Tag Archives: includes a poem

It’s been a While

It’s been a while since I’ve posted here, with good reason. Been real busy. I’m excited, though, about April! I’ve got great plans for National Poetry Month in 2011! I’m not signing up to follow any NaPoWriMo prompt activities.

That’s the ‘great’ plan? Yes! Yes it is.

There is so much going on in my life right now until it’s all I can do really to keep up with myself. Daily adventures in work search have me greatly distracted, to say the least. That doesn’t mean I won’t be poeming. Quite the contrary. I’ve decided to try it with a relaxed feel again. No pressure to get a poem written daily to a published prompt.

I signed Up

As for sharing somewhere other than on my site, I’m again signed up with NaPoWriMo.net. By the way, the site has a whole new look, which is also exciting.

As well, I’ll be tooling around the web to read the poetry of my cyber friends that I follow and new ones I learn of, through NaPoWriMo.net and other places I happen upon. I hope to see you guys around.

Writing Through

In one long inhale
since last I wrote here,
I breathed in
the girth of my more
uncomfortable trials.
Now, facing the madness of April,
poetry and other activities,
will I pilfer the marrow
for all fodder
in the delight and challenge
I anticipate encountering,
to exhale here
throughout National Poetry Month.

© 2011 Shari Lynne Smothers

Where’s the Content?

Feeling wordy I sat to blurt it,
just anything that came
singing to me.

I made to type
and it hit hard in my face
there were no sensible words
left in the Guff.

© 2010 Shari Lynne Smothers

Really, it’s not that bad. Rather unexpectedly, I’m in New Orleans until Thursday. My mom decided she wanted to be here for the playoff game against the Vikings. So we’re in our hometown for a few days, before returning home to Houston.

While I’m here, I don’t have regular access to the internet, and I hadn’t really planned to work the whole time anyway. However, while it’s good to spend time offline, I miss it. So I got on for a minute to post a brief note to explain my absence and maybe later I’ll be visiting blogs I regularly enjoy.

Facing November Week Four

Monday morning I’m
three poems in arrears and some
thousands words behind.

©2009 Shari Lynne Smothers

This is a short Haiku to convey my rising anxiety about the projects I’ve taken on.

I can deal with being three poems behind–on  a regular day. But, because I’ve taken on NaNoWriMo and I’m very far behind, my anxiety is reaching  a feverish pitch.

My writing could well be over for NaNoWriMo, except the characters are still alive in my head. I’ve got all these ideas and twists and I let time get away from me. Well, I let family and events get in the way, cardinal November sin.

Ultimately, I’m not out of the game until November 30th. So, with ideas still to record, creativity still flowing, I need to open their creative outlet. I’ll take these last eight days and make the best of it.

Winding Up National Poetry Month 2009

cropped-dscf1138.jpg
So, it’s the 20th of April—that’s twenty days into National Poetry Month [NPM]. I just returned from a long trip that was truly a pleasure. Slowly the good feelings are washing away making room for the sobering thought that I’m falling short with my poetry postings.

Last April, I did better with my poetry offerings. This year, not so much. Once I set up this blog, I said that I would do something for NPM that was more than I usually did. My intention was to post daily as opposed to just whenever, as is my current post schedule.

There’s still time to do something productive. So, through the end of the month, (that’s the next ten days), I will post one poem each. So do come back; you may find something you like.

I invite you to share your responses if you like. And, if you have your own poems that you post, do drop me a link as well. I love reading new poets.

Enjoy!

If you see something you want to share with others and you’re on twitter, it would be great if you’d add #npm, #poetry or #poetrymonth to your tweet. Thanks.

And, do take some time to explore the great offerings submitted by poets and poetry readers to Twitter’s poetry categories.

Here’s one to kick-start my ten days winding up National Poetry Month 2009:

Led by Gratitude

I’ve set aside this space
to share my thoughts
released on the wings
of prayers, meditations
and gratitude.
Ideas flow freely through
my silence as I sit waiting
for the verses summoned.

The words dance on my page
choreographed by
appreciation of all
that I experience.

Thanks be to the
Holy Trinity

Amen

©2009 by Shari Lynne Smothers

Graces Like Mercies

The Hard Parts

Graceful Birds

I was preparing to leave my dad’s hospital room. He was very sick with cancer and other complications. He had suffered and recovered from setbacks that required surgeries, but he couldn’t seem to shake everything. Blood clots were his problem four years earlier and he still was plagued with them. We saw him through so much, but he was leaving us.

This day was a peculiarly gentle, warm day nearing fall. It had rained and then the sun came beaming out. It hurt every time leaving my dad in the hospital because I knew how much he hated being there. It didn’t matter that he was understanding about my leaving, he complained enough for me to understand that his heart wasn’t in that. And I understood that because I knew his personality. Still, I had to keep things in perspective so that I could just keep going. This particular day, dad was not ready for me to leave, and asked for different things “before you leave.”

Light in the Middle Parts

I stayed a little longer and did a few more things for him and just sat awhile longer. I told him that I’d return tomorrow, or maybe even pass back after I finished my errands. His spirits lifted and I was content that he was satisfied. As I left the hospital, I started to feel a little lighter because with just a little more time, dad was better prepared to be without family for the evening. Driving down the street the day was shimmering and such a feeling came over me. It was a promise I could almost hear. I called my mom, I just couldn’t wait to get to her house. I told her that things were about to change for us all. Mom asked me, “Like what? What do you mean?” “I don’t know really. That’s all I got.” She said okay and that she felt that way too.

In the weeks that passed, dad started to show some improvement. And he did get a little better—enough to get home. I got some good job offers. My youngest brother came to town to see my dad before he got really sick. My family and friends kept my mind occupied and life just felt tolerable with good stuff in the middle. I was laughing and talking and appreciating good things that were coming my way, as I grieved the illness that had invaded my dad’s body.

I was talking to one friend and he asked my how I was doing. I told him I was well, and that made me pause because I didn’t know how I was well. It was amazing to me that in the face of my abject sorrow, I was still able to smile and laugh from my soul—I could still touch my joy.

Dad went back into the hospital a time or two and each time I went with him. When I could, I spent the whole day with him. We would talk about the things that I was working on, like my editing course, or learning HTML. Sometimes he would sleep, and he would apologize for not being a good host. It never mattered to me and I told him so. Sometimes we would both sleep. We just spent time at the hospital then at home. After a time, my daddy died at home.

Always Learning: Lessons are Everywhere

Looking back now over these 7 months since my dad died, and I try to track how we got through it. I wasn’t as “prepared” as I thought I’d be, and yet I survived. I appreciated all the good things that dad and I did for each other, and the time that we spent. It came to me one day when I was considering how it is that I survived:

There’s plenty of excitement in my days. Life has a way of showering down graces like mercies in difficult times. And I am drenched with reasons to be grateful.

It’s easy to be grateful for the good things that come my way, no matter how small. What was a deliberate practice years ago is now a habit of gratitude. The other part that helps me is searching for the meaning in difficult times. In my darkest times, I try not to get maudlin. But I do try to take a straight-on look at things; my goal is to take up some treasure from the muck. Writing them down helps to soothe me. The poem Life Lessons (at the end of the post, I Write for Me First) is from a sifting expedition; one that took me passed the why and straight to appreciation.

Death and why
don’t sit together in me for long.
It makes me feel too inept.
Because without exception,
I come back to accepting that
it happens
just
because.

Dillard University Reunion Class of 1958

Mother’s Day with Mom

This past Mother’s Day weekend, I met up with my mother in New Orleans, Louisiana. She was there to celebrate with her Dillard University graduating class, their 50th Reunion. It is a big deal to the University as it may be at other universities as well. And it was special to classmates. You see, their Dillard University class studied and lived and grew as a community. They were part of each others’ lives. Some had matriculated from as far back as grade school together. It was very special to me too, for different reasons.

Willie Dempsey sang at mom & dad's wedding A face I seem to know since forever

My mom introduced me to the man who sang at her and daddy’s wedding. She introduced me to a lady who was stunned by how much I look like my daddy. And Aromenta’s familiar face that was part of my growing up years.

I watched my mom enjoy herself. And I paid attention to her appreciation for the life she lived and how she lived it. Even though they didn’t keep in touch regularly, these friends seemed to delight in their time togetherr. Mom introduced me to one man, and I moved to shake his hand. He held out his arms and said, “Mackie’s daughter? I have to hug you.” People made it a point to tell me how highly they thought of my dad. There’s so much I took away from the two days that I spent with mom and her classmates, so much feeling and appreciating.

It seems I watch my mom a lot more closely since my dad died. And, I watched her spend time with her friends, talking and catching up before they go their separate ways. She and they seemed to take full advantage of the time that they had. No matter how often I watch them spend time with their friends, the fundamental lessons I take from them are lived out before my eyes. And my mom reinforced them once again:

  1. First, carry on
  2. Second, cherish my history
  3. Third, never underestimate the power of friendship

Helen & Roxy

Appreciating Where I’m From

My mom, Helen, is on the left
and her dear friend Roxy on the right.
They’re smiling together
posing for the photo,
chatting,
reveling in the moment.

I shot the picture
remembering Roxy dancing
in my parents’ bedroom on Annette Street.
She’d come by to see our new baby;
probably it was my brother Damon.

I remember how I was enthralled by her dancing.
I’d managed to stay in the room
as the grown-ups chatted.
Her energy filled the room
the hem of her mini skirt shimmied
her necklace almost touching it
swaying as she and my mom laughed
and shared girl talk and friendship.

Time has passed and geography separates them.
My daddy always nearby
is now passed away almost seven months.
What I see watching mom and her friends,
their expressions as they talk together
the bonds forged in their youth
is only more seasoned, a given,
unmoved by the distance between them.

It was a lovely day, warm with a nice breeze
blowing silently through the majestic oaks,
clear enough for my cameras to
capture what I wanted to keep.
My dad almost made it
but my mom’s still here to celebrate it.
In me is enough of both of them
to attend, appreciate and enjoy
the friendships they forged
and be back in time for work on Monday.
I was able to send pictures
and details to my family
who couldn’t be in attendance.
In all of this I am thankful.

And I continue.
Life is good with all that’s gone from me.
I’m grateful for all I have
and events and time and stuff left to do.
Whatever will be my future,
at these events, I glimpse insights of
parts and people that impacted my parents
who in turn shaped me.
I like knowing.

© 2008 by Shari Lynne Smothers