Tag Archives: Life

Breaking the Rules

It’s not about mercy
if your destination is Alcatraz

It’s not about rehabilitation
if you’ve ended up here on the Rock

Don’t plan to escape
if you try the dig, dash, and dive
you won’t be eating shark dinner
in San Fran by nightfall

You’ll be shark dinner

Best to avoid breaking the rules

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For the Poetics Prompt at dVerse Poets Pub today, Mish wants us to write a poem inspired by a sign. I chose the sign we saw while waiting in line to go on a tour of Alcatraz in San Francisco a couple of years ago. I’m glad I never had to spend hard time in a cell like the one below. Not that I’ve always followed the rules, but I never broke the ones that would land you here.

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I’m a Double Finalist

I’m so excited! I entered a poem in the Published Poetry category and my memoir in the Unpublished Memoir category of the Oregon Christian Writers Cascade Writing Contest this year. The deadline to enter was March 31 and I’ve been on pins and needles ever since I hit the submit button and emailed my manuscripts.

The finalists—three in each category—were announced last Wednesday. I made the finals for both of my submissions! I’m happy the poem made the finals, but I’m super stoked about the memoir.

Writing this memoir is one of the hardest things I’ve ever done. It still needs some editing and polish, and probably will until the day it’s finally published, but it feels good to have professional editors and writers say my prose, the descriptive language I’ve put so much heart and soul into, is good. And not just good, but good enough to be in the top three.

My focus on the memoir is the main reason I haven’t posted as much here on my blog over the past year and a half. Although if you’ve kept up with my blog you probably already surmised as much based on the poems I’ve written about the struggle of writing one’s own story knowing (or hoping?) that people will actually read it.

The Oregon Christian Writers Conference and the Awards Ceremony are in August, which means I might not be posting much in the next two or three months either, because I’ll be busy polishing that manuscript. I won’t be completely absent, but I’d appreciate it if you’d cut me some slack if a miss a whole week here and there.

Anyway, I just want to thank all those who have encouraged me along my writing journey. I especially want to thank Sarah Thebarge, whose memoir writing coaching class at the OCW Conference last year was fabulous. If you haven’t read her memoir, The Invisible Girls, you really should. But I also want to thank members of my church, my Bible Study Fellowship sisters-in-Christ, my sister Suz and my cousin Noryce who told me to keep writing, and my husband who left me alone to write on many occasions. And, of course, my dear Jesus who made it all possible by His love and grace.

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Sounds of the Sound

Sitting on the bank of the Sound
I listen for the wonderful sounds
of nature all around

White-crowned Sparrows pour out song
Harbor porpoises splash along
Bald eagles soar high and strong
Sea otters cavort shores where they belong

My awe of God abounds

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It’s Quadrille Monday at dVerse Poets Pub and Victoria wants us to sound-off with our 44-word Quadrilles that include some form of the word sound. I used two.

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Echoes of Peace

My fear rises
The verse echoes in my mind
Do not be anxious, pray, be thankful

Peace reigns in my heart

I see her fear
The verse echoes from my mouth
Do not be anxious, let’s pray, be thankful

Peace reigns in her heart

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Today is Quadrille Monday at dVerse Poets Pub where De is calling for our 44-word tomes that include some form of the word echo. Seemed appropriate to write something that had a bit of an echo to it.

So I went to read some other Quadrilles, and after 3 that seemed very, very long, it dawned on me that I’d written a 30-word poem instead of a 44-word poem. I guess 30 days of doing something does create a habit! I’ve fixed it now.

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Valley of Trouble

There I will give her back her vineyards,
    and will make the Valley of Achor a door of hope.
There she will respond as in the days of her youth,
    as in the day she came up out of Egypt.
Hosea 2:15 (NIV).

When from sin you need set free
When God’s hope you cannot see
When from Satan you must flee
Enter the Valley of Achor

When all you desire are sun’s rays
When you don’t know how to live today
When there’s nothing left but to pray
Enter the Valley of Achor

When the horses of anguish lope
When you need faith just to cope
When you’re seeking the Lord’s hope
Enter the Valley of Achor

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May Day

Spring has sprung
the flowers have bloomed
winter cold
is all but doomed

May has arrived
with its promising days
of beauty and fun
from the sun’s warm rays

This first day of May
brings me a smile
with its sweet pledge
winter’s gone for awhile

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Don’t Miss Today

We plan to serve others
Tomorrow, next week
Six months from now

But don’t miss chances
to encourage and uplift today

Let us see the way
Lord, show us how

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This poem for Day #29 of NaPoWriMo is inspired by The Very Next Thing by Casting Crowns.

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Doubting Thomas

Presented with evidence
Eyewitness accounts of trusted friends
He refused to examine it
His own experience was all he would believe

Blessed are those who examine the evidence
And believe

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Servant Leader

Serving is a blessing
when those you serve
are not expecting
what they so deserve

Put a happy smile
on another’s face
Go the extra mile
by showing them grace

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Billy Austin

Did you ever get a song
stuck in your head?
A happy little jingle
about sunshine ahead?

In my head tonight
is Billy Austin’s
Tale of tragic plight
Come listen

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I’ve been trying to write my 30-word poems this month without commentary. Each poem has presented challenges because of my self-imposed 30-word limit, but none so much as this one. Perhaps I should have waited until May to write this poem, but I decided to add an explanation instead.

Over the past week the song Billy Austin by Steve Earle has been running through my head. I know all the words by heart. It is a sad tale, a commentary on one aspect of our culture of death. It reminds me that the death penalty is a bit like us playing God when we have no business doing so. I cannot listen to this song without a tear (or two or ten) welling up in my eyes.

I hope you’ll take a moment to follow this YouTube link and give it a listen. Bring your tissues. And you can read the lyrics here.

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