The Life and Times of Love

©2017 E. R. Smith All Rights Reserved

Radha the Goddess of Love


Love was born with space and time

Fire forged, spiritually divine

Love resides behind eyes, focuses gaze

Assuring, always

Love holds on until the tear of tides released

Until requited knows no peace

Love sees no infirmity, wrinkle, lines

When winds grow cold love pines

Love is strongest when challenged by death

Battles relentlessly until ousting its breath

So Love is forever, sees all possibility

Of expanding itself into infinity

Loving rare lovers hard to find

More than skin to skin intertwined

Love as a deity has a legion of names

Infinitely revered, in all cultures claimed


©2017 E. R. Smith All Rights Reserved


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A flame jumped out from the pyre

and ignited a passion in my soul

Blue flame shot out to inspire

lofty goals

Ablaze am I as passions unrequited burn away

Moving fire, my hand is a torch bringing on a new day

The keeper of the flame has moved on and left a legacy

Boiling, churning, molten in the core of me

I Heard

©2016 E. R. Smith All Rights Reserved


I heard my mom say it best, if you have nothing good to say be quiet.

I perceived she meant don’t create missions that hurt others, be silent.

Mom said to ignore that girl that said such mean things to me.

Discern her feelings instead, empathize, have sympathy.

Did you hear your mom say, “Sharing is caring?”, mine said this.

Learn what people need and provide, with the angels be amidst.

What if mom caught wind of the news today, would she discern a different strategy?

She’s gone to the heavens, but I’m told she can hear it; travesty.

I heard, I listened, I acted under your command; my dearest.

Praying you can spiritually advise me, how now to proceed; for the best.

History for the Child Bibliophile

©2017 E. R. Smith All Rights Reserved


In Praise of Our Fathers and Our Mothers by Leo and Diane Dillon



Bibliophiles love books; I consider myself a book lover. Worry about how my child would perceive literature was a concern.  Many children struggle with reading and therefore hate it.  I began my child’s collection before her birth.  As she grew I read books with characters she liked, but also literature with characters she would need to know. Thankfully she is a slice of cheese just as sharp as her   mother.  Her current obsession is Manga; my only challenge now is keeping her at Y rating for youth 10+.

Learning should be fun and engaging.  Certain genre lend to the imagination therefore they are best for beginning readers.  Fables, legends, tales told by griot, have been a necessary piece for communities that felt apart from the larger society. Tales crafted to inform, protect, as well as to enrich the lives of children by affording them a legacy.  A heritage.  These five have to read” books enrich with stories as well as art.  Old and new readers will readily engage.

A Wave in Her Pocket:  Stories From Trinidad   By: Lynn Joseph

A Wave in Her Pocket by Lynn Joseph offers a treasure of myths and fables from Trinidad.  I try to read this book with the cadence of a born and bred Jamaican; to lend to the understanding that all cultures have a history of storytelling.  The clever character Tante is the family anecdotalist with a tale for every occasion.  Tantie’s tales originate in West Africa and some are were formed in Trinidad.  My favorite are the names of the mystical creatures “Soucouyant”, “Ligahoo”, “Graveyard Jumbies”, scarey tales true; but geared to teach a lesson.  Artist Brian Pinkney’s scratchboard technique gives movement to the illustrations, on page 28 the illustration is simply mystical.  A mini Glossary on page 49 defines terminology used in Trinidad.  This book can be used as a nightly reading or as a reference for a study on culture for social studies.  It’s a gem for so many reasons.


Kadir Nelson offers a wealth of history, artistry, and quotes from noted historic figures.  Nelson’s paintings ally the telling of America’s history through the eyes of the African American.  In the Author’s Note he states,

Painting historical American subjects pushes me to learn more about who I am, where I come from, and the role my ancestors played in helping form our country.

The African slave trade begins the tale in the voice of an engaging young woman. She outlines American history through to the civil rights era.  I love the timeline at the end of the book.  A supportive index is supplied also to assist young researchers in finding a topic. Heart and Soul should be purchased in hardcover, this is a book to be shared, treasured, and passed down through generations.

Painting by Kadir Nelson entitled “Slave Ship” on pages 16 and 17.

Cut From the Same Cloth:  American Women of Myth, Legend, and Tall Tale by Robert San Souci.  When one thinks hero one often forgets heroine.  San Souci’s research spans America introducing ladies such as Hiiaka from Hawaii, Hekeke from San Francisco, and Annie Christmas from New Orleans.  Using the forces of lightening, intellect, and physical force these gals reinvent the idea of what girls can do.  51ge8yxpgll-_aa300_

Extensive research is listed in the Sources and also offers a detailed bibliography.  Illustrations by artist Brian Pinkney lends drama and movement to the stories.  I cannot express enough the necessity for hard covered books. Teach children to care for and even show case literature with pride; right next to their video games if they must.

The People Could Fly:  American Black Folktales by Virginia Hamilton.  Ms. Hamilton explains the importance of folktales in the Introduction.

Out of the contacts the plantation slaves made in their new world, combined with memories and habits from the old world of Africa, came a body of folk expression about the slaves and their experiences….The slave teller made the rabbit smart, tricky, and clever, the winner over larger and stronger animals….To the slaves, the rabbit came to be identified with themselves, which makes these tales highly unusual in animal folklore genre.


The Beautiful Girl of the Moon Tower is a favorite part of this collection.  A short bibliography at the end is great for researching further.  Kids these days Google everything, so there will be loads of information to discover.  Artists Leo and Diane Dillon make this book a keeper.

Her Stories also by Virginia Hamilton continues her wealth of knowledge in folklore. She teams up again with noted artists Leo and Diane Dillon.  Students should know the names and works of a number of artists along with the noted Van Gogh, Leonardo da Vinci,  and Michelangelo.  Understanding how artists lend visuals to a story is a lasting understanding.  Graphic design is a new way artists are lending their vision.  When discussing the past to children, visuals are essential in helping to shape an awareness for a time long past.  The paintings are vibrant and should be housed in a way that keeps them lasting.

“Manuel Had a Riddle” excerpt from The People Could Fly:  American Black Folktales

Belonging to a society of illustrators the Dillons have shaped historical visuals for more than a decade.  My favorite story in this collection is Woman and Man Started Even.  It is a lovely and funny tale of a couple going directly to God to solve their arguments.  Resources are listed at the end; children can used these to make up their own new legends and continue the tradition.  When children create they learn to love and appreciate.  New bibliophiles will be formed.  Feel free to share favorites of your own in the comments.  I look forward to reading them.


The Memory of Home

©2017 E. R. Smith All Rights Reserved

1214 Boston Road


Hundreds of steps leading to the fifth floor,

can’t wait to get to my door,


Cracked need painting walls,

with matching floors,


Smells of marvelous coming from the kitchen,

breakfast, lunch, and supper,


Downy on the sheets in perfect folded piles,

an every week routine,


Questions about school, tests, mates,

daily check-in,


Home where memories are made,

life lessons are taught,


                                           By:  E. R. Smith

February: Affirming a Smart Legacy

©2017 E. R. Smith All Rights Reserved

Arturo Alfonso Schomburg, born and raised in Puerto Rico and grew to prove that African Americans and African Carribeans have a history, a relevance, and have unleashed countless contributions to their adoptive societies. A great collector of historical documents. Established the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture in New York.
Soldiering, spying, and slave resistance in a time without technology. A wonder.

In our early history there was no Snapchat, Instagram, LinkedIn;

Facebook was church.

Social media was all religions and therein movements grew; after decades became televised.

Tweets; kept everyone off the city bus one year.

Instant Message; was the Jim Crow signs in our neighborhoods.

Ping back by reminding everybody; “What preacher said Sunday?”


LinkedIn was a community barber; or hair salon.

eHarmony was socials, bible study, and family picnics.

What is now thought of as soft, old, corny; schooled the toughest and most tenacious fighters.

Call it dull and nerdy; call it any acronym you choose; but bulld a bright future with the memory of it.

Remember the time when Facebook Friends were right next to one another; marching.

FaceTime was marriage, family; Loving yet not always legal.

Writing missions and directives on quilts; texting.

Beating out rebellion on drums;  code for that tech savvy.

Singing spirituals:  memorizing, devising.

We’ve always been Smart, way before electricity;                                                                remember our legacy.

Civil rights activist battled for voter registration, social justice, the end to segregation in higher education.
Rosa Parks arrested for refusing to follow Jim Crow rules. Resistance begins a boycott to teach city bus companies some manners.

Oshun: Golden Yellow is Her Flare

Image shows Oshun and gifts attributed to her.

©2017 E. R. Smith All Rights Reserved

Yellow for my mother; she wears it in her hair,

wound in lusterus coils

Golden woven silk is draped on cinnamon skin so bare,

and richly oiled

Seated beneath the waterfall legs outstretched on an ancient crocodile,

she teases


Peacock feathered fan in hand she smiles at what she knows, and

 what she pleases

Yellow glows, the buzzing bees, her messengers,

dancing on the sweetest blooms sipping nectar


Amber the honey, an elixir,

taste it first if you respect her

Gold the bangles forged by Ogun,

making music of her hands and feet

Flaxen sails of faithful ships,

 La Caridad blesses her fleet

Give us fresh water, Yalodde Yeyé Kari! Yeyeo! Omoriyeyeo,

that we may be refreshed

Five yellow sunflowers, a pumpkin, a yam,

to repay our debt

Mama Yeye with golden jeweled mirror in hand,

to take in her elegance

Preparing to party, saffron hued perfume sweetens air,

Gatherers praise her eloquence

Young devotee in initiation dress.

 Mama Yeye,

Smile on me, send me your gifts, and love

Mother is known for her charity, and defense of us,

from above

Continue reading “Oshun: Golden Yellow is Her Flare”