Monday, September 21, 2015

DMC: "A Passing Remark" by Donna JT Smith


I was a child
of field and truck
with fingernails
a’la dirt and mud

the neighbors had
a girlie girl
with skin so soft
and hair a’curl

pale of face
with body narrow
a shape that barely
made a shadow

rosy cheeks and
toned farm arms
should not have been
cause for alarm

but our neighbor’s visitor
said to me
as I passed by
“Hello, chubby!”

from that time on
I realized
it mattered if
you weren’t pint-sized

and that is when
my fight began
with body image
and who I am.

© 2015 Donna JT Smith. All rights reserved.

Lee Bennett Hopkins has challenged us to write a "ME poem" this month, based on one simple moment in your childhood that changed you in some way. Click HERE for more details.

Send your poem to TodaysLittleDitty (at) gmail (dot) com, or use the contact form in the sidebar to the right. All contributions will be included in a wrap-up celebration this Friday, September 25th, and one lucky participant will win an autographed copy of Lee's gorgeous new anthology:


  1. You've written it beautifully, Donna. Everyone needs to use the kindest of words to everyone, but especially children.

  2. Oh definitely, kind words mean a lot to a child; and an unkind remark regardless of how unintentional can be devastating

    have a happy Monday
    Shy Moon

    much love...

  3. It's hard to forget a cruel comment from childhood. And easy to forget the impact of our words on others.

  4. Thanks, Michelle, for posting this today. This was obviously an important day in my young life, as I still, over 50 years later remember it - while other days are lost in the mix of time.
    Although "words can never harm me", and we choose whether or not they have power over us, they can still leave a pretty good bruise on a young person's psyche, especially when doled out by an elder.
    Though it added to my body image burden, it added to my awareness of the words I used while teaching and raising my own children. And for that I am grateful.

  5. This really speaks to me as I'm sure it does to many. May favorite line -- toned farm arms. Thanks for posting this.

  6. It amazes me how important words are. I have a similar story about small boobs. It scarred me for life. There is no excuse for bullying. I want to read this aloud to my students so they can see the power they hold in their words.

  7. I suspected this poem would strike a chord with many, Donna, and indeed it has. I think what bothers me most here is that the offensive words came from an adult– someone who should know better. It's not right that the words of a stranger should have such a long-lasting effect, yet they do. I admire your ability to seize the positive from the experience– I'm sure it wasn't an easy road to gratefulness.

  8. Beautiful imagery and powerful words, thanks for sharing!