit Today's  Little Ditty where Michelle H. Barnes is hosting.  It's part of a challenge given by Corey Rosen Schwartz to write a multisyllablic rhyme about building a treehouse.  Fractured ( and fractioned) fairy tales were mentioned, so I used that format.  Then in a prior post, last Thursday, limericks by Robert Schechter, so I employed that poetic format.
Thanks for featuring my poem today, Michelle!

I know, I need to do the wash and vacuum sometime soon....

Friday, June 19, 2015

Good Day

Happy Tire

My "low pressure indicator" last week, said that one of my tires was low.  They looked fine, so I ignored it.  Then, a few days later the front driver's side tire looked like it was low when I was out shopping.  I called my husband, as I usually do for car issues, and he came out with a compressor and filled my tire more.  It was low by a few pounds.
All was good for a few days.  Then the light came on again while I was out and about.  I looked at the tire, and it did look low again.  My husband was out of town now though, so no calling him for assistance.  However, I was pretty close to a shop that did our oil changes and tire work, so I opted to drive the short distance to see if they had time to check my tire.  They are amazing.  They took me right in and got me on the road again in no time.  I think I was there all of 15 minutes.
And while I was there, I wrote because that is what I do when I wait and I have my iPad with me (or a receipt, or a napkin, or a plain, light colored skirt).

Good Day

"It's been a long day"
He sighs and takes my keys.
"Yeah, but at least
It's been cool,"
I try to stay at ease.
I want it to be
A good day,
Not just long.
The car rises high
on the lift -
Pneumatic's song
Of whine and wail;
Piercing, drilling
Into my brain -
I hear my wheel
Bounce off the concrete.
In the orange room
I wait to hear the verdict:
Long day
Or good day?
"You had a nail.
That'll be $19.96."
"That's not too bad," I offer,
as I rise from the chair.
"Nope. Cheap fix;
Better than new tires."
"Thanks, have a good day!"
I toss to him,
As he tosses my key;
Off I sail,
Time and money
to spare,
Both under twenty,
Is a great day,

Now I think I hear the sounds of other poets out there milling about....go check out Poetry Friday offerings being hosted at A Year of Reading with Mary Lee.

Friday, June 12, 2015

Another Poet is Born

It's Poetry Friday! Yea!
And do I have a treat for you!
But before that, thanks, Jama, for hosting the Roundup today at Jama's Alphabet Soup. Make sure you go there and enjoy the fare!

On Monday, I went to school to do my usual reading and writing with second graders.  And as usual, I had a blast.  I am always delighted to have students greet me in the hallways again, as I did when I taught.  But these days it is a different greeting.

"Are you going to read with me?"
"Are you going to take me?"
"Is it my turn?"

Sadly, I cannot take them all!  And I hear the disappointed "Aw" when they aren't the one to come with me to a quiet corner to read or write for a few minutes in their day.  Now, remember, I was a long time classroom teacher, so I know most of the yearning I'm hearing is for a walk down the hall, or a potential break in what they were doing.  I'm not naive, but it is still nice.

Monday was like all the other days, even though we are close to the end of the school year now.  The students are still reading and writing up a storm - especially writing poetry lately.
This day, I got to write with a wonderful, eager student for a little while, and because she was so enthusiastic and it was our second time working together, we got a lot out of our brief time!

I asked her what she needed to do...

Abby:  Write a poem. And I want it to rhyme. Or maybe not -

Me: Ok.  How about doing an acrostic?  Do you know what an acrostic poem is?

Abby: Uh, no.

Me:  Let me show you.

I explained what an acrostic was briefly, and then we wrote an acrostic poem together using "FROGS", with me modeling the format and her offering some words - like amphibian and lilypad, gobble and pond.
Here's what we came up with:

Me: Okay, now it's your turn.  What are your favorite animals?

Abby: Birds! No, not birds. Robins! Hawks! And parrots! Parakeets!  I really like parakeets!

Me: How about bears or deer? Octopus or fish?

Abby: Yes, I like all of them! But I really like parakeets!

Me: Well, parakeets is pretty long for your first acrostic.  How about trying Robin first? (I know, I should have gone with parakeets, but it seemed truly a difficult one to start with!)

Abby:  Ok.  I like robins.

Me: What is there about a robin that could begin with the first letter, R?

Abby: Red!  They are red all over.

Me:  Are you sure?  I think they are red or orange only in one part.

She was pretty sure they were red all over, so I suggested that we look them up on the computer to be sure what they really looked like.

I did a search (because I don't like having a student do searches unless I have already used the search terms prior to their search) and came up with a great page that showed adult robins, robin eggs in a nest and some baby robins.  I read the description of a robin to her.

When I told her that we could also listen to the robin's song on the page, she was very excited.  She put on a headset and listened intently, adjusting the volume.  Her face lit up.  "It's beautiful!" she shouted (headsets will do that), and she promptly hit "play" again.
I suggested that she might be able to identify a robin now just by it's song, even if she couldn't see it.

Me:  Now, let's get back to your poem.  Maybe that information will help you write your poem.

Abby hunched over her paper and began to write.  I pointed to the O in "on" she had written on the first line, and she quickly realized it could go to the next line for the O in "ROBIN".

When she got to the letter B and hesitated, I just asked her to think of what we'd learned about robins.  I expected "bird" perhaps, but she began writing "blue eggs" instead, and the rest continued to flow out easily.

She read it to herself and edited it before she read it aloud, fixing the spelling of "feathers" on her own. We discussed "it's" versus "its" for her to determine which it should be.
Then, finally, she read it to me.

Me: And you made it rhyme!

Abby:  I did?

Me:  Read it again.

She read it aloud again.

Abby: I did!

And here's the promised treat: a rhyming acrostic for ROBIN:

Red feathers
On its chest,
Blue eggs
In the

by Abby, Grade 2

Isn't it great?  I wish I had written it!
Another poet is being sent on to third grade and beyond!
Congratulations, Abby!  Well done!

Now how about that parakeet poem?

Thursday, June 11, 2015

A 14 Word Poem

Today's poem was inspired by Laura Purdy Salas' challenge to write a 15 Words or Less Poem to go with a picture of a "gone to seed" dandelion.  Go here to see the image and other poets' offerings.
I've put my own images here, for my poem.

Papa Pappus

Golden dread head
Sported bedhead,
Youth fled,
Wind said,
Hair shed -
Bald head!

Friday, June 5, 2015

Poetry Friday

Happy Poetry Friday!  Join more poets and poetry lovers at Buffy Silverman's where she is Rounding Up all the links today on Buffy's Blog!

Just before mowing the lawn last week, I was able to capture a short video of the bluettes in the moving shadows.  I love summer shade!

Green and white
Of light
Playing tag
With breeze
   I wish I may
      I swish I might
Patches moving
   Playing stars
Mottled mosses
Carpeting of damp
Browns grounded
Once swirled to fall
Now mounded
Sprout trapped
Sun lapped.

©Donna JT Smith, 2015

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Tuesday on Wednesday

As promised yesterday, when I shared pictures from Memorial Day at the ocean side, here are Wednesday's pictures taken on my way home from tutoring.  Actually, I kept driving just a little bit, past my house, in order to get to the beach.  I'm so grateful for the phone's camera.  It really does do a good job with photos and video.

It was a gorgeous spring day with very few other humans out there.  I love coming out here between seasons: when the snow has left and the tourists have not yet arrived, and when the tourists have left but the snow has not yet arrived.  They are both times when the wind is very present though.  I'm posting a video also, but the wind was pretty wild up on the ledge.  So good luck hearing the crash of waves!  It was hard to record wave noises, I could barely hear the waves and gulls myself!

Speaking of gulls, I tried unsuccessfully to get a video of some soaring.  They seem to enjoy gliding on the wind currents.  One looked like it was trying to touch the top of a spruce, though they certainly don't roost in trees, it looked like he was trying to get something and kept being blown back from the top.  Who knows? He may have dropped a prize mussel in it, missing the rocks he was trying to hit.

When tourists come from inland states, it must be amazing to see the ocean for the first time.  I remember vaguely this being my first view of the Atlantic Ocean at 6 years old.  It's the first time you get to experience the feeling of seeing forever (aside from looking up at the sky), and it truly is awesome EVERY time you see it.

Oh, don't get too close to the edge of the water here...sometimes the waves are a bit unpredictable - at least to us humans, as I'm sure they know what they are doing at all times.  And yes, the rocks do get slippery.  And yes, people have been swept off them as they are concentrating on their camera viewfinder.  So proceed at your own risk.


I also love the view through the scrubby spruce on top of the ledge, overlooking the islands, because of the variety in colors and surface textures.

I love looking out as far as I can see and imagining where my eyes could see if I could see around the curve of the earth.  I like to imagine how deep the ocean goes, and what it would look like if there were no water there.

Here's my view of Forever!
Pretty soon the beach roses will be out adding to the view and HEAVENLY smells!

And here is my "found" poem from (in blue, forward and backward - a tidal poem) the post today:

waves trying to touch -
the amazing
experience -
close to the edge
overlooking -
close to the edge
feeling -
the amazing,
trying to touch waves

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Today and Yesterday in Pictures


My slice of life today is from yesterday - Memorial Day - spent in our old childhood stomping grounds...

A place where we played as kids...

Jagged rocks
Hiding shy baby crabs
Between tides
On our playground
Periwinkles getting
Free rides
Tossed skyward
To the deep
Cold pool
Mussels clinging
Tightly, shutting out
The chatter of
Those who wondered
At the darkness of a life
Encased in
Such a purple

Yesterday, with one of my brothers, my sister, my husband, sister-in-law and son, we ate lobster and fish at the restaurant across the road, then took a stroll on the beach that we used to roam on our own for hours.  No one drowned.  The water is too cold for that.  No one kidnapped us.  No one wanted us.
Upon closer inspection of this clam shell....
there was a snail living inside quite happily (I'm assuming), though he was pretty well stuck in there.  I think if he just kept walking he could push the two halves apart and get out really.
I loved this piece of root that was now ocean worn, sun bleached driftwood.
And for those wanting to see what the old traps looked like and have their picture taken with them...

It was a wonderful Memorial Day.
And the gull never got a bite of lobster or fish from us.  Sorry, gull.  No leftovers either.
My husband and I harvested some new old beach glass for more jewelry making...Yea!

Tomorrow I will have pictures from my afternoon walk today...more sun, sand and waves from the same ocean just down the road a piece from my house and a few miles away from Monday's walk on the beach - and another place we spent many hours as children.

Friday, May 22, 2015

Bits of Poetry on Friday

It's Poetry Friday - like you didn't know!
And all things poetical are being hosted at Radio, Rhythm & Rhyme by Matt Forrest Esenwine.  Go there for more links to some super poetry and poetry related posts!  And while you are there, congratulate Matt on signing a book contract for Flashlight Night!

Wow!  The end of the school year is careening towards us!  The one thing I really don't miss about teaching, is the packing of the room at the end of the year!  The one thing I loved about teaching was working with kids, especially in reading and writing.  Now I get to do the reading and writing and no packing or unpacking!  I read and write with a number of second graders on Mondays, and enjoy this time, helping out even if only once a week for an hour and a half.  Sometimes I read with students and sometimes we work on writing (my favorite!).

I've had the privilege of working with one second grader a few times, and always at writing time.  While there, we focus on getting her ideas down on paper.  Her positive attitude is amazing, and I am impressed with the way she uses language.

I told her that I wrote, too, and that I would write a poem about her, for her.  She didn't look like she believed me... and it took me until now to actually get to it!  But then I actually ended up writing more than one.  My two poems may be found after hers, at the end of this page.

Here, first, are the first two poems Emma's ever written., presented here with her permission (any spelling corrections, per her approval).  Her first one is written from a pencil's point of view.  She explained that if the writer didn't like to write, the pencil would get to stay sharp!  Great point of view!
(Click on the images to make them larger.)


And the second poem she's ever written...
I don't know, I just have this hunch that she would like sprinkles on her ice cream and cupcakes...
I know I'm thinking about them now!  Do I have any sprinkles?

\l\////\\/ /// //\\/ ///\\l\// I// \/\\\/ /// \\l\//
// /l I\\/l/\ \\/ /// \\l\// I// \/\\\/l/\\\ l\//\\l\

My conversation/interview with the writer after she read them to me:

     Me:  "You are very good at this!"

Emma: "These are the only two poems I've ever written."
     Me: "Well, you should keep writing them."

Emma: "It's the only kind of writing I like."
     Me: "I love writing poems, too."
Emma: "You do?"
     Me: "Yes, I do. Remember, I said I would write a poem about you? I guess, now I have to do it!"
     Me:  "May I put your poems on my website?"
Emma:  "Yes."
     Me:   "A lot of people will be reading them.  Make sure it is okay with your mother."
Emma:  "Okay.  But I think she will like it that they are on there." 

And here are both poems for Emma, by me.  The first one kind of goes with her pencil poem, and the second is not a sprinkles poem, but it is a cheery one LIKE having sprinkles on your ice cream!

The Writer

Emma thought she could not write;
She thought she had no thought.
Then she stopped and thought a bit
About what she'd been taught.

"You are a writer, Emma, dear,
You have some good ideas;
Just write them down and don't give up -
Ignore your writing fears."

So Emma started writing down
Some things she'd tucked away;
She tried out words and shuffled them,
Enjoying her wordplay.

Pretty soon she had a poem,
A story and a song;
The words had been inside her head
Just waiting, all along!

And now there is no stopping her
As word from pencil flows,
Emma must keep writing
Till she's written all she knows.

The more she learns the more she writes -
I doubt she'll ever stop,
For writers have to write their thoughts
Or else they just might pop!

©Donna JT Smith, 2015

Poem #2:

If Emma, Then

Emma wears white polka dots
    like little stars so bright,
She wears a flower in her hair,
    a butterfly’s delight;
Her smile can raise a rainbow
    if the rain falls down at night,
And when she laughs the grumpies
    quickly scatter out of sight!
A lion or a tiger would
    give up their kingly might
If Emma would just pat their heads
    and say they shouldn’t fight;
The octopus would free a fish
    in grip so very tight
If Emma whispered to her that
    she needs to do what’s right.
(Of course, what’s right in Emma’s mind
    is not to take a bite!)
If Emma simply had her way
    I’m sure she would invite
The thunder to cease rumbles,
    and tornadoes to sit tight;
Miss Emma would eliminate
    all quarrels, tears or fright,
Then all on earth, as Emma,
    would be sweet and quite polite!

by Donna JT Smith, 2015

I hope you enjoyed the poems!  Please do leave comments.  We'd both love to know your thoughts on our poems!