Guest Reader with Silindile Ntuli

BULLETIN: With 7 hours of voting time left, Euleta Usrey remains in the lead among adult poets and Maria Ciminillo is still fending off a hard charge by Courtney Clawson among young poets.

REMINDER: Today is your last chance to help select our September Hall of Fame poets! As of this morning, Euleta Usrey is leading previous winners Steven Withrow and V.L. Gregory. In the young poets group, Maria Ciminillo has taken the lead over Courtney Clawson in a hot race. Tonight at 10:00 EST the polls close. This is the final month of our first full year so let your opinion count.

Greetings everyone,

Before turning the stage over to Silindile Ntuli, my Guest Reader for today, I want to tell you about an opportuntiy.

As a fund raiser for Plum Creek Childrens Literacy Festival, held each year in Seward, Nebraska on the campus of Concordia University, I’m auctioning off a chance to be featured on my blog. The link gives you all the information. I hope you’ll read it and consider making a bid. I set the floor at $50 and at this point the high bid is $56. There are four days remaining so I certainly hope to see the bidding go much higher! Each year the festival attracts about 9,000 boys and girls. It takes a lot of money and energy to put together something like that. My hat is off to the fine people who make it all happen.

Now, without further ado, here is my guest for today. Last week Silindile was nice enough to share with me a poem she wrote when her beloved nephew was born. I was taken by the poem and asked Silindile to allow me to share it with you. She agreed and also wrote about the circumstances that prompted the poem. Here’s Silindile.

With a shaking voice, trembling hands, fear and tears in her eyes my sister told me she was pregnant, as an unmarried woman of a strict father she was terrified, also terrified of my aunt who was like the dragon of the family.

Immediately I felt happy, told her I’m here and will take the heat with her.. Those months were hard, family was furious until December 22, 2002 when Sibahle was born, the most beautiful boy ever and he melted every heart.. I sat in my usual corner and wrote a poem, I knew he was an angel with no halo.

That year with him was like the first family year, we wondered what kind of life we had before him and boy did he live up to my angel predictions. All through the next year I couldn’t wait to get home, to play this silly game where I’d hold him while he tried to blow out the lightbulb, I’d pull the string and make him think he did it, every night.

He’s very smart, he asks lots and lots of questions daily sometimes its too much, he’s sweet and fear every little thing that crawls, including an ant, everything my friends. He inspires me to keep fighting, sometimes I think he’s my main source of strength closely followed by mom, he says grown up things that make the world clear, I remember how he sits with me on hard days, not playing outside with the other kids. He goes to a christian school and when I say maybe I have a headache he amazes, while people bring me water and headache powders my little boy says “I’ll pray for you”, with his head bowed he does.

To thank God for such a wonderful blessing and to thank my dear boy I wrote the following poem, hope by end of this year he’ll be fluent enough to read it and understand.

Full Circle
by Silindile Ntuli

The woman proudly displayed it,
As if she could tell the future
Little did she know her nine months of pride,
Were going to be years of pure beauty.
The woman carried him with pride,
I know this because of the results.
You ask me to bet on it,
I say just take a look at him.
Because he was carried proudly
By a woman on a mission.

For nine long months,
Days and nights combined,
The hero grew strongly.
For each breath she took,
I know he kicked with joy,
Anticipating the day he blessed
This world with his presence.
Counting hours till he kicked
Right into this lost world.
No worries,
For he will be one of its few great things.

Today it’s the big day,
A hero is born in our among us.
Call them all,
Those close and those unknown.
Come see beauty the way
Only God intended.
But he is just a child, you say.
True, but he will grow into a man,
Real to the core.

Call the singers,
Pull out the drums
And let the dancers move.
Form a circle,
Join your hands
And don’t forget your best clothes.
Light a fire,
Bring the gifts,
Sing the night away.
Give him a hero’s welcome,
Make sure it’ll be remembered
Long after the stones wash away.

Years have come and gone,
The world has changed with each day.

Thank you David for featuring it, you are a selfless soul and you've made me a more serious writer, I hope to keep learning from you and from your other blog friends. Thank you.

My Guest Reader today is Mary Nida Smith

Hello everyone,

Today I’m happy to feature our friend Mary Nida Smith. Mary Nida has never missed a month posting a poem in the Word of the Month Poetry Challenge. She is a Monthly Hall of Fame winner and she is always there with encouraging comments for others. Her personal story is inspirational and I’m glad she is sharing it with us. Mary Nida, many thanks.

The World’s Not Perfect
Neither Am I

© By Mary Nida Smith

I want to share my story how the love of writing and drawing has helped me through difficult times.I have come a long way in this world I have created for myself. Most of the time I’ve traveled alone; yet people I have come in contact with have encouraged me. Oh, yes, I have been discouraged by more than those who encouraged. But, no one has put my spark out that rises again and again.

I was raised in a large family on a farm and had to be at my mother’s side to help share some of her work load. So, attending school on a regular base was out of the question. When I attended school it was very difficult for me.

Later, in my adult life I learned I was Dyslexia. I wrote sentences backwards and transposed letters. But, I didn’t want to be branded, “dumb.”

So, I kept on trying. It wasn’t easy when I was always moving: Forty-eight times. I have had accidents (most people have), and was informed I was going blind, and the list continues to grow trying to stop me from what I love to do.

By plugging away, I have written for newspapers, magazines, published

a non-fiction book, entered art shows and published illustrations. More, than I ever dreamed I would.

I have always kept close to libraries and local writers groups. I have taught creative writing & illustrating to children and adults, organized workshops, founded writers groups, president of an artist guild

and did what I thought, I could do it. I jumped in and I learned along the way.

Never give up, what you love to do. I will be speaking at the Ozarks Writers League at the College of the Ozarks November 20; 2010.You can find me at

Book Jewels
©By Mary Nida Smith

I have walked

many different paths

along the way.

I was educated

by young and old

of blended colors.

Accented voices

taught me their ways.

I was able to explore

and listen in awe, to

mysterious sounding echoes

racing among pine trees

perch on tall mountain cliffs.

I was entertained by ocean waves

against the cliffs at my feet.

Softy, loudly, changing tempo

as the wind directed the symphony.

Books taught me

music, typing, storytelling,

drawing, painting and the beauty,

of the hidden world at my feet.

They continue to teach what

is important and what is not.

I am sorry to say

on the farm back in the woods,

working alongside mom

and caring for young ones,

books in school

were not always attainable.

But, the times I was able

to hold a book, magic

jumped from every page.

I hugged books tenderly

like precious jewels

for they held the world

I would never travel.

Don’t forget the kids

REMINDER: This is Wednesday. Normally I would feature a Guest Reader in this spot. If you would like to send me your picture and something about your writing journey (not to exceed 500 words) or a poem or other brief sample of your work, I’m ready when you are.

Years ago when I served on a school board, our president used to remind us what we were about. “Always ask yourself,” she would say, “if it’s good for kids.” She had a point. Sometimes we became so involved in the process of decision making and writing policies that we nearly overlooked the real reason we were there.

Now and then I think writers also need to ask ourselves if what we’re doing has our readers in mind. Before our work reaches the young people we write for, we must get through a crowd of adults — editorial reader, editor, executive editor, art director, sales manager, marketing director, book buyer, librarian, teacher, and parent. It’s tempting to focus on the grownups who stand between us and our audience yet what we write must be with children in mind, real kids who sit down with our work and judge for themselves if we’ve got it right or not.

School is starting. If you want to do research that counts, volunteer this year to visit a few schools. Talk to kids, read to them, answer their questions. Or volunteer at one school, tutoring, working one-on-one with students in your favorite age range.

There is no better way to know what kids are like these days than to spend some time with them. Teachers know this, of course. That’s why some teachers turn to writing sooner or later.

Tomorrow I’ll introduce Jan Greenberg. I hope you come by to meet her.


Lucia Renzo today

Hello everyone,

Today I’m featuring Lucia Renzo from Montreal as my Guest Reader. Often I wonder how people find me here on my little speck in space so I’m grateful when visitors tell me their story. In this case, Lucia was having lunch with a dear colleague, Carol-Ann Hoyte. Ring a bell? And Carol-Ann mentioned my blog. Lucia says, “I’m glad I joined because it has been an inspiration… to read and write poetry again. I wrote poetry before “family life” and now I’m planning to continue. Recently, I enjoyed your challenge on “Found Poems” and WOM poem.”

So with thanks to Carol-Ann Hoyte for passing me around among her friends, I now welcome Lucia Renzo.

Writing has always been my lifelong interest and throughout my successful 15-year career in the business world I wrote a great deal as a Business Analyst and Project Manager. When I married and decided to start a family my desire to write for children was awakened. After my second child, I knew the time had come to take action and plunge into my true passion- Children’s Writing.

That’s exactly what I did. While raising my family, I became an alumnus of The Institute of Children’s Literature (ICL). Now, I’m a writer living in Montreal, providing my services to the Montreal Children’s Library. Check out the links below;
My work will be published in R.E.A.L. Magazine Fall 2010 issue.

My thanks and best wishes to you, Lucia. I look forward to seeing your work posted when you have something you want to share. David

My wife Sandy and I have owned a gift store for the past twenty-five years. I may not have mentioned it before. Today is moving day. We are relocating the store to a new address: 2704 S. Glenstone, The Brentwood Center, in Springfield, Missouri. The name of our store is GAMBLE’S GIFTS II. We carry many lines including Waterford Crystal, Lladro porcelain figures, and Dept. 56 cottages.

The past few days have been filled with packing, changing addresses and utilities, redoing signs, and a host of other chores that moving a store entails. I’ve spent several hours on my hands and knees, using masking tape to mark off where the movers are to set the cherry wood fixtures when they start unloading the trucks. The empty place with all those outlines on the floor looks like I’ve been creating some sort of crime scene. So now you know.