Tag Archives: Jesus

The Book of Life

I am not frightened by the sight of an
ugly deformed fallen angel
hovering in my room. I’m writing
of his presence because his fleeing in
the name of Jesus is evidence of a
name, my name, being written in a book—
the Lamb’s Book of
Life everlasting in a home of transparent gold

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Another short Golden Shovel for dVerse Poets Pub. I seem to be stuck on poems with “gold” in them. The line I started with was the fifth line from Abou Ben Adhem by Leigh Hunt. This is another poem I memorized for speech competitions in high school and has lately been running through my head at random times. I’m quite amazed that I still have it memorized after all these years.

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Speaking of Gold

She saw in nature’s
beauty and majesty her first
glimpse of the Divine, swathed in green
amidst the beauty is
an echo of gold

The home He gave her
turned out to be the hardest
to hold onto as the hue
of the forbidden fruit came to
tempt her and take hold

The loss of her
innocence came much too early
even as the green leaf’s
sprout was still on the tree and a
serpent offered a lovely flower

She could have walked away but
then there was only
nothing to lose or so
said the deceiver with an
invitation of an hour

to spare for then
it would have fallen, the leaf
as the temptation subsides
and yet that was not to
be the fate of the leaf

Temptation bowed to evil, so
rich and lovely Eden
survived, but humanity sank
deep into despair so as to
succumb to grief

Now we long so
earnestly for the Light to dawn
to know where love goes
or see love come down
and heal our souls to
see the break of a new day

A day where nothing
more precious than transparent gold
will pave the way so we can
in Eden forever stay

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The Meeting the Bar prompt at dVerse Poets Pub today is a Golden Shovel poem, which is a poem in which you take one or more lines from a favorite poem and use those lines to be the end-line words in a new poem. The result is that if you read down the right margin of the poem you will see the original line or lines. I chose Nothing Gold Can Stay by Robert Frost and used the entire poem. This poem was a big challenge for me because I discovered that you can’t really write a Golden Shovel poem unless you use enjambment, which I have a hard time with usually, but I think I made it work.

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Living Water

I’m a prickly pear cactus
living in this hot Mojave Desert

They call my home
Death Valley for good reason

Life-giving water is scarce
but I know how to survive

When the rains come
I store up this treasure
deep in my veins

It sustains me when
the inevitable dry days come

I’m a Christian
living in this spiritually dry land

They call my home
earth, a fool’s paradise

Life-giving water is scarce
but I know how to survive

When I hear God’s Word
I store up this treasure
deep in my soul

It sustains me when
the inevitable dry days come

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For the Poetics prompt at dVerse Poets Pub today, Mish wants us to write poetry inspired by the Southwest, by the desert. I love the desert—the warmth and dryness appeal to me in a way the green and rain of the Pacific Northwest (where I live now) never could.

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Set Free

She drove away from the pizza place
joyful in the knowledge that she had been set free.

No dark cloud appeared.

She realized she was humming along,
tapping her foot to the beat.

As she waited for her pizza to go,
Bad Company played on the radio.

One day, she stopped to get a pizza
on her way home from work.

She felt a weight lifted and joy return.

When she awoke, she knelt and prayed
for the strength to forgive.

One night she dreamed of forgiveness
and knew it was a message from God.

She pondered taking her own life
because she thought she was forever broken.

She spent years in darkness and anger.

She was never the same; whenever she heard Bad Company
a dark cloud would descend upon her.

Afterwards, he drove her home
and left her broken upon her doorstep.

Bad Company played on the radio.

He assaulted her in the front seat of his Lincoln.

He asked if she wanted to go to a party
and she said yes because he seemed nice.

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The NaPoWriMo prompt today is to write a story in reverse. I couldn’t help but turn each line of this semi-autobiographical story into a verse.

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Heaven

All things new, peace abounds
Singing is an awesome sound
The glory of our God is great
Every need of mine He’ll sate

River of life eternal flows
Tree of life beside it grows
No more sorrow, no more pain
Calf beside the lion has lain

Seraphim and cherubim fly
Nevermore will anyone die
Heaven is a most wonderful place
Promised to all by Jesus’s grace
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Last night with my BSF class of 4th & 5th graders, we drew or wrote our visions of heaven. Since my drawing skills don’t go much beyond stick figures I decided to write this poem.

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Darkness

Dark
The day
As if night
My soul cries out
Redemption

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Cry, Pray, Write

So you want to know how to write a memoir. Well here’s what I know.

Step one: Ask yourself if you’re nuts.  If yes, proceed to step two.

Step two: Attend a writing conference for inspiration.

Step three: Go home and cry because you don’t want to reveal the level of detail one conference speaker said you would have to.

Step four: Pray and ask God for direction.

Step five: Write and self-publish an autobiographical poetry book that vaguely addresses the story you want to write.

Step six: Tell yourself the poetry book is a sufficient memoir because, after all, we don’t know what Paul’s thorn was either.

Step seven: Have several people ask when you’re going to write your story.

Step eight: Write an outline of your story in your Color Notes app on your phone, then write two book proposals, one for your memoir and one for a devotional.

Step nine: Attend another writers conference and pitch your book ideas to editors and agents.

Step ten: Get sidetracked for three months working on a “marketable” idea from the agent, ignoring advice from a spiritual writing mentor.

Step eleven: Get further sidetracked writing and self-publishing a holiday poetry book.

Step twelve: Lie awake at night running scenes in your head of what you need to write, but not get up to actually write them down because you don’t want to disturb the sleeping dog.

Step thirteen: Tell your friends and family you’ve decided to write your memoir. (This step may be optional, but is helpful if you’re the kind of person who once they’ve said they are doing something has to do it.)

Step fourteen: Decide you need to learn more about the craft of memoir writing.

Step fifteen: Read memoir by spiritual mentor from writing conference.

Step sixteen: Read another memoir, and a book about how to write memoir, and another memoir, and another book about how to write memoir, then start reading a third memoir but decide it’s not believable and make a mental note not to write your memoir that way.

Step seventeen: Take advice from book on memoir writing and simply start writing one paragraph, one scene at a time.

Step eighteen: Get into text discussion with a friend who suggests yet another book on memoir writing you should read. Order said book on your Kindle, realize what you’ve ordered is actually a different book by that author, then order the paperback of the first book from Amazon.

Step nineteen: Write poems about writing memoir.

Step twenty: Stop worrying that your first draft is terrible (because as Anne Lamott says, they all are),  and resolve to write, edit, rewrite, and persevere.

I’m afraid that’s as far as I’ve gotten so you’ll have to come back next year for the remaining steps.

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The NaPoWriMo prompt for today is to write a “How To” poem. Since I am in the process of writing (or trying to write) my memoir, I thought I’d share a little step-by-step how-to on how to do it.

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Oh Ramona

The sun rises high
In the cerulean sky
The wind comes like manna
Out of Santa Ana

The brown weed field
Naught but thorns does yield

In the one-story houses
The ungrateful one grouses

Pool parties and a picnic feast
Friends come from north and east

Catching pollywogs and crayfish
Riding horses our greatest wish

I dream of being a writer
Not knowing I must be a fighter

Eucalyptus trees line the street
Dust devils you’re likely to meet

Nothing of substance to export
Not even our own airport

Painted on the town water tower
A lovely field of wildflower

There I found the lover of my soul
He who one day would make me whole

The sun and drought did conspire
To destroy weed fields by wildfire

That same sun sure did bless
So we’d wear shorts and Ts for dress
Bathing suits were all the rage
If only there I’d come of age

Riding bikes so innocent
To school and library we went

The most notable person in town
Was my dad who I seldom saw frown

He loved to pull our travel trailer
I think it reminded him of being a sailor
It sat out the picture window pane
And was more fun than flying by plane

Once again the wildfires burn
The news says for a good rain we yearn

I had a pen pal from Bangladesh
Suriman Bang was her name so fresh
I don’t remember what we wrote
And so I cannot share a quote

But I wonder if we talked of the unicorn
Or the day that Bigfoot was born

Did I share my favorite children’s tale
Where the Wild Things Are, when I sent her mail

Or Mystery in the Night Woods
Where Flying Squirrel hid in alley backwoods

Just beyond the border of town
You heard the sounds of animals die down
As evening gave way to dusk and night
At the Wild Animal Park all was right

I know not yet the meaning of fear
But bask in this sweet security dear

After I had moved away
A friend sent a postcard to say
With a picture of a sign that does endear
Wish you were still here

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The NaPoWriMo Day 16 prompt called for answering a series of Almanac questions and then using the answers to fashion a poem. I decided to write a poem about my childhood hometown of Ramona, California. I answered each of the questions and decided to leave all the answers as a series of thoughts about my life in that town.

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Nothin’ But the Blood – An Elfje

Crimson
Jesus’ blood
Trustworthy and true
Mercy to my soul
Salvation

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A little elfje for NaPoWriMo Day 15, and while you’re at it check out Jars of Clay and The Blind Boys of Alabama singing Nothin’ But the Blood of Jesus.

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Memories

Yesterday, Toni at Kanzen Sakura commented thanking me for writing two haibuns. I replied that I’d only written one. Apparently that’s because the second one was still in the works. So I’m posting this second haibun now for Haibun Monday at dVerse Poets Pub.

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Working on my memoir, giving in to the compulsion to communicate my story to whoever might need to read it, I decided I would have more success in actually getting the words on the page if I hand wrote. There is something about typing that makes me feel like it has to be perfect the first time, but handwriting builds in an automatic rewrite when I later type it up. So I rummage through my cloth basket of blank journals for just the right one. [This takes some time because there are probably 20 or more journals in that basket, evidence of another compulsion]. I find a 150-page spiral bound notebook with only 10 pages used up and decide that’s perfect. I peruse what’s been written and come across these words, written 18 ½ years ago:

It takes courage to write. Courage is not the same as fearlessness. Rather, courage is writing in spite of fear.

Just been reading “The Courage to Write” by Ralph Keyes. It got me thinking about writing a book about the effect being raped at the age of 14, while still a virgin, had on my life—the teen years, college, marriage, sex, life, thoughts, depression [although genetics had something to do with this as well].

I must be crazy. I can’t write such a book. Or rather I can, in that I’m sure I have enough material and could actually write it, but would I ever be willing to let anyone read it?

Crazy indeed. Yet here I am, almost two decades later, still compelled to write that book. Only now the story is complete. There is more than just the pain and suffering of trauma to tell; there is also the story of healing and redemption. Now there is courage.

Memories fester
Hidden on journal pages
Die and are reborn

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