Thursday, November 26, 2015

November DMC Wrap-Up + Giveaway

Photo: Lisa L. Wiedmeier

At the beginning of this month, Rebecca M. Davis challenged us to write poems about acts of kindness.  What a joy it's been to wrap myself in warm, cozy feelings all month long! We can all benefit from a daily dose of kindness poetry, don't you think?

Besides the poems contributed for this challenge (which we'll get to shortly), a couple weeks ago I shared three of my favorite published poems about kindness—

I also asked for recommendations. Thanks to Linda Baie, Brenda Harsham, Tabatha Yeatts, Bridget Magee, Diane Mayr, Jan Godown Annino, Penny Parker Klostermann, and Carol Varsalona for obliging me with these beauties:

Reminders from the dashboard (random acts of kindness)
Jill Allyn Stafford
Thanks also to everyone who wrote a poem this month! One of the things I appreciate most about these poems is that they reflect generosity at every stage of life. They reinforce that kindness is "doable" no matter our age or circumstances.

Kindness is free. 
Kindness is contagious. Kindness is powerful. 
Kindness matters.

In the words of SOHO artist Martin Kornfeld:

Photo: Heath Brandon
If we all do one random act of kindness daily, we just might set the world in the right direction.
          ~ Martin Kornfeld

I hope you enjoy these acts of poetry kindness, ordered (more or less) from youth to adulthood.

All poems are copyright 2015, and published with permission of the authors, who control all rights.

     by Kristi Dee Veitenheimer

Mama scolded me this morning.
I got syrup in my pigtails,
but I didn’t mean to.
Now I can’t have syrup

Teacher punished me this morning.
I was eating paste,
but it was just a little.
Now I can’t use paste

Penny ignored me this morning.
She always plays with me at recess,
but she said I couldn’t.
I don’t belong in the club

You sat beside me on the steps this morning.
I was sad and alone,
but you put your arm around my shoulders.
And I don't feel so bad

                                                                                                         DOG LOVE
                                                                                                              by Elizabeth Steinglass

                                                                                                         When the hurts pile up
                                                                                                         and I can’t hold them all,
                                                                                                         I retreat to my room
                                                                                                         where the tears start to fall.

                                                                                                         There he finds me alone,
                                                                                                         jumbled up in my bed,
                                                                                                         and sorts out my mess  
                                                                                                         with a nudge of his head.

     by Suzy Levinson

Caterpillar, caterpillar,
squirming to and fro.
Won't get far inside my jar...
Should I let you go?

Caterpillar, caterpillar,
sitting on a tree.
Ever seen a leaf so green?
Take a bite. You're free!

                                                            DARLING CRITTERS
                                                                 by Michelle Kogan

                                                            Dear Darling Critters,

                                                            Though you require much
                                                            you ask only for our touch,

                                                            Our glance, our voices,
                                                            caring little for choices.

                                                            A cricket, delish!
                                                            A worm, the connoisseur’s dish!

                                                            Exercise, pooh pooh,
                                                            a living room walk, yes–ooh!

                                                            A change of water,
                                                            nah, to you it don’t matter.

                                                            Your greens contagious,
                                                            your character’s outrageous!

                                                            Thank you sincerely,
                                                            Mom, Dad, Sis, and Bro Dearly

     by Janie Lazo

A tiny home of twigs and moss
A magical retreat
A tiny tyke would spread his wings
To fly- his greatest feat.
But on the breeze he faltered
and soon fluttered to the ground
Stunned he lay in silence-
seeing danger all around.
His mother - in a tizzy-
quickly flitted to and fro
But her baby bird was helpless-
where he was - she could not go.
Soon small hands were wrapped around him
as he lifted toward the sky.
Little feet stood tall on tiptoes
as small arms reached way up high.
He was gently placed inside his nest-
all snug and safe and sound
A gentle act of kindness
in a world where love abounds.

                                                                                                    DIVIDE IT UP
                                                                                                         by Jan Godown Annino

                                                                                                    One for me
                                                                                                                            one for you
                                                                                                    One for me
                                                                                                                            two for you
                                                                                                    One for me
                                                                                                                            three for you
                                                                                                    One for me
                                                                                                                            four for you

                                                                                                                            You have ten
                                                                                                    I have four
                                                                                                                            You got much more
                                                                                                    That is wrong

                                                                                                    Yes, that is wrong

                                                                                                    I have much more

                                                                                                    My heart is full

                                                                                                    My arms are wide

                                                                                                    My feet are dancing

     by Alayne Kay Christian
Inside a cardboard lean-to
a child crouches, wrapping arms around legs,
tapping tingling toes
to warm them.
“Change to spare?” her mother begs.
A boy stares,
his mother tugs.
His arms reach out
with cocoa and coat.
Eyes meet.
Smiles match.
A grinning boy shivers his way home.

Each other
Lots of
Lots of
                                       by Jessica Bigi

     by Brenda Davis Harsham

Kindness is
planting milkweed seed
for a monarch butterfly
we've never met.
My daughter and I
dig a trench along
a wooded path,
where just a bit of light comes in.
It's place where a caterpillar
might live its days in
emerald twilight,
munching its favorite food,
until it winds hope about itself.
Then it can be still,
listening to the wind
and the dog walkers,
the trail joggers
and the children finding pebbles
among the leaves and earth
in this green place of wishes.
Kindness is hoping it grows.
Kindness is carrying water in two hands,
sloshed onto colorful sneakers,
dribbled onto a rumpled trench.
Kindness is wishing all winter
for not-too-cold, not-too-dry,
for that seed to remember
the loving hands that patted
the soil into place.
Kindness is imagining the world
orange and yellow,
full of fluttering wings,
Without a care for oneself.

                                                                        GET WELL CARDS
                                                                             by Lana Wayne Koehler

                                                                        The card read, “Sincerely, William Walters”
                                                                        I met him briefly
                                                                        At the skate park
                                                                        I was twelve.

                                                                        The card read, “Sincerely, William”
                                                                        He couldn’t visit
                                                                        Me in the hospital
                                                                        I was sick

                                                                        The card read, “William”
                                                                        It was many weeks
                                                                        Since I’d seen him
                                                                        I was lonely

                                                                        The card read, “Will”
                                                                        I knew who he was
                                                                        By the cards he sent
                                                                        He was my friend.

     by cbhanek

Bully elbows; Victim’s lunch tray topples.                     
Milk & mashed potatoes mingle.                                      
Bystanders gather, giggling & guffawing.       
Upstander bends to help. Straightens. Defends.
Drowned out by cocky murmur.  
“Later, Bro!” Bully sneers, elbowing his departure.         
Errant elbow makes it way through the crowd,
Landing on VP—       
Lands Bully in detention.                                       
Victim? Vindicated!

                                                                                        JUST BECAUSE: A HAIKU SEQUENCE
                                                                                             by Diane Mayr

                                                                                        office coat closet
                                                                                        a heart-shaped chocolate
                                                                                        in each pocket

                                                                                        leaving a broken
                                                                                        flower pot for the toad
                                                                                        ...April sun

                                                                                        "Hot-Cross Buns"
                                                                                        endured with smiles
                                                                                        end-of-year concert

                                                                                        summer swelter
                                                                                        the sprinkler
                                                                                        left on

                                                                                        late October
                                                                                        green tomato relish
                                                                                        at her door

                                                                                        butcher remembers
                                                                                        to save suet for them
                                                                                        first snow

     by Janie Lazo

'Twas a joyous celebration but a day I was to dread.
Standing silent on the sidelines watched intently- nothing said.
I alone must brave these waters feeling cursed and judged anew
Twas the day that my first daughter walked the aisle to say "I do"

In attendance was her father, his new bride and friends galore.
Once a group that I was part of- but alas- that was no more.
As the wedding party gathered for their photos-  snap- snap - snap
It was as they didn't see me - didn't want me - that was that.

Deep inside my heart was breaking as I looked on feigning joy.
They were happy - that's what mattered- self control I must employ.
So I fought my tears in silence- tears for all that I had lost
I had left but could not comprehend that this could be the cost.

As regret flowed through my being sorrow shook me to my core.
This one day just represented pain the future held in store.
Then I felt it- oh so gently-first a grasp and then a squeeze.
As my friend reached out in kindness to my heart she gave reprieve.

So we stood there on the sideline hand in hand to face this day.
With her strength I was emboldened- all my fears had gone away.
You can do this- Liny whispered- everything will be ok.
And this kindness still is with me every step along my way.

                                                                                     A WOMAN CRIED
                                                                                          by B.J. Lee

                                                                                     A woman cried on the subway train.
                                                                                     It, somehow, made me teary-eyed
                                                                                     to think the world could see her pain!
                                                                                     A woman cried.

                                                                                     I’m sure she fought till she could hide
                                                                                     inside her room, yet couldn’t restrain;
                                                                                     the comfort of her bed, denied.

                                                                                     What made her break? What could explain?
                                                                                     A toddler moved to sit beside 
                                                                                     her, offering her his candy cane.
                                                                                     The woman cried.

                                     by Michelle Heidenrich Barnes

                                Taste of grit, sweat, survival.
                                Smell of smoke, blood, and fear.
                                In a pocket of silence
                                you stayed by my side
                                on a bad day gone horribly wrong.

     by Mindy Gars Dolandis

Scruffy and dressed in fatigues
he stood on the corner and ranted
as people hurried by and looked away.
“I’m hungry, so HUNGRY!” he yelled,
and suddenly caught the eyes
of two young women lunching at a café.
“I willingly fought for my country,”
now it’s turned its back on me.
I don’t have a home, a job or money to eat!”
“Come here,” said one of the girls
and motioned to the man.
“The table beside us is empty, please have a seat.”
My dad was in Nam,” she said
with a sweet, compassionate smile.
“Here’s the menu, order anything you’d like.”
“I’ll have a burger and fries,”
he said as he bowed his head,
and quickly wiped a tear from under his eye.
Angels who walk among us
have no harp, no halo or wings,
but they always make this earth a heavenly place.
They sometimes save the day,
and sometimes save a life
with a kind and compassionate heart and amazing grace.

                                        by Linda Baie

                                   Here was a prescription of hugs.
                                   My husband, in a closed place,
                                   with dementia,
                                   among others the same.
                                   They all missed loved ones,
                                   yet didn’t know what they missed.
                                   They wandered, always searching.
                                   The staff touched,
                                   along with the meds, spilled trays, angry words.
                                   I was there every day.
                                   They gave me hugs, too.
                                   It’s not a desk job -
                                   changing beds,
                                   giving baths,
                                   singing songs, talking,
                                   walking to the garden,
                                   walking down the hall, walking up the hall -
                                   no step-count, but I bet it was more than ten thousand.
                                   Those smiles, the soft words,
                                   meant I could go home to sleep
                                   till the next day.

                                                                                                             by Kathleen Mazurowski

                                                                                                        It doesn’t take much.
                                                                                                        Smile, nod of head, acknowledge,
                                                                                                        Welcome and listen

               by Jessica Bigi

Our kindness
Circles worlds
Tucking inside of
Other's hearts
Reaching across contusions
We are one
Connecting hand
In hand with Angels
Our kindness
Heals oceans
Of lonely hearts
Love’ Peace
Caring’ lessoning
Generously giving
Beating rhymes
In time
With nations
Our hearts
Fit so perfectly
Inside of each other’s
We are Love

Inspired to write a kindness poem of your own? 

You have until Monday, November 30th to send your poem to TodaysLittleDitty (at) gmail (dot) com, or use the contact form in the sidebar to the right.

Participants in this month's challenge will be automatically entered to win one copy each of THIS ORQ. (HE CAVE BOY.) and THIS ORQ. (HE SAY UGH.) by David Elliott with illustrations by Lori Nichols, published by Boyds Mills Press. (One entry per participant, not per poem.)

Alternatively, you may enter the giveaway by commenting below.  If you contribute a poem and comment below you will earn two entries in total. Comments must be received no later than Tuesday, December 1st.

The winner will be determined by and announced next Friday, December 6th, when Renée LaTulippe will be here with the next installment of her popular lyrical language series.

I'll be taking some time off for the holidays, but rest assured, the Ditty of the Month Club will be back in 2016 with more fantastic authors, editors, and books!

Carol is hosting this week's Poetry Friday roundup at Carol's Corner.


  1. absolutely beautiful reading....there is hope for this world if there are folks such as these writing words such as these.

  2. They are all beautiful. What a lovely round-up for this day, our day after Thanksgiving. I shared mine on my blog, too, Michelle. Thanks for an awesome challenge and enjoy your time off in December.

  3. What great reading for the day after Thanksgiving. Let's remember kindness is all year. Michelle, thanks for this wonderful opportunity you give us all.

  4. This post is a celebration of the best of the world.

    1. It's been a very happy-making month on Today's Little Ditty. :)

  5. A wonderful collection, Michelle--sorry not to have added my voice.
    We just returned from 10 days of a service/learning trip to Guatemala where I saw such amazing kindness in the midst of such dire need. This post is helping me reflect more on that experience.

    1. What an amazing experience, Buffy! I hope to hear more about it either on your blog or on FB.

  6. What a beautiful Thanksgiving tribute to goodness. Thank you, most kindly, Michelle, for your DOM interviews, challenges, and roundups. Look forward to what you gift us with in the new year. Meanwhile, enjoy your private holiday time. Thank God for you!...Special thanks for all your poetry kindness shown to me, and for the expert fix for the latest poem. Bless you!

    1. You're most welcome, cb. :) Thanks for the "ditty kindness" you show to me and my blog each month.

  7. Wonderful poems this month and so fitting for this time of year! Thanks for your hard work every month, Michelle!

  8. A collection of inspiring verse...just what I needed to fill my soul with today.

    1. Soul-filling poetry is the best kind, isn't it? Thanks for stopping by, Tara.

  9. wonderful wrap up, Michelle! So great to read all these kindness poems the day after Thanksgiving! Thank you and have a good rest!

    1. Thanks for tugging at my heart with your beautiful roundel, BJ. :)

  10. Wonderful; poems every one Thank You so Much Michelle have a wonderful rest you are a Blessing hope every on hade a nice Thanksgiving

    1. Thanks so much, Jessica! I look forward to reading more of your wonderful work in the new year.

  11. You've had some terrific poems this month, Michelle! I've been kicking an idea around for awhile that i hope to submit, but I'm not sure it'll get done in time...but I hope you enjoy your time off!

    1. Thanks, Matt. I certainly can relate to not getting things done in time. It's a crazy, wonderful time of year. Wishing you wonderful holidays!

  12. The variety is, as always, broad. Many thanks for the challenge.

  13. Lots of wonderful kindnesses expressed here. Beautiful words to touch the heart and help the world be a better place. I like your poem, Michelle, and it stirs a visceral reaction with its potent words, "Smell of smoke, blood, and fear." Is it a reference to Paris or is it something more personal?

    1. Thanks, Brenda. It was inspired by former Army Captain and 2013 Medal of Honor recipient William Swenson. You can watch a short video on my Veterans Day post: This was before the Paris attacks, but you're right, it could apply just as easily.

  14. Thanks for sharing these, Michelle! They are all beautiful.

    1. Missed something from you this month, Donna. Hopefully in January. :)

  15. Heartened that Rebecca's call has drawn so many thoughtful poems! (& I should get busy.) I found yours particularly poignant, Michelle. My hubby is a psychiatrist at a military hospital. Thinking of those who serve and their families during this time of year....

    1. Wow, Robyn, that must be one intense job. Please tell your husband thank you from me.

  16. So many wonderful poems celebrating many aspects of kindness. Reading makes me want to be kinder. Thanks Michelle and contributing poets!

  17. My heart is full after reading all that kindness combined! Thank you, Michelle, for celebrating kindness in a world that needs as much as we can give. I will ponder Martin Kornfeld's quote as I go forth into the month of December. =)

    1. That's what I need to do too, Bridget. Actively seek out those opportunities for kindness. No better time to start than the present. :)

  18. Wonderfully rich post Michelle! Love the Martin Kornfield quote and visual, and the heart stone too! Thanks also for sharing all the links and additional poems, I'm making my way through them. Really like "The Rainbow Hand!" Happy Holidays and hope you enjoy the break.

    1. Quite a lot to read through, huh! Kindly wishing you happy holidays as well, Michelle. :)

  19. It gives me goosebumps to know that each one of these special poems & each one of these comments collected kindly by MHB, represents folks who are out there creating, as Michelle's photo poster she shared by Heath Brandon says - random acts of kindness.
    Shiver goodness & appreciations to Michelle.

    1. Shiver goodness is right, Jan! It's been a joy for me to focus on kindness this month. With all that's been happening in the news, it's too easy to lose sight of the good in the world.

  20. Just chiming in that even though I didn't light on a branch long enough to submit a poem this month, I was inspired by Rebecca's challenge as I went about my days. Wrote some starts to poems in my head - and, more importantly, was just a little more attuned to kind acts all around. Thank you both!