They came in a cloud

That was surrounded by light;

They landed on earth,

In the dark of the night.


We thought they were gods;

They came from a star;

We couldn’t imagine

Who or what that they were,


But they came bearing gifts,

And they met with our kings

And surprised them with feats,

And displayed wondrous things.


They had rods of magic

And performed wondrous feats;

We gasped with great wonder,

And bowed at their feet.


They wished to create

Signs that would show

The way to return,

When they should go.


They bred with our maidens

How, no one could know,

But they produced brilliant men

So this planet would grow;


They witnessed earth’s growth

And they watched from afar;

And perhaps, disillusioned,

They returned to their star.


–Sandra Lee Smith

originally posted August, 2010

Updated October 12, 2018




The night lights up with jagged streaks

that split across the sky,

Followed by a mighty roar

of thunder, as I try

not to listen to the cracks, as lightning

fills the night,

and heavy rains come falling down

above me where I lie

safe within the little hut,

a blanket over my head,

unable to drown out the sounds,

that fill my heart with dread.

Repeatedly the skies ring out

With thunder and my room

is shaken with the noisy sounds

that spell the sound of doom.

Sandra Lee Smith

Originally posted July 18, 2018

Updated September 3, 2018

Sandy’s footnote: most of the storms I write about aren’t from living in the high desert for the past 10 years, although we HAVE had some memorable ones–but I lived in Southern Florida for 3 years and storms there were a daily occurrence in the summertime. Sometimes, if you were out in your car when a storm broke over North Miami Beach, I would have to pull over and wait out the storm–the rain made it impossible to see where you were going.–sls


Do you remember a day in K-Mart,

When you went to park the car,

I waited for you, right inside,

I wasn’t very far,

but in you came,  your head down low,

and never looked my way–

I called out to you, once then twice-

ROBERT!” I would say–

that happened to us more than once,

and now it’s happened twice

When I’ve been dreaming dreams of you –

It wasn’t very nice!

But then, I think, perhaps you are

Unaware that I am near,

Like in that crowded Kmart store,,

You do not see or hear.


Sandra Lee Smith

Originally posted February 25, 2012 as UNTITLED

Updated August 29, 2018 renamed A DAY AT K-MART

SAndra’s Footnote–this was a true experience that happened years ago when we lived in the San Fernando valley and often shopped at a K-Mart store nearby.


Along the path to the Secret Garden were carefully laid stepping

stones, laid by Grandpa Bob, so that even if the grass were wet,

you could reach the secret garden without getting your feet wet

or–in my case so often–without getting my bedroom slippers wet.

Grandpa Bob sat in the secret garden in the early morning hours,

drinking coffee and reading the newspaper as he surveyed his

domain, observing with pleasure the stepping stones he had so

meticulously laid down and across the lawn, the rambling way the

Honeysuckle and Star Jasmine had climbed the wooden slats of

the Secret Garden and covered the roof of the structure. Plants and

flowers were everywhere; All roads–or in this case–all stepping

stones  Led to the Secret Garden.

The Secret Garden was taken apart and all the Stepping Stones and

bricks lifted and transported to a new place.  Now we were waiting for

these familiar pieces to a former life to be reconstructed, so that the

Stepping Stones will once again lead to a Secret Garden.

The fairies, gnomes and elves are waiting, as impatiently as I.

Sandy’s note:  The Secret Garden was rebuilt in 2010, one of four projects Grandpa Bob managed to complete in 2010; in 2011 he passed away from cancer of the esophagus.

Sandra Lee Smith

original posted June 15, 2009

Updated August 8, 2018



How often have you stopped and thought

what glamorous lives they lead,

Those movie stars and celebrities,

With everything they want or need!

Not for them the clipping coupons,

Struggling daily to make ends meet,

Standing in lines in supermarkets,

With the ninety-nine-cent-store elite;

Those famous people, singers, dancers,

Country stars in Tennessee,

Famous folk in Hollywood,

Living the life I want for me.

They live in mansions in the hills,

Dine on steak cooked by their chefs,

While you and I fry ground beef patties,

And cook hamburger helper with what’s left;

They have a chauffeur while I drive a car,

Mine, maybe, has seen better days;

They have a gardener while I’m pulling weeds,

Deciding what goes or what stays;

I’ve often wondered how it would be

to live a life of luxury,

to live a life on the other side,

Rich and famous filled with pride,

And then a famous face appears

In the tabloids, she’s in tears;

Seems her husband wrecked her life

And has a secret second wife;

Everything they say or do

the tabloids surely catch it all,

While in the privacy of my home

I watch the elite take the fall;

And then somebody says to me

“Your life seems like it’s the best,

I wish I had a life like yours”

I’m nonplussed, I must confess–

Someone wants a life like mine?

I see it now in kings and aces!

Life is just a wishing game,

of wanting to trade places!

Sandra Lee Smith

Originally posted Marcy 31, 2010

updated August 5, 2018


When I was about nine or ten years old,

I accompanied my mother on a bus downtown

where we went to Lerner’s, a mostly women’s

clothing store, where my mother tried on

different winter coats, and finally settled on a

gray coat that had an attached belt and a wide


My mother paid a couple dollars and put the

coat in lay-a-way, agreeing to pay a dollar a

week for the coat until it was paid for. I really

didn’t pay much attention to the financial end

of this transaction until my mother told me to

remember where the store was located because

she wanted me to make the trips downtown every

week to pay a dollar towards her coat in lay-a-way

(since my bus fare would only be a nickel each way–

an adult fare was probably double that).

So this is what I did.  I don’t remember how many

trips I had to make to Lerner’s but when it was

almost paid for, my mother went downtown to

finish paying off her coat and brought it home.

By this time I knew my way around a radius of

five or six blocks of the downtown area, my

favorite spot being Fountain Square.

I rarely had any money to spend–two nickels

for bus fare and a dollar for the gray coat in

lay-a-way–but meantime, I discovered the

5 & 10 cent stores in downtown Cincinnati,

and many thrift stores where you could buy books

for about twenty-five cents each. My favorite

discovery  was a huge bookstore called

Acres of Books that had three or four floors

of used books–everything your heart desired.

By the time I was about 11 years old, I was

babysitting for various neighbors–and two

dollars earned from babysitting could buy

quite a few books.

I should add, the wedding dress I bought for

myself in 1958 came from Lerner’s. (It always

knocks my socks off when I watch “Say yes

to the Dress” on TV–girls bring their girlfriends,

mothers, aunts, cousins–when they are shopping

for a wedding gown). I went to Lerner’s by myself

and with $100 that my grandmother gave to me

for a wedding present, I bought the dress, little

hat/veil, shoes, – everything I needed to walk

down the aisle – with money left over (for books

no doubt)

I am guessing that my mother decided I was

responsible enough to run other errands for

her because she began sending me to Cardinal

Craftsman, a greeting card company located a

Eight and Stat Streets, requiring me to transfer

under the viaduct to another bus going in that

direction.  She would give me a list of the boxes

of cards she wanted and the money to pay for

them. Then she would sell the cards individually

to friends and neighbors. I often sold cards to the

neighbors too.

I wish I could remember more about that gray

coat but at that age I only focused on whatever

I found interesting–like Fountain Square, thrift

stores and book stores–oh, and all the little toys

and trinkets you could find at the five-and-ten cent


I was aware that y mother dressed very stylishly

whenever she and my father went out together;

I’m guessing that her gray coat with an attached

belt and wide collar was very stylish in 1950 or ’51.

And by the time I was twelve years old, I was taking

my two younger brothers downtown with me, to do

our Christmas shopping. We rarely had more than

a dollar or so to do all our Christmas shopping for

parents, siblings, grandparents–all of our purchases

made at the 5 & 10 cent stores–along with visits

to the department stores to visit the Santa Clauses

and get a free peppermint stick. Somehow we

always managed to share a grilled cheese sandwich

and a coke  and make all of our gift purchases as well

(loaves and fishes?).  Its one of mine and my two younger

brothers most   endearing memories.


Sandra Lee Smith

Originally posted February 14, 2015

updated July 28, 2018



Prue’s Patch

is far, far away,

Hundreds of miles

north of the city

(and a great deal

farther from my home

in the California desert );

We drove four an a half hours

from the city of Niagara,

to reach the old road

that leads deep

into the woods;

Finally , we came to a

clearing and

here was a cabin,

surrounded  by trees.

two old apple trees grow


The only sound you hear

is that of the wind

rustling through the treetops.

Remnants of an old settlement

can be found here and here,

and traces of a barn

and some horse shoes.

it’s quiet and isolated;

one marvels at the solitude

and soft chirp of birds in the trees.

Walking in the woods in the morning,

we’d find traces of deer and bear

visitors in the night. My friend Sharon,

the owner of Prue’s patch, is undeterred

by  the traces of nighttime visitors and perhaps

a little annoyed by her city visitor’s reluctance

to venture too far from the cabin.  But, on the other

hand, I am completely at ease, sitting by a window,

sipping tea and  writing poetry in my notebook.

Prue’s Patch provides much inspiration.

It also reminded me of the wooded areas all around

my childhood home in Cincinnati, where my brothers,

girlfriend Patty and our younger brothers visited the

nearest woods with picnic lunches in the summer time

and other woods close to my grandmother’s home, where

my cousin and I explored on summer days. We had such


Thank you, Sharon, for the visit of a lifetime.

This one’s for you.


Sandra Lee Smith

originally composed, August  2009,

Updated July 11, 2018


The first indication is the change in the atmosphere, a feeling that comes into the Antelope Valley, as you look up and see the rustle of the leaves…gentle, at first, then more robust, as the tree branches sway and leaves begin to fall in earnest.

Clouds roll into the skies above us, white-cotton-candy clouds at first, then pink and purple clouds, the kind that mean business.

Then come the winds, sharp and purposeful winds that take your breath away if you are outside, making rumbling noises in the chimney and fireplace. It’s coming, you think, will there be a transition from summer to autumn or will we skip autumn altogether and fall directly into the sharp cold winds of winter?

It’s a good day to make beef and barley soup, or French onion soup, or even vegetable soup, simmering on a back burner; its a good day to mix the ingredients for chocolate chip cookies or oatmeal raisin or –to have a fire in the wood burning stove and wrap yourself into a quilt and read a book.  Or, it’s a good day to stay in bed, especially if you the sounds of an oncoming thundershower.

I like the change of seasons but not quite as much as those we were used to in the san Fernando Valley.

The changes in seasons are more abrupt, more drastic, in the high desert.

Sandra Lee Smith

Sandy’s note: if you are wondering why I am writing about windstorms when the weather here has been scorching hot–despite the heat, we have had high winds that are a force to be reckoned with–while in other states and other countries, there have been terrible rains and floods.

Originally composed October, 2012, updated July 8, 2018


My appreciation for the wildflowers in the desert

has grown by leaps and bounds.

Often in the springtime, following a rainy season,

we marvel and exclaim over the many different

kinds of wildflowers that spring up where you’d

least expect it–in gravel! where there is no soil,

just weeds and even when the wildflowers are

fading, you can still find poppies and Mojave aster blooms;

You can still find white parry gilia and small bunches of

five-petaled flowers growing close to the ground.

the wildflowers are an inspiration and the lessons

to be learned in the desert, that often looks barren

to an untrained eye–much grows here and flourishes.

It is my dream for myself, that I may flourish here, as well,

I, who have been uprooted so many times in my life–am

trying to find my roots here in the Antelope Valley,

amongst the wildflowers.


Sandra Lee Smith -originally titled Wildflowers in the Desert, composed October 15, 2012. Updated July 7, 2018


I thought they were exotic (or as exotic

as something could be if you were only

five years old)–those houses on the hill,

where homes were joined together,

side by side,

Everywhere, there were play areas

where for hours we could play

on teetertotters, swings, great big

slippery slides or in sandboxes.

In front of the houses, which were

actually apartments, was brickwork

and a bench where you could sit;

in back, a patch of earth to call one’s

own. Not far away there was a clubhouse

where Santa Claus would visit but I never

went there alone–for one thing, I didn’t

live in English Woods – my aunt and cousins

did. I thought it was the finest place. My cousins

lived there with their mother (who was my

mother’s sister) while their father was in the

Air Force during World War II.

We didn’t have time to think about their

father being away or  to feel sad — we

went to school at St Leo’s. To get to

school (or to my grandmother’s house)

from my Aunt’s apartment,

we had to walk through Myrtle Woods.

My cousin and I took turns on Friday

afternoons, calling my mother or

her mother to see if she/or I, could

spend the night. Sometimes yes

and sometimes no – but we were

never discouraged so we must have

gotten approval from her mother

or mine often enough to keep trying.

Sometimes, when Renee and I were

walking up to the houses on the hill,

(which is how I thought of them) –

we had to stop and rest while my

cousin caught her breath, because

she had asthma.

Years later, I learned that English

Woods was a housing project–one of

the first in Cincinnati, I believe–

built especially to accommodate

the servicemen with families.

I thought it was the most wonderful

place in the world in which to live–

swings and slides and sandboxes

practically outside your own back

door? What’s not to like?