There may  be days

when you get up in the morning,

and things aren’t the way

you had hoped they would be;

That’s when you have to

tell yourself that things will get better.


There may be times when people

disappoint you and let you down,

but those are the times

when you must remind yourself

to trust your judgements and opinions,

and to keep your life focused on believing in yourself

and all that you are capable of accomplishing;


There will be challenges to face

and changes to make in your life,

and it is up to you to accept them;

Constantly keep yourself headed

in the right direction for you.

It may not be easy at times,

but in those times of struggle,

you will find a stronger sense of who you are,

and you will also see yourself

developing into the  person

you have always wanted to be.

Life is a  journey through time,

filled with many choices;

each of us will experience life

in his or her own personal way.

so when the days come that are filled

with frustration and unexpected responsibilities,

remember to believe in yourself

and all you want your life to be

because the challenges and changes

will only help you to find the dreams

that you know are meant to come true for you.


Sandra Lee Smith

Originally posted, January, 2010,

Updated October 26, 2018




The boot was made of very fine leather,

Tooled by an ancient Italian craftsman,

who had learned bootmaking from his father,

and his father before him,

generations of Italian bootmakers

who purchased the best leather

and refused to bend to accommodate the times.

A pair of boots might take six months to make

from start to finish,

With intricate carvings worked into the leather.

I was that boot, made of fine brown leather;

with a very dark wooden heel

and a great deal of design carved into the leather;

First I was worn by an Italian clothing designer,

a man quite fussy with his appearance,

Gay, you might say, but he took good care of me,

and I was cleaned and polished once a week

by his manservant.

When the designer changed his “look” I was

discarded but the manservant rescued me and

sold me, and my twin,

to a used clothing store

where a cowboy discovered us

and took us to America;

There I lived on a cattle ranch

and was often scuffed and dirty,

but it was an exciting life and I didn’t mind

the grit and soil.  When my cowboy removed

us from his feet at night, we all sighed with relief.

For a while we could breathe.

Eventually, the cowboy had worn down my heel

and there was a hole in my sole,

that no amount of cardboard could remedy,

the cowboy tossed me and my twin

into a dumpster, where we languished

for a time.

and then–a gardener found me and pulled me

out of the trash;

I do not know what happened to my twin.

The gardener took me to his home

and filled me up with dirt

and then added cacti;

I had a new life;

I was a planter,

willing to stand in the rain

or the sun

protecting the cactus that

happily grew out of the top.


Sandra Lee Smith

Originally posted June 5, 2009

Updated October 20, 2018

PLACES IN OUR LIVES (Spring Break, 2012)

What can I write about “places” today?

I’ve witnessed so much and  now I can say

that life in the desert is different from most,

at times it’s a place of which I’d not boast,

but one time we drove, my grandkids and I,

over the desert, under deep, blue  clear skies,

the canyons were green, a myriad of shades,

with creeks and  lakes and deep canyon glades,

In places, we saw golden poppies in bloom,

and wondered if it were not a bit soon….

We came to the ocean and here we were met

with startling sunrises, breathtaking sunsets;

I told them the story of grandpa and me,

and the times we had spent, here by the sea.

Throughout the world there are places like this,

Enchanted places that fill us with bliss,

and all of your life, there’ll be places to love,

the kind you will cherish all others above,

In your heart  you will keep memories like these,

to remember forever, whenever you please;

“remember the time”– you’ll say to your brother,

or sister, or maybe a friend or a lover;

Remember the time we went to the beach?

and recall the memories, all within your reach.


Sandra Lee Smith


Originally posted June, 2012

Updated October 17, 2018


In the twilight of my life,

real truths became revealed to me,

and knowledge came to me

through a  series of experiences;

I wondered why these truths were not

revealed to me sooner,

and the Great Mind of the Universe

made me realize that, before,

in the sunshine years of my  life,

My mind was not ready to receive;

However–now–perhaps, I was

prepared to learn and accept

that which we are all sent here to know,

but some, perhaps, choose not to learn,

Choose not to accept.

What should I do with this knowledge,

I wondered,

and the answer came to me;

I will know it when it is the right time.

In the twilight of the passing day ,

I look to the skies, seeking answers.


–Sandra Lee Smith

Originally posted August 14, 2010

Updated October 15. 208


Many moons ago,

I was young like  you;

I thought I knew it all;

I confused sexual experience

with maturity,

Not realizing that having one

does not mean you have the other as well.

I chaffed against apron strings

unwilling and unable

to ever see a point of view

other than my own.


It has taken many moons

and becoming a parent myself

to understand how difficult

being a parent really is;

It is too late for me

to tell my parents that

I appreciate what they tried to do

for me and my  siblings.

It is not too late for you.


Sandra Lee Smith

Originally posted August 2010

Updated October 13, 2018


It was in  a little Chinese tea house in San Francisco,

Where she sat alone and enjoyed a tasty little feast

of Dim Sum and hot green tea served nicely,

to satisfy y the greatest of her hunger’s beast,

while scarlet paper lanterns swayed softly above her,

and a candle on the table flickered just enough to cast shadows on the walls;

The Chinese waiter brought a plate up to her,

On which lay a single fortune cookie, and intently

looked into her face and with a kind and gentle smile

said “Missy, break it open, take a lookie” 

She faltered for a moment, bleak and sadly ,

then she broke apart the crisp brown fortune cookie,

and slid out the slip of paper from within,

fearful, for she knew she knew she had no way to pay for

the pots of tea and the plates of food  she had eaten,

she had no way of knowing what she was in for;

She opened the message inside the fortune cookie,

and tears filled her eyes and ran down her face, as she

Read the message for it said “today your dinner from

this establishment is absolutely free”


Sandra Lee Smith

Originally posted July 25, 2009

Updated October 3, 2018


Hiding from.. my mother

was often my goal–

To find a secret place

in a tree

or behind the cellar door,

Where I could read

and eat saltine crackers

with peanut butter,

and read my book

in solitude.

Hiding from my mother

was sometimes a challenge,

Where to hide my diary

(that I am certain she read

from time to time)

and would not have appreciated

my assessments of her–but to confront me

would have been an admission of guilt. (and

my mother never admitted or apologized

for anything–as long as she lived, I don’t remember

her ever saying she was “sorry”).

Nothing was ever safe

from her searches;

I once wrote a poem

about an unwed mother

and did not mean to leave it

on my dressing table.

I remembered it

when I was at the bus stop,

but to go back would have meant

missing my bus and being late

for school,

so I crossed my fingers,

and hoped she would not find it.

That afternoon I went to my grandmother’s

to spend the night but

my father came to get me.

In a rage, when we got

to the house,

he backhanded me across

the dining room and said

“How DARE you write

such things about your mother?”

I didn’t know what he was talking about;

The poem hadn’t been about her.

It was, as far as I can remember,

the only time my father struck me.

I never saw my poem again.

I imagine she burned it.

I became more cautious

about things I wrote

and kept them with me

at all times,

in my school notebooks,

buried amongst essays

and homework.

Hiding from my mother

was never easy.


Sandra Lee Smith

written in 2009

Updated September 3, 2018

Sandy’s footnote–some might ask couldn’t I have re-written the poem–but curiously enough, I have never been able to rewrite anything. One time my mother burned a story I was writing about a teenage girl.  I think she said “can’t you just rewrite it?”  No, I could never rewrite anything, especially a lengthy story all single-spaced.   And my mother was fond of burning things in the back yard at our Mulberry home. She burned all of my brothers’ baseball cards and comic books–one time my son Steve asked her if he could take a comic book and some baseball cards in the basement back to California with us; she said no – and then ended up burning a huge collection of cards and comics, dating back to my brother Jim’s collection and handed down to his younger siblings. brothers.  If it was something stored in her basement, she considered it her properly and could do with it whatever she wanted.  true story!



What I remember most of all,

of everything back then,

Is you and me and cloudy skies

and walking in the rain;

It was September, Eighty-five,

I was your lover, then,

We didn’t care if we got wet,

While walking in the rain;

Our clothes and shoes were sopping wet,

I see it all again,

We stood together and we kissed,

That September in the rain.

Along the coast, the beach was bare,

except for you and me,

We watched the seagulls swooping,

and we marveled at the sea;

I can’t go to that seacoast town,

that I don’t recall,

Being there, just you and me,

One September, in the fall.

It’s September, once again,

I watch the falling rain,

Warm inside, I see it falling,

on my window pane.

I don’t know where you are today,

It’s been so long, since then,

I wonder, do you ever think

of walking in the rain?

Sandra Lee Smith

Originally posted June 2, 2010

Updated September 2, 2018


That’s twice I’ve seen you walk on by;

without a glance in my direction–

You seemed intent and purposeful,

Perhaps gave the place inspection,

I know you saw me standing there,

Waiting for a sign,

But you simply walked on by

As though, perhaps, were blind.

I think, maybe, you’ve turned away

From all I meant to you,

Perhaps I didn’t do enough–

what would you have me do?

I see your spirit, floating free,

At our old home in the valley,

I know you loved that place the most,

Are you and those ghosts being pally?

Feel free to haunt it all you want,

I understand your need;

I couldn’t have it anyway,

I didn’t have the deed;

My heart aches for what might have been,

I wish that you could know,

I never dreamed that you would die–

I wouldn’t have it so.


Sandra Lee Smith

Originally posted February 24, 2012

Updated August 29, 2018


It was the twenty-second of December, back in Eighteen-fifty-three,

A cold and blustery winter day, as far as you could see,

I was helping mama in the kitchen, fixing soup for midday dinner,

I was slicing mama’s home-made bread, with her jam it was a winner.

Pa was shoeing horses in the barn, an inside chore,

He loved his work completely, never thought it was a bore.

When mama said “What’s keeping Pa? He should be done by now–

You check ‘n see if he’s having problems with that onery sow”–

I took her shawl to wrap around my head and dashed outside–

the icy air made me gasp and tears came to my eyes.

Inside the barn, I shouted out, but did not hear Pa call;

I searched and found him lying, cold and still inside a stall;

I threw a blanket over him, then ran to get my ma.

She sent me to the neighbor’s and men came to move my pa.

They put him in the bedroom and one rode to town for doc;

They made good time and hurried and arrived at one O’clock.

My pa had suffered from a stroke and could not speak or walk,

He could not stand or dress himself –he could not even talk.

So it fell upon my shoulders to take care of all the farm;

Folks said it wasn’t sightly for a girl; my mama said “No harm“;

Come spring, the neighbor’s sons returned; they plowed and planted seed–
Ma told them she would share our crops; they said there was no need.

I worked along those husky lads and soon one caught my eye;

I thought that I would marry him,  someday by-and-by…

But for now there’s ma and me, taking care of pa;

It was a year of hardship, the worst we ever saw.

My mother aged, taking care of him in every way,

While I grew strong and brown-skinned tending to the farm all day,

But came a morning when my ma could not get pa to wake,

He died while she was sleeping; I thought her heart would break.

And after Pa was buried, ma sat in her chair all day,

On the front porch, watching, as the hours whiled away,

Until one day she brightened and she called for me to see–

there’s papa, out there waiting” that’s what she said to me,

And that night she joined him; she wanted me to know,

that where he went, she’d follow; she couldn’t wait to go.

And yes, I wed the neighbor’s son, as soon as it was fittin’

He got me and the farm, and both of us were smitten;

Our first child was a little boy–we named him after Pa,

And when I had a little girl, we named her after ma.

Sandra Lee Smith

Originally written in 2012 in memory of my life partner, Robert, who passed away September 22, 2011. I wanted to write something to go with my American Childhood series and this felt just right.

Updated August, 28, 2018