Life in year 72

Life has been mostly good
berries growing wild
and free to all
who took the time to pick them.

My childhood home had them
at the end of our dead-end street,
just a short bike ride
or childish adventure away.

The first home of married life
in the nearest town to the
Military base. No berries there.
Not that I ever looked for any.

The next home, where children
became abundant and grew strong
with love and a garden, but no easy to find berries.
The parents grew in different directions.

More years of not finding berries
except at the roadside stands;
children grew into young adults.
Divorce did not hurt too much.

A first grandchild, and a teaching degree,
and a budding compulsion to write.
Sons and daughters became busier and wiser.
Life flowed in good directions.

A fellow writer became more than a friend,
as I learned how many similarities existed
in my Catholicism and his Buddhism.
Writing and teaching filled the half-empty nest.

Twenty years with a philosopher
who seeks my opinion on many topics.
Flying through time till his health told us to slow down.
There are berries to pick at the back of the lot.

Since September of 1996

Some have called us soul mates
with good reason
since we both love such important
things and ideas
and dedicated vessals of hope.

We met in a writers group
at a time when neither of us were looking
for a mate — just sharing the written words
that could not be contained inside
any longer.

As different as our writings were:
his were backed by degrees in literature and philosophy,
and mine were simply the mind wanderings
of a sincere woman
with a very full life.

His twin daughters and my sons and daughters
and he endeared himself
to my parents and siblings
with deliberate and genuine kindness.

Promises made now twenty plus years ago
have held.
A few disagreements, and
many agreements . . .
“Cherished” describes us well.

Black, white, and red bricks

Sits in the circle,
white with black accessories
mysterious girl.

Thirty-ish, stylish,
sitting, as if unconfined —
red brick circle walls

A routine morning —
no one, no books, no cellphone,
one woman’s respite.

The Year I Was a VISTA Volunteer

Life has been full

in my fortunate, charmed life.

Some hard spots, of course.

Balanced, or maybe over-compensated

by the favors.

A decade ago, unemployed

and a bit old to expect another offer.

I learned about an opening

that would not pay well,

but would fulfill a teen-aged dream.

Having read CHRISTY

about a woman who answered a call

to help the most needy.

My tough times had been endurable;

maybe I could give back.

VISTA = Volunteers In Service To America,

like the Peace Corps;

but we give time and talent in our own community.

My year was spent helping the local foodbank.

meeting local unofficial saints in action.

Ten more typical years since then,

but it was a sweet gift.

In one year, I gained familiarity with

the four counties and a few more tech skills

and met terrific folks.

For Chana

You look so pretty,
even unconscious.
Your life has been been complicated
by choices
your own
and others you depended upon.

I am hoping heaven’s gate
looks as welcoming as this image.
leading you home with a well lit,
clearly marked path.
Some of your life
seems to have not had a clear path.

Childhood was interlaced
needs unmet
by fragile parents,
and foster parents
you were unprepared to trust
or befriend.

This image would give you the
“just for you” entryway
that might appeal.
Go into that light, trust that heaven
has a crowd of loved ones hiding
because Jesus will hug you first.

2023 Marathon

These marathons are such a treat for the brain — and the psyche, too.    25 minutes to go till we begin this year’s sweet adventure!


My life is abundant with enriching gatherings —

maybe God spoils me with these,

parishioners, praying friends, generous with time and selves

like even more family..


Nativity is a Catholic parish that has welcomed me

warmly smiling and chatting and encouraging my ideas

sharing prayer stories, so that

weekly Mass is a treasured gathering.


Friends who also enjoy writing gather together monthly

bringing their new creative writing, or found gems.

Sharing snacks, general conversation.

Mostly, we hunger for each other’s next piece.


The Summer Family Reunion gatherings bring together lots of aunts, uncles. and cousins

Grandparents married two families together — Anna and Patrick Callahan married

James and Sadie Boyle, some decades ago and we keep trying to stay connected.

Summertime, 2022 will resume the picnic, fun after the pandemic pause.


A Lincicomes’ Family gathering for Christmas has been held at my home,

the eldest child of one of the first Boyle America

My Irish trait of storytelling, and the children answer questions

to get their pick of the visible Christmas presents.


Gatherings, big and small, are generally feasts of food,

favorite beverages, shared clean-up, catching up, sharing news,

new babies. achievements, tricks learned, graduations, and retirements.

Gatherings that make us feel loved are special blessings indeed.


By Nancy Ann Smith, Poetry Marathon Prompt # 12,  June 25, 2022





Two New Boys in the Family

For Garrett, a shy first-born, his world is Mommy, Daddy,the dogs and a few.

When his loving Momma pulls out the camera,

He sometimes gets lost in the joyful moments

indoors or outdoors, in handsome clothes or comfy pajamas.


When daddy swings him upside down and swooping through the air,

Garrett’s face lights up from a smile to a wide-open jubilant noise.

When Mommy plays peek-a-boo, he strains his head,

and when she is found, his happiness is loud and contagious.


Vinny was born to Garrett’s Daddy’s youngest Aunt

just a few days after Garrett. so in a sitting side-by-side picture

they both look at each other curiously, their sizes matching.

Vinny is not so shy, with brothers in college, and a sister in junior high.


A favorite picture of Vinny shows him held by Kelsey near the Christmas tree

He stares adoringly.  Months later, he has found his voice for MA MA MUM

Vinny is more impish, and you can tell by his delighted outburst at realizing he

is on Mom and Dad’s bed, not stuck in the crib, and the gleeful noise proclaims his delight.


Both boys are becoming adept at maneuvering around.

First crawls can be seen with serious focus at first, then a growing smile,

and when they catch Mom or Dad  watching, it is sudden hilarity.

Even without words, it is so much fun and such a joke to gain more territory.


By Nancy Ann Smith,  Poetry Marathon #11,  June 25, 2022


A Strange Zoo

On the thirty-second day of January

I visited the strange new zoo

so I could say, “I’ve been there, too!”


The monkeys were lazy and sleeping a lot,

The elephants were trying to hide

and as I walked by, the hyenas just cried.


The eagle was such a bore, because he would not soar,

The polar bear wandered into the tropic zone

while the whale and the penguin fought over my ice cream cone..


What a strange zoo, indeed!


By Nancy Ann Smith,  Poetry Marthon Prompt #10,  June 25, 2022

Elbow Macaroni Sustenance

Growing up happy, we regularly

ate macaroni

with cheese, or hamburger

or summer vegetables.


A staple in the cupboard

versatility in a box. filling our bellies.

Mom gave the cheapest version

the name that was most fun to say.


Slum-gulligan rolled off our tongue

verbally, with a smile,

but stayed on the tongue

just until swallowed.with another smile.


That was macaroni with tomato sauce, because the

fancy sauce was gone, and no more grocery dollars,

and a can of corn for extra vitamins and extra filling for

growing kids – a whole bunch of kids.


We liked that macaroni so much,

that when pay checks were more plentiful,

we insisted on keeping

macaroni in the cupboard.


By Nancy Ann Smith,  Poetry Marathon Prompt #9,  June 25, 2022



1 2 3 6