Imperfect: A Poetic Rendering


why does it scare us so

to be?

Too slow

and we get left behind

and criticized.

Too fast

and we make mistakes.


As women

we struggle

to be thin.

To be beautiful.

To be desired.

To be capable.

All the while inside

secretly feeling imperfect

and wondering if we

are good enough,

or thin enough,

or pretty enough?


Perfection is a cruel master,

not allowing for any deviations,

flaws, or lesser standards.

But I believe that there

is beauty in imperfection

and freedom

in not trying to be perfect.

Perfectly imperfect.

That is true beauty.



Purple Toes and Black Hair (a Poetic Ode to being Bold)

She decided she wanted to write

a poem about purple toes and black hair.

She is not usually silly

or prone to fluffy things,

but light-hearted poetry

seemed a distraction to her

from discouragement

and the problems in her life.


She got a pedicure recently.

It was by a sweet Asian young woman

who did not speak much English,

but did a good job with painting

her toes a bright, pretty purple.

She picked it out to be

different and a bit funky.

She has a slight alternative side

that sometimes she hides well,

because some don’t see it as professional

and there are lots of different styles

that she enjoys.


She once dyed her hair purple

and helped her friend dye her hair

green and then blue

when her friend hated the green.

They were going to the Tooth and Nail tour

to see two bands that they liked who were uber-cool.

The purple dye was only for one day and temporary,

but sometimes she wouldn’t mind

making it more permanent

if only she was younger,

or if she didn’t care what people thought.

That thought makes her sigh,

because people like to judge based on appearance,

and society’s fashion rules for women

can sometimes be quite oppressive,

confining, limiting, and immodest.


She really wanted to be bold

so with her birthday she decided to dye her hair black.

She had never done that before.

It was a light, pretty black that she was drawn to.

But she got sick right before her birthday,

and thus her friend could not dye her hair.


Time went by,

and she had second thoughts,

but it bothered her that

she didn’t take that bold step.

She almost took the hair dye back

but, even if she hated it,

even when someone told her she may look like Elvira,

she just knew she needed to try it.

She needed to not live her life in a box

or worried about what other people thought.


She liked it, once it was done.

Black and bold

in her estimation.

But for some reason it quickly faded

and came to look more like a dark brown.

Still pretty, but not bold.  Not black.

Not the pretty black she had hoped for.

Funny, though, she observed that

many people did not even notice,

and she had thought it was so obvious

and so BOLD.


She is quite glad that she tried purple toes

and black hair.

She keeps telling herself

that change can be good

when she feels stuck in a rut

and like she can’t feel her dreams anymore.


*Poet’s note: Most of my poetry is personal, however sometimes I like to tell a creative story.  In the case of this poem, it is a true story, and I am the girl with purple toes and black hair.

Before hair dye picture of me (Rosemary Case, photographer)

Before hair dye picture of me (Rosemary Case, photographer)

Before black hair dye picture (Rosemary Case, photographer)

Before black hair dye picture (Rosemary Case, photographer)

Mid black hair dye (Rosemary Case, photographer credit and my Mom)

Mid black hair dye (Rosemary Case, photographer credit and Mom)

Instagram photo of me and my brother, Kevin (two days after black hair dye; Lyle Smith, photographer)

Instagram photo of me and my brother, Kevin (two days after black hair dye; Lyle Smith, photographer)

Toes are not the cutest subject, but I want to show off my purple toes and pedicure (Julie A. Smith, photographer)

Toes are not the cutest subject, but I want to show off my purple toes and pedicure (Julie A. Smith, photographer)

Hope: A Poem (The Beautiful Promise of Tomorrow)

Author’s note:

This poem is fictitious and inspired by the author’s imagination.  The only exceptions are that the woman’s name “Maria” was inspired by the name Maria in the musical “West Side Story” (a musical that I like which has many good lessons).  Second, the pink was inspired by pink being my favorite color, and also by my desire to somewhat personify the sunset.  Thus, I gave the sunset  some characteristics that (at times) I possess.  Finally, while I have at times felt like the little sparrow, forlorn and perhaps somewhat broken (which I do not care to elaborate on), this did not inspire the poetic sparrow, nor did any other resemblance to another person, thing, or sparrow, living or dead. (Ditto for the little old man).

 Hope: A Poem (The Beautiful Promise of Tomorrow)

The little old man

with a crooked back

and a kind yet wistful smile

gazes out at the shimmering ocean

beckoning to him in the distance.

Lost in thought

he ponders

simpler times,

days gone by,

and a girl with a pretty smile.


“Ah, to be young again,”

he thinks to himself.

Youth is wasted on the young,

as the old saying goes.


He has no regrets.

The mistakes he made

taught him well,

but yet

still his heart aches

and at times

he is lonely.


He misses his sweet Maria

with an intensity

that sometimes awakens him

in the night.

She was his muse

and his joy

and his love.

His beautiful wife

gone six years now

(My, how the time seems to fly).

But, she was NOT his life,

yet she played quite a starring role.

A good distinction,

the man has always thought,

is that life should be shared

and enriched

but never overtaken

or overwhelmed.



the little old man’s reminiscing

is broken

by a tiny little sparrow

looking forlorn

but yet brave

with his little broken wing.

The sparrow takes a little hop

along the glistening sand

and looks up with curiosity

at the little old man.


“Friend, I know how you feel,”

the man whispers with a conspiratorial wink.

Truth be told, sometimes the man

has been broken in spirit

and broken in his grief.

Yet, somehow,

a tenacious, persevering will

helped the man fight on.

But now,

his frail body

was starting to feel broken,

as age took its usual toll.

(He was approaching age 90,

it is important to note).

The little old man felt an affinity

for the little sparrow with his little broken wing,

and it brought a second smile

to the man’s weathered face.

The sparrow brightened his day

and reminded him to never give up.


Slowly, the man’s gaze slide up the horizon.

A sunset was starting

to pierce the sky.

“Where had the day gone?”

the man wondered.

A hint of a beautiful, stunning pink timidly peaked


across the horizon.


yet hopeful.

The spectacular sight

of the blossoming sunset

caused a hope to spring anew

into the little old man’s heart.

Every day is a gift.

There is the UNKNOWN PROMISE of tomorrow.

Beauty can shine her brightest

even in the darkest hours.


Thus, whistling a cheerful tune,

(one I think anyone could recall),

the little old man shuffled off

with hopeful expectation

of a light brighter than any dawn

and the beautiful promise of tomorrow.