Tag Archives: Hope

A Beautiful Sacrifice

Over at dVerse Poets Pub, Mary challenges to write about beauty. With Good Friday and Easter on the horizon, I decided to write about the most beautiful sacrifice in all of history.

A Beautiful Sacrifice

It is an ugly scene

A naked man with bloody hands and feet
hangs upon an instrument of torture
sharp thorns jammed into his forehead
blood dripping down his face
sweat covering his body

He weeps
not for himself, but for the mockers
spitting at him
taunting and jeering
casting lots for his clothing
knowing not what they do

He cries out in agony yet
intercedes for those who hate him
prays they be forgiven, that we be forgiven
He atones, redeems, sets free
loves in a way we cannot fully comprehend

It is a beautiful scene
It is a beautiful sacrifice of love

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Words Lurk

Another dVerse challenge I couldn’t resist. Victoria has called us to action, to use verbs to improve our poetry. She suggested taking an older poem and rewriting it to replace any tired “to be” verbs with action verbs. I took an extremely old one of mine, from before I posted a single blog post, and spruced it up a bit.

Words Lurk

Words hole up in my pen
only ink

Words lurk in dark recesses
of my mind

I wrestle with sleep
as words swirl and dance
playing word games

The sun arises, beams into my room
I struggle to recall and record the dance
The words hide, again
in the dark recesses
like the hole-in-the-wall gang

They desire freedom
to live in the light
yet fear entraps them

What will others think
if they reveal their dance?
In lines and curves of black
shining on the glaring white?
Lingering but in darkness
remains safer

And here is the original for comparison:

Words That Hide

Words are hiding in the ink
deep within my pen

Words are hiding in the dark
deep within my mind

I know they are there
because I see them when I try to sleep
They run around in circles
Playing their word games
And keeping me awake

But when the sun comes up
and I try to write them down
They hide again within my pen
and deep within my mind
In the dark within my mind

I know they want to come out and play
But they are afraid
At night in bed they feel safe
Playing in my mind

What will others think of them
If they play upon a page?
In lines and curves of black
Shining on the glaring white
It seems much safer just to hide
Within my pen
Within my mind
In the dark within my mind

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Filed under Life, Poetry

The Beginnings of a Poem

This is the beginning of a poem I’m sharing for Meeting the Bar at dVerse Poets Pub, following the Oulipo option from Anna. Playing with language and poetry rules, I’m writing a poem with the following self-imposed rules:

  1. It’s a Terza Rima with 26 stanzas plus the ending line
  2. It’s in the style of a Hebrew acrostic, like Psalm 119, so that each stanza begins with a successive letter of the alphabet—in this case, the English alphabet
  3. Each stanza begins with a name or characteristic of God
  4. Each line is 7 syllables, because 7 is the number of perfection
  5. The first line and the ending line end with the word “love” because God is love

Anyway, it’s not finished. It’s much more than a 48-hour project. But I wanted to share what I have so far, the first 7 stanzas, and get some feedback. One thing I can’t decide is whether to use “Thy, Thee, and Thou” throughout or the more modern “You and Your.” This version uses Thy, etc.

Oh, and it doesn’t have a title yet. Here it is.

Adonai, my Lord of love
How I long to see thy face
Alight on me, Holy Dove

Bread of Life, strength for the race
Thy Word, my faith sustain me
Resting, resting on Thy grace

Creator, who made the tree
Sun and moon, all life, mankind
Thou gave us but one decree

Deliverer, oh so kind
Even though I break Thy law
Giving sight when I am blind

Elohim, I kneel in awe
Before Thy majestic throne
In Thee is nary a flaw

Father, mercy Thou hast shown
To Thy undeserving child
Though to wander I am prone

Good Shepherd, meek and mild
Keep me in Thy safe lockup
Bring me back when I’m beguiled

 

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Finding Light

This is the second poem I wrote during a poetry workshop at the Oregon Christian Writers’ conference last Saturday.

Finding Light

Lord, I’ve heard that You are light
then wonder why I close my eyes
and walk in darkness
as if I were deep in a cavern
without a headlamp or even a match

Stumbling, stubbing my toe on a rock
in plain sight if only I’d look
with the eyes of faith You’ve given me
But I don’t
I choose to stumble instead
and then complain about the pain
of a broken toe or a bruised ego

How long, O Lord, will I walk in darkness?

You are my headlamp in this dark cavern of life
brighter than a million, billion matches
and I long to see
the way, Your way
Help me find Your light

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Hate Never Wins

Cain killed his brother Abel
with a rock because of hate
But in the end
Cain didn’t win

Hate never wins

Pontius Pilate killed Jesus
had him crucified and buried
But in the end
Pilate didn’t win

Hate never wins

Caligula killed for pleasure
was a truly evil emperor
But in the end
Caligula didn’t win

Hate never wins

Ivan the Terrible killed his own son
in a fit of characteristic rage
But in the end
Ivan didn’t win

Hate never wins

Hitler killed the Jews and more
in gas chambers and by firing squad
But in the end
Hitler didn’t win

Hate never wins

Saddam Hussein killed all opposition
reigning terror on the nation he led
But in the end
Hussein didn’t win

Hate never wins

Pol Pot killed a million Cambodians
by starvation, imprisonment, and murder
But in the end
Pol Pot didn’t win

Hate never wins

Francois Duvalier terrorized Haiti
assassinating many, leaving them poor
But in the end
Duvalier didn’t win

Hate never wins

Idi Amin killed fellow Ugandans
by torture and executions
But in the end
Amin didn’t win

Hate never wins

Islamic extremists kill Christians,
Hindus, Muslims who don’t agree with them
But in the end
They won’t win

Hate never wins

Even when the battle is lost
Hate never wins its war against love

 

The prompt over at dVerse Poets Pub today is to write a poem against terrorism. Head over and check out the other offerings by poets standing up for what is right.

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Unconditional Love

The prompt over at dVerse Poets Pub today is to write a poem inspired by the art of Danny Gregory. I picked one of Danny’s sketches that appealed to me because it was of dogs. I love dogs!

(c) Danny Gregory

(c) Danny Gregory

Unconditional Love

Love abounds
It can be found
most anywhere you look

But unconditional love
is hard to find
except in the Good Book

and in the wag of a dog’s tail
no matter now long
your quick trip to the store took

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Cardboard Evangelism (Miracles)—A Found Poem

This morning in church we had a visit from a group of men from our local Teen Challenge ministry. The sermon was about how God still performs miracles and these men shared how they are each a miracle. They did so in a very unique way; they called it their cardboard evangelism. Each man walked in front of the congregation with a cardboard sign. On one side they had written who they saw themselves as before they came to Teen Challenge; on the other side they had written who they are now—a miracle of God.

After the service I asked if I could write a found poem based on their cardboard evangelism and they said I could. So with the help of a few of the men I took pictures of the signs so that I could transcribe these miracles into this found poem.

TC Frown TC Smile

Cardboard Evangelism (Miracles)

Walking in a world of darkness
Found the Light in Jesus Christ

Lost cause; No foundation
Redeemed child; New creation

Chained down by addiction
Set free in Christ

Suicidal depressed broken spirit
Miracle Overcomer Healed

Young homeless lost with no hope
Found by Jesus who gave me hope for a better life

Abandoned, Dad was in prison
Found and free through my ultimate Father

Addicted to cutting myself; Hopeless, in pain
Christ bled enough for me. I am healed inside and out

20 years running with the devil
Now . . . running with GOD

Introduced to meth; it was killing me slowly. I hit my rock bottom
Repented to God. Now praying to be faithful

Bitter outcast looking for acceptance in a needle and a spoon
Passionate Jesus freak

Godless dirtbag
Fresh and clean with the Lord

Lost everything to alcohol
Gained everything through Christ

Overwhelmed by darkness
Overcome by Truth

On the street homeless, shooting meth, feeling hopeless
Overcame all with God’s love & forgiveness

Felt misled
Now have purpose

Had everything; wasn’t enough
Have Jesus; more than enough

Lost, broken, and hopeless
Found, healing, and hopeful

Junkie running to the needle every day
Delivered running to my Sword †

Imprisoned by drug addiction
Bailed out by Jesus Christ

Drinking away the past and the hurt
Trusting in Jesus to heal it all

Chasing dope daily, just to get high
Chasing God daily, and lifting Him high

Afraid I could do nothing right
I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength!

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Standing

Emotions
Massive crashing waves
Fear, anger, jealousy, doubt
I’ll weather this epic storm standing
On the Truth

 

At dVerse Poets Pub Meeting the Bar, Tony Maude has created a new form, the expanded Cinquain. This form has five lines of 3, 5, 7, 9, and 3 syllables, in that order. I had a short poem already written that I hadn’t quite finished. I decided to revise it to fit this form.

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Stripped Away

Yesterday I had coffee (well, actually I had tea) with my dear friend Ginger at Kyra’s Bake Shop in Lake Oswego. (As a side note, Kyra’s is a 100% gluten-free bakery and the treats are delicious. I know that’s hard to believe, but it’s true.)

I gave Ginger a signed copy of my book, which she encouraged me to publish. We had a great visit and I was telling her about the culmination of my year of no fear in 2014, which began when she and I went to a writers’ conference in the spring. She said to me, “I think there’s a poem in that.” This is not the first time that very phrase from Ginger’s lips has resulted in a poem. So I’m dedicating this one to Ginger. It’s my first post of 2015 (so, no, Post-a-Day isn’t happening) as a perfect recap of what God did in 2014.

Stripped Away

One by one
You stripped away
Each old fear
That stood in my way

To becoming what
You planned for me
A child of God
Hopeful and free

“No fear” I wrote
I thought it true
So many fears
Had been quelled by You

“No fear” I wrote
Yet one remained
A truth to tell
Laden with pain

Still You were faithful
In my year of no fear
To take that last one
And make it clear

That the truth once told
Would set me free
And the bond I cherish
Will forever be

Now there is nothing
For me to fear
Not even fear itself
Can snicker or sneer

To set me adrift
From the course You’ve laid
Sharing my freedom
In never being afraid

1/13/15 update: The dVerse Poetics Prompt today is to write about a secret. Since this poem involves a secret truth that needed to be told, I decided to share it there.

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Poetry from World War II

I had lunch today with a dear old friend. She has been an inspiration, mentor, prayer partner, and much more to me for many years. But sometimes I wish I knew her when she was younger—I’m sure she was a real hoot! We met at her modest apartment and talked awhile over her dining room table. I gave her a copy of my new poetry book because I knew she would love to read it. Lo and behold, she pulled a tattered piece of paper out of her Bible and said, “I’ve written some poems, though they aren’t as good as yours.” Now I don’t like to disagree with Norma because she is my elder (by 44 years!), but I have to disagree with her on this one. I think her two poems are wonderful! They were written when she was in the Army Nurse Corps in World War II on Army Nurse Corps stationery, with a few doodles thrown in for good measure. Here’s what the originals looked like:

Norma Poem 2 Norma Poem 1

I asked her if I could type them up so they wouldn’t be lost when that poor, tattered piece of paper finally crumbled to dust and she said yes. She also said I could share them here. So here they are, the musings of an Army nurse during World War II.

Just a Few Thoughts on Philosophy, by Norma Mohr

A tear, a laugh, a smile, a sigh
For these we ask the reason why
And on them ponder

For trials, tests, for happiness
For struggles to achieve the best
For love, for hate, for praise, for jests
We’ve sought the answer

For weary days, for happy days
For insights to life’s many ways
We ask these things, the questions raise
For what, this purpose?

And in our human frailty
We hope to solve the mystery
And also seek a remedy
For life’s vast problems

It is not ours to reason why
A higher power than you and I
Has put us here to live, to die
Nobly for others

*****

My Prayer, by Norma Mohr

I pray for love instead of hate
I pray for light instead of might
I pray for strength to carry on
And as I wake to face each dawn
I pray some soul I might inspire
Help him raise it from the mire
Of despair, to shining hope
And newer vision with which to cope
With life’s vast problems

I pray that I might always smile
At troubles, tests, and every trial
That from each one I may arise
Lift my eyes up to the skies
And bring all cares to Him above
Who in His sympathy and love
On us bestows in life’s dark hour
A greater sense, a greater power
To conquer strife

I pray His will, not mine be done
I pray that when each battle’s won
That I not in myself will glory
Nor cause offense or make Him sorry
That I might swallow self and pride
Let Him know I’m on His side
Striving also for that goal
To ignite anew in every soul
The joy of living!

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