The prompt over at dVerse Poets Pub yesterday was to write poem about a time or times that influenced our evolution to the poet we are today. I had to really think about this one to come up with something, and here’s what I came up with.
First it was research papers,
then long-winded briefs
Perhaps just a memo
or letter to a client
but never a poem,
that’s not the sort for me
Expressing in essays
my thoughts and beliefs
No limit on wordiness
to slow me down
Others expressed ideas
great and profound
in simple poetry
of few lines and words
Maybe, just maybe
I could give it a try
Use fewer words to express
the mercy and grace of my Savior
the pain and the darkness
shattered by Light
Turns out a few words
are sometimes all it takes
The MeetingTheBar prompt over at dVerse Poets Pub today was to write a character sketch, or include a character sketch, in a poem. Because our new kitten is at the vet today getting neutered he is on my mind, so I decided to write about him.
We Should Have Named Him Trouble
Alucard the seven pound kitten
His size I suspect will double
With him we are quite smitten
Though his middle name is Trouble
Slinking along almost flat
Preparing for an ambush
For stealth he has a knack
Until he wiggles his little tush
Yet so very sweet he can be
This funny little feline
Great love he gives for free
He’ll sleep in your lap or mine
Like a motor boat heard from afar
His purring announces his arrival
He sits up high as though he were czar
For his shoulder perch there is no rival
Like a panther sleek and black
He has the heart of a rebel
One day he’ll be a lazy old cat
But for now the mischief’s treble
Some people may have noticed that I haven’t been posting much lately. In fact, I’ve only posted one thing since Jan. 1, 2014. It’s not that I haven’t had ideas of things to write, because I have. And it’s not that I haven’t had any time at all to write, because as busy as I am there are time-waster activities I could give up so that I could write and post.
To be honest, I don’t really know what’s kept me from writing. However, a few weeks ago I went to a seminar titled “Just Write,” which I initially signed up for just to get the MCLE credits that I need. But it inspired me to pull out my pen (or my laptop) once again. Then over the last two weeks I wrote an essay for the writing contest for the Faith and Culture Writers Conference that I’ll be attending; Doing that reminded me of how much I love writing and want to get back to it. So tonight I wrote three short-form poems and have scheduled them to post over the next three days.
My goal—though I kind of hesitate to set one in writing for the world to see—is to post two or three new poems or essays each week. I need to “just write.” I won’t call it a resolution—it’s a bit late in the year for that anyway—but rather it’s an obligation to myself, akin to breathing.
Today is my four-year blogging anniversary. It was September 25, 2009 that I decided to try my hand at sharing my writing with the world. That first day I posted four different posts, I was so excited for the new adventure. Over the past four years I have:
- Published 988 posts (plus this one, which makes 989)
- Completed a post-a-day challenge in 2011, actually publishing more than 365 posts that year
- Had over 110,000 page views, starting with an average of 17 per day that first month and reaching a high average of 167 per day for March 2013
- I’ve had page views from 171 countries out of the 195 countries in the world since February 25, 2012, when WordPress started tracking these stats
- Gained 300 blog followers, plus 39 Twitter followers and 188 people who read my posts from Facebook links
- Made a bunch of blogging friends who have blogs I love to read when I have time
- Talked with numerous family and friends about my blog and been encouraged by their appreciation for what I write
- Had 6,241 comments posted, though probably a third of those are me responding to comments
- Started writing poetry, including a 40-poems-for-Lent session in 2013, and a total of 285 poems
- Been invited to contribute to two other blogs, one of which (Broken Believers) is still in operation
- Participated in a bunch of Open Link Nights and other poetry challenges at dVerse Poets Pub
- Boldly shared the Gospel with the hopes of bringing the Light of Christ to as many people as I can
- Based on hits for my recipes, helped a lot of people with their Traeger cooking
- Taken one three-month sabbatical from blogging, though it wasn’t planned, it just happened
- And thoroughly enjoyed myself so much that I am truly looking forward to my next four years of blogging and beyond
When I started, I could never have imagined the journey I’ve been on. I have no idea where God will take this blog in the future, but I have no doubt that He is in control of it every step of the way and that the rest of the journey is going to be awesome.
Next week I am going to see Dwight Yoakam in concert. I love Dwight for the way that he writes and sings of lost love in such a way that it makes me truly appreciate the love of my life. I’ve been thinking this week about a post on this topic, then today the Form for All lesson over at dVerse Poets Pub was a challenge to write Twitter poetry, in which each stanza is exactly 140 characters. It seemed like a good medium for my thoughts on Dwight’s music.
Living with Regrets
At the end of this long life
no one will regret that
their life wasn’t more like
a Dwight Yoakam song,
sad and lonelier, -
1000 miles of misery
stem from pride,
love lost and heartache found
leaving that sweet face behind
watching clouds, engines roar
Knowing love will never return
feeling emptiness and loss
stems from neglect of love
not reaching out or being there-
Needing words of hope.
I missed another Form For All at dVerse Poets Pub while I was taking a blogging break, but the great thing about blogs is you can always read older posts, and so I didn’t really miss the lesson at all. I missed getting to link my poem to that particular post’s Mr. Linky, but I can still try the new form I learned. This time it’s the rondelet and the lesson was offered by Tony Maude. A rondelet is a 7-line poem with lines 1, 3, and 7 being a repeated refrain, much like my favorite triolet. Expanding on the theme of my essay earlier this week I decided to write a poem in this form about trust. I modified the third repetition of the refrain just slightly, but otherwise tried to keep true to the form.
Can trust be found
midst deceitful everyday men?
Can trust be found
in the people I see around?
But if I choose to trust again,
suffer hurt, I’ll trust God and then
trust can be found.
While I was taking a break from blogging I missed a number of Form For All lessons at dVerse Poets Pub, so I decided yesterday to go check out the lessons I had missed to see if there was a new poetry form I could try. Sam Peralta—one of my favorite dVerse teachers—offered a lesson on the Japanese poetry form called the sedoka that consists of two tercets with lines of 5, 7, and 7 syllables each. Sam wrote, “The poem’s two verses usually provide two perspectives on the theme, with a sharp division after the third line, and a soft turn after line five, before the conclusion.” I decided to give it a try with one of my favorite themes.
Savior, then Lord
He died on the cross
Saving the souls of mankind
A free gift of salvation
We accept His gift
But this is not quite enough
For true change He must be Lord
The last time I posted was on March 30, the day before Easter, at the end of my 40 poems for Lent challenge. I never intended to go three months without posting, but I guess I needed the break. A lot has happened this year to keep me otherwise occupied, and I’ve spent a lot of time just listening to God. But I’ve really missed blogging so now the break’s over.
It’s funny how the longer I went without blogging, the harder it has been to get back to it. I think I just put so much pressure on myself to make this post so profound that I couldn’t come up with something I thought was worth writing about. So I finally decided to just start with a simple poem about how sometimes it’s more important to listen than to speak. In the coming weeks perhaps I’ll share what I’ve been hearing.
The Silence Speaks
Sometimes I feel compelled to speak
Often, truth be told,
I talk too much,
afraid of the silence
But when I stop, perfectly still
the silence speaks
His love and grace
7/2/13 update: I decided to share this poem at dVerse Poets Pub Open Link Night, which I’ve also missed over the past 3 months.
shed with love
offering my soul salvation.
This short poem is an elfje. I followed the link of a blogger who liked one of my posts, and then followed a link on her site to another blogger who had posted a lesson on how to write this little gem of a poetry form. I decided to give it a try.
With the approach of Lent, I’ve been pondering whether I would give something up this year or add a daily habit as I have done in the past. I thought about blogging every day for Lent, like I did in 2010, but I have a lot going on right now and have been enjoying the freedom of not feeling like I have to post something every day. Then I thought about taking an extended break from blogging, including not checking my blog stats or reading other blogs, so that I would have more time to focus on the new Bible Study Fellowship study I am starting tonight. I was leaning towards the latter option.
Then yesterday in church the sermon was based on Acts 17:16-34 (NIV) about Paul’s missionary efforts in Athens. Verse 17 says “So he [Paul] reasoned in the synagogue with the Jews and the God-fearing Greeks, as well as in the marketplace day by day with those who happened to be there.” I decided then that I would blog every day instead of giving up blogging for Lent.
But still I was concerned about how I was going to accomplish this. Then last night as I was trying to go to sleep a poem started forming in my mind, keeping me awake. I recently placed a small notebook and pen next to my bed to write down poems or other blog ideas so that they would not get lost like the poem that was the subject of a recent poem of mine titled A Poem Lost. So I flipped on the light, scribbled down the beginning and ending of this poem so that I could finish it later (I will be posting it tomorrow). I turned out the light and as I again tried to sleep it occurred to me that I could write a short poem every day for Lent. It will require the power and inspiration of the Holy Spirit to accomplish this task, but with His help I can.
So beginning on Wednesday, which is Ash Wednesday and the first day of Lent, I will be posting 40 new poems, one for each day of Lent (not counting Sundays). As Paul did, I will be sharing God’s love day by day as we approach Holy Week and the blessed death and resurrection of Jesus.