She was, she believed, a virtuous woman,

Why, she went to church every day!

And she sat in full view in the very first pew,

So everyone would see how she prayed!


With her, she carried a bible and rosary,

Where ever she went, in her purse,

Whatever the date, she’d step up to the plate,

Quoting for everyone, chapter and verse;


She went to the funerals of all the church members,

And she’d stand with the mourners, lamenting,

and prayed out loud to the heavens above,

for the soul of the one they were sending;


She saved all her pennies to give to the missions,

for those pagan souls some where over the sea,

She gave old clothes to the Salvation Army,

and she worked in the soup kitchen, for free.


But her own soul was tight, like a hard little ball,

Resisting the freedom of giving,

This virtuous woman, who had so much to give,

Had nothing of love in her living.


She died as she lived, a pauper at heart,

As if giving love would make her soul break,

The priest who said mass the day of her funeral,

was puzzled no one came to her wake.


Sandra Lee Smith

originally posted June 19, 2010

Updated September 28, 2018


She glides onto the ice,

and stands poised in her position,

Waiting for the music to begin;

the crowd lets out a roar,

They’ve seen her skate before

and everyone hopes that this will be

her biggest win.

She dances on the ice, Double Axel,

Camel Spin, a Salchow jump and

Lutz for extra measure,

She does a layback spin, she twirls

and leaps and flips;

The crowd cheers and claps

just to show their pleasure.

She twists and springs so high

It seems like she can fly,

Like a butterfly, defying gravity,

Her smiling face, serene,

She is living her own dream

and doing it all for the world to see.

It all comes down to this–

Four minutes of sheer bliss,

and when the music reaches its crescendo

the audience is cheering,

Her joyful face endearing,

Olympic gold makes a very fine memento!

Sandra Lee Smith

first written February, 2010. updated 7/23/18

SANDY’S NOTES: THE SKATER in this poem is Michelle Kwan, whose career I began to

follow when she was something like 14 years old and film clips from those first years are a delight to see–there was this tiny, smiling,  pixie defying gravity on the ice…she lived in Torrance, California, not very far from where I lived at the time, so I had to follow her career. She is now retired from ice skating. I had no interest in figure ice skating until Michelle came along and then I was watching all of the figure skaters through those years. (sigh–I think those were the best years for both male and female figure skaters). -sls




“Meet me at the Ritz,” he said

“and we’ll have a nice tea,

and some of those little cucumber sandwiches

with perhaps a few of their Petit Fours”

Reluctantly, she agreed.

It was so unlike Luther to suggest


He who counted and hoarded every penny

and thought a fine day together was a

walk in the park– with her bringing some tuna fish

sandwiches for them to eat and  a thermos of

tea for them to drink.

But she dressed meticulously in her

very best frock

and took special care with her nails and make up,

brushing her hair to make it shine.

Luther was waiting at a table and waited until she was seated

to announce that he had ordered the cucumber sandwiches

but, of course, if there was something else she preferred?

Oh, no, she responded. Cucumber sandwiches are just fine.

wondering what  is up with Luther?

The Ritz was over-warm and very crowded.

she began to feel a little lightheaded,

and worried a little more, a frown making a crease

between her eyebrows.

Luther ordered two of the pink petit fours, the ones

with tiny candied violets on top.

The waitress brought another pot of tea and their

two pink petit fours.

She fretted.

Finally, Luther spoke.  “I’m sorry to say,” he began

and she braced herself, fearing the worst–

“My dear” he began again, at which point

She fainted dead away, landing face-down

smack in the middle of her petit four.

When she came to, Luther was gone

and she was stuck with the bill and a candied violet

on her nose.

She knew she would never see him again.


Sandra Lee Smith

Written April 29, 2009/updated June 24, 2018



Her name is Hilda;

she has been the maid in the Von Haughton family

for many years. Since Ilsa was just a baby, Hilda

has been the maid.

Who came to her when she scraped her knee?

Who turned to her when she was disappointed or unhappy?

Who came to her when she met the love of her life, her Hans?

Yah, Ilsa came to Hilda, who has been like a mother to her.

Always Hilda this and Hilda that.

Now Hilda helps Ilsa into her gown,

fastening the many buttons,

Reassuring her darling Ilsa that she is a beautiful bride.

Ilsa beams and Hilda smiles.

Her darling girl is happy.

This is all that matters right now.

Suddenly, Ilsa hugs the maid and says to her:

“Hilda, I can’t live without you!

Come with Hans and me,

Live with us and take care of us!”

“Now, now,” Hilda replies, placing the veil on her darling girl’s head.

“You and Hans won’t want a maid underfoot when you

start your new life together.”

“Perhaps you are right,” Ilsa agrees.

“How do I look?”

Hilda smiles. “You look like an angel. Hans is a lucky man”

and the bride rushes forth to meet her intended while Hilda

begins the task of cleaning up.

Soon, Ilsa’s father comes into the room.

“Hilda,” he says, “Here is an envelope for you, a bonus for all

that you have done for Ilsa.

But now that she is gone – you know, the missus and I —

We don’t need you anymore.

We have to let you go”


Sandra Lee Smith

first written April 30, 2009


We were planning our future, Harold and I,

As we sat outside gazing at the hills.

“I want four children” I said.

Harold replied “three”.

I countered, “They should be raised Episcopalian,”

and Harold said “Lutheran”

“I believe in private schools” I said,

and Harold replied “public”

“I think vegetarianism is the healthiest” I said,

and Harold said “what bunk! no one ever died from

fast food hamburgers!”

“I think babies should be breast fed,” I said

and Harold replied “formula is a lot faster and it won’t

keep  you from going back to work right away”

I said “I believe children should be exposed at an early

age to literature” to which Harold replied, “what nonsense!

there’s always TV!”

I think a broad range of music appreciation is vital

to a young child’s upbringing” I said,

and Harold replied “nothing like good old rock and roll,

or country and western, or even heavy metal–“

and I wondered

What had I gotten myself into? and why didn’t we have

this discussion before we got married?


Sandra Lee Smith,

April 12, 2009/updated June 24, 2018


Other people have nicer homes and greener lawns,

And some have white picket fences;

Other people keep their homes nice and tidy.

And don’t have magazines and books piled up in stacks

alongside the sofa or their beds.

Other people don’t always shave a pile of dishes to wash

and another pile to  dry  and put away;

Other people pay their bills on time

And don’t have to fret over the budget all the time,

and other people have enough  money to go on

European Tours or visit China or Thailand or Viet Nam (even though I have no desire to go to those places, my self)

Other people make a generous donation to the church when

the missionary came to plead for money f or his people in Brazil.

Other people. Who are those other people?

Are they anything like the mysterious ghostly “they”?


It was a week of passings In Tinsel Town,

First Ed McMahon,

Then Farrah Fawcett

and then the greatest hoopla of all,

Michael Jackson,

Dying of a drug overdose,

With people crying in the streets,

As though the Pope had died.

Next was Billy Mays,

whose name I did not recognize;

His death overshadowed by a pop star,

And then My Little Margie whose real

name was Gale Storm who was a tv star

Back in the 1950s.

Mr. McMahon had a full life

And will be long remembered

As Johnny Carson’s sidekick.

I watched several documentaries

about Farrah Fawcett’s life

and grieved for those who loved her;

She was only sixty-two

and tried so hard to continue living.

I cannot find sympathy in my heart

for the man who mutilated his face

and thought sleeping

with little boys was acceptable,

Even though the outpouring of grief

Took place in South Central last week;

I will grieve for the man

he could have been,

The little boy on stage

with the Jackson Five,

Dancing and singing while

his heart filled with molten lead

it was a week of passing in Tinsel Town.


Sandra Lee Smith

July 7, 2009



The Baker family, down the street

Absolutely could not be beat

In any sport or academic,

Naught for them was problematic;

The children won all of the races

and spelling bees were just some paces,

For greater grandioser things

Like degrees and wedding rings.

Thirteen children, none were twins,

Good Catholic kids all free from sin,

Filled the town with kith and cousin,

All were known as Baker’s Dozen,

Doctors, lawyers, teachers, too,

stuck together just like glue,

Family reunions although glowing

Filled the town to overflowing,

Good for business, all those cousins,

Started out with Baker’s Dozen.


Sandra Lee Smith

March 15, 2009


is it woman’s lot in life

to utter dire predictions,

and warnings, such as

“This knobby thing is going to fall off

and get lost”

and it is man’s lot in life

to totally ignore her–

Not once, but dozens, if not hundreds,

of times throughout the years.

Mean, after all, refuse to acknowledge

that women might know something

that they do not,

Especially mechanically related

things such as a loose knobby thing,

which, of course, does fall off

and disappears,

and has to be replaced.

And as women, we have a choice;

We can say “I told you so!”

or we can bite our tongues

and let them deal with it,

Not just tightening a loose knobby thing

but going to the hardware store

to buy a new one

And if they dare to complain

that the knobby thing has doubled in price,


we can say “I tried to tell you,

But of course you

never listen

to anything






(what the heck)

we can be smug and go ahead and say



Sandra Lee smith,

March, 2009

(been there and done that)


“It’s a jungle out there” I heard someone say

and I reflected on the truth of it.

cars, trucks, anything with four or more wheels,

Rush up and down streets, braking heavily

When the light turns red

and if the streets are a jungle,

the freeways are even more so, with

motorists hell-bent to reach their destinations

and everyone else beware–

their vehicles are beasts prepared

to demolish anything

that gets in their way.

Pedestrians are no longer safe

Walking to or from school or work,

or just taking a walk around the block

in the evening.

You never know what is out there;

Punks, wanna-be gangsters–

Another child w ho wants your child’s


and takes it.

Never leave your car unlocked;

Never leave any belongings unattended.

Never leave the house unlocked at night.

Dangers lurk everywhere

in the Urban Jungle.


Sandra Lee Smith,

March 9, 2009