Author Archives: Arlene Somerton Smith

About Arlene Somerton Smith

Plain and simple writing on meaningful topics.

ABC dialogue poetry

My second poem for April Poetry Month is quite different from my first.

At a workshop sponsored by the Canadian Authors Association on Saturday, Tim Wynne-Jones challenged us with the exercise:

For 6 minutes, write lines of dialogue. The first letter of each new line must be the next letter in the alphabet, A to Z.

Here is my result. Keep in mind . . . I only had 6 minutes so, yeah, it’s a little crazy. And I didn’t get all the way through the alphabet the first go-round. I got as far as O. All the letters after that I completed in a subsequent 6-minute time allotment.

Z Solution

An elephant can't fit through there.
Butt's too big.
Can we push?
Don't think that'll help.
Elephant weighs eight tons.
For F*&!'s sake.
Get me a lever.
How about an axe?
In case of emergency, break ass?
Joker, ha ha.
Keep thinking. 
Look behind the mandrill's cage.
Manny the Masturbator?
Notice how he drools when you walk by?
Oh no, he prefers blondes. 
Perhaps everyone does, even the elephant.
Quite annoying, that is. 
Ridiculous, like this situation. 
Suppose we go around? 
Through the zebra's field. 
Unbelievable how you used the Z word before the end.
Verily, I say onto you ... no worries.
Why? 
X was the real problem, because there's another word for Z.
Yes, this place is a real ...
Zoo. 

Riven

My first poem for April’s poetry month. I decided to do an Ottava rima because it sounded like Ottawa, where I live, even though Ottawa has nothing to do with the number 8. (Ottawa is derived from the Algonquin word “adawe”, which means “to trade.”)

The poem has eight lines with an abababcc rhyming scheme. Inspired by the photo below.

Riven

An ash where deer once roamed in sombre shade,
  Returned to ash by lighting strike — one flash,
Nature's lumberjack felled this spine so splayed,
  With a forked bolt, one cracking, wicked lash,
Defiant though blackened, stripped and decayed,
  It will birth new life from the V-shaped slash,
Out of mottled dust and ashes of death, 
Life ruptures forth, emerges, takes first breath. 

© 2021 Arlene Smith

Put a happy face on it: Pothole city

Going through old posts, I found a picture to give us a boost today.

Orange happy face painted on a pothole
Happy face pothole

It is the time of year for potholes in Ottawa, Canada where I live. The ground is thawing and contracting after expanding through the frozen winter. Road salt exacerbates the damage to the asphalt that crumbles under the wheels of cars.

On this pothole, patched by black asphalt, a happy person painted an orange happy face.

When life sends you potholes, put on a happy face.

A little poem to lead us to bigger things

Sunday was World Poetry Day, as proclaimed by UNESCO. In honour of that event, I have written a poem, which I will share with you now.

(Ahem)

I say . . .
I don't care what you say.
I see . . .
Yes, through my eyes.

But . . . that way, we're both blind.

. 

A poem to send us into the day with the intention of kindness to all and celebration of everyone, no matter how different from us they might be.

Our technology gives our generation an opportunity that generations before did not have.

  • We can reach out instantly across the world to share our stories.
  • We can learn and strive to understand the stories of other cultures.
  • We can solve problems together and share resources.

What an opportunity we have! But we’re squandering it with our hate and derision. We’re using technology to create deeper divides instead of to close the gaps.

We’re being little. I’m guilty of it myself.

For today, I’ll try to do better.

Poetry Creation Station
April is National Poetry Month. I have set myself the challenge for that month of writing a poem a week. (I don’t promise that it will be GOOD poetry.)

Irish-ish and vaccinated

My family is so many generations deep in Canada that I don’t really feel Irish. A little Irish-ish, maybe.

Enough that tomorrow I will drink Irish beer and eat Guinness Stew sopped up with Irish Soda Bread.

I do it to honour my ancestors who immigrated and suffered—really suffered—so that I can sit in my warm house and eat plentiful food in good health. They lived in a remote log cabin. No plumbing. No furnace. No Mac’s Milk on the corner or butchery down the street.

It is especially fitting to do so this year, during a pandemic, because in 1866 my ancestors lost three children in one week to a diphtheria epidemic.

Children aged 13, 11 and 9 just . . . gone . . . in the space of a week.

Three children in one week lost to a disease that we never have to think about because WE HAVE VACCINES.

Time has made some people complacent. North Americans born after 1920 don’t know how death used to brush up close in daily life. Our generation has never seen with our own eyes an entire family wiped out in a week, because WE HAVE VACCINES.

Cheers and Éirinn go Brách!

And when it’s your turn, get the vaccine.

Shamrock cookies
Photo by Jill Wellington on Pexels.com

Goof morning: A fluke flash of happiness

Twice in the past week I started very serious, important emails about very serious important matters to colleagues. Both times, instead of writing “Good morning,” my index finger travelled too far to the right on the keyboard, and I typed “Goof morning.”

Astonishing how much that made me smile.

The very serious, important matters felt not so very serious or important after all. The typo brought a flukey flash of happiness that changed the course of my day.

May it change the course of yours too.

Email with subject "Very Serious Important Matter" with Goof morning as intro