jeannejacobysmith

My Heart I Give …


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Yes, You Can Do It!

I grew up in a cabinet maker’s family. Dad was so good that his family’s business,  Jacoby’s Furniture Factory, did repair work for President Eisenhower’s farm near Gettysburg, Pennsylvania. I helped my Dad in his shop when I grew up so had a comfort zone with tools.

Twenty five years later, after I was married and had a family, I decided to knock a wall out to enlarge our living room while my husband was traveling in Europe. Before he left, I told him what I was thinking. He didn’t believe I could do it and discouraged me, I believe, because he is a scholar and has no skills in woodworking.

So … on the sly, I bought the tools and hid them until he left – a rotary saw, small table saw, drills, an electric sander, and so on. The first few days, I studied the manuals for safety. Then I went to the lumberyard and purchased the materials needed. With a professional’s help, I proceeded to knock out a wall and enlarged our living room. That made it half again as big and provided space for an office area. I used the extra week building ceiling to floor bookshelves to accommodate our many books since we are both college teachers.

A few weeks later, when my husband came home, he was stunned. In the years since then, he has brought students, colleagues, and friends to the house to show off the results of my labor.

If you have a hankering to do carpentry work, by all means, DO IT! Pick professional carpenters’ brains, get books for beginners and read them, and take a course on safety at your local vo-tech or junior college. Try smaller projects first, and then move on. Learn all you can so you do it right.  Have fun!


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100 Years Later – Pippa Still Passes

jeannejacobysmith

by Jeanne Jacoby Smith

“God’s in His Heaven …
All’s right with the world!” 
Trilled the girl child Pippa
On the one day per diem
She was frees from her slavery.

A century past Pippa,
Child labor hidden,
Justice confounding,
Children not whole.
Browning’s red-hot brand
sears our conscience
– and soul!

NOTE: Robert Browning, a celebrated Victorian poet, penned a poem called “Pippa Passes.” His poem deals with a girl child who worked in a sweatshop, day in and day out, year after year.  Each year, Pippa had one day off from work  – New Year’s Day.  Other than those few blessed hours, the only world this girl child knew was one of modern-day slavery.  She had no other reality.
The irony here is that in Browning’s poem, on New Year’s Day, her only day off that year, in her innocence she was singing, “God’s in His Heaven…

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100 Years Later – Pippa Still Passes

by Jeanne Jacoby Smith

“God’s in His Heaven …
All’s right with the world!” 
Trilled the girl child Pippa
On the one day per diem
She was frees from her slavery.

A century past Pippa,
Child labor hidden,
Justice confounding,
Children not whole.
Browning’s red-hot brand
sears our conscience
– and soul!

NOTE: Robert Browning, a celebrated Victorian poet, penned a poem called “Pippa Passes.” His poem deals with a girl child who worked in a sweatshop, day in and day out, year after year.  Each year, Pippa had one day off from work  – New Year’s Day.  Other than those few blessed hours, the only world this girl child knew was one of modern-day slavery.  She had no other reality.
The irony here is that in Browning’s poem, on New Year’s Day, her only day off that year, in her innocence she was singing, “God’s in His Heaven; All’s right with the world.”
Pippa is, obviously, happy for her time off, but, tragically, the reader knows (and we know) that for the next 364 days, little Pippa will be slaving at her machine again., day in and day out, ad infinitum.
One cannot read this poem without experiencing what Wordsworth called “the overflow of powerful feelings,” only in this case, Pippa has no frame of reference for freedom or what a real childhood might look like. Thus, she interprets this day as her ‘moment in heaven,’ even though the rest of the year for her is hell.
Pippa’s reality impels us to work on behalf of justice, freeing child slaves like her.  Her story melts my heart.


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Son-lit Light

O, God . . .

Arching o’er earth, I glimpse a vision
Effusing a rainbow into my night,
Open to meaning, new perceptions,
Yearning for Cristos’ Son-lit light.

Far above me into the heavens,
Radiating twilight into our days,
I praise Thee, O God, for beauty, for caring …
Creation caressing la leche of living.


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Pray! Love! Tell!

Babe:
“Mother, when Spirit touched
   Thee in the night,”
… asked the wakening Babe,
“How did you respond?
    What gentle truths did It tell thee?”

Mother:
It saw Love within me, Child …
     Willing … bleeding . . . budding.
         I aria’ed God in poetry . . .
     Then I begat You, Child,
And all the rest is His-story!”


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The Glory That Is Kansas

Route 56, heading East
Through the Flint Hills,
Nature’s glory.
Low bushy forests
Skirting the edge of prairie
Along old hedgerows.

A butte to the North,
Its chest heady with green,
Cuts above old fossils,
Heady with pride.

Rolling through Strong City
A silo bows low
As we glide through,
Honored that we paid it a visit,

While cattle on a thousand
Rolling hills ruminate
A sumptuous lunch
of prairie stubble and clover.

Adobe bungalows, some
Fancied with brick and
Artificial accessories,
Puff their chests
To catch our attention.

Emporia’s cocky water tower
Pokes its long nect through
A stand of old elms,
Curious about our arrival,

While the Neosho River,
Down to a dribble,
Chides the water tower
For being too prideful.

Behind a crumbling gas station
Out on the lonely prairie,
In back of a stand of Cottonwoods,
Iron cars from Kansas City
Rumble across the spinal cord
of America in a rush
for gold toward Albuquerque.

As twilight sets in,
County Road U turns in
For the night, ignoring
Our rattling Ford Condour.

A rusty crane crooks its neck
Oblivious to our presence.

No matter! No matter!
Let the prairie alone …
To savor its cricket song
… and languor!


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The Poetry in You

Truly?
Honestly?
Soberly?
You knew not the poetry was in you?

Then, look again, dear friend!
Turn on your Muse,
That which intrigues you!
Slip up the volume as high as you can …
Dance with the dawn, rhythm, sonatas …
Let your mind ponder … let poetry flow.!
Pirouette the presence of
Life in this moment,
Spiraled into One,
Like Rumi, the poet,
Whirling in Time.
This, my dear friend,
Is the Poetry in You!