Tag Archives: Poems

Poetry Is . . .

I have to give credit for the first line of each stanza of this short poem to a friend I was talking to at a conference I’m attending this week. We were talking about poetry and other funny things—like the fact that mushrooms aren’t vegetables and neither are tomatoes—and his two statements got me thinking about what poetry is. I told him I was going to write a whole poem, post it on my blog, then link to his website (which has nothing to do with poetry, vegetables, or turkey). So here’s his site: Net for Lawyers. (He’s the one with the beard in the picture on the home page.)

Poetry Is . . .

Poetry is a vegetable
Essential for a balanced literary diet
But something many people avoid like the plague
It should make up at least a third of the reading plate
Yet we’d rather just take a bite or two, if that

Poetry is turkey
A healthy and delicious source of literary protein
But we relegate it to Thanksgiving and Christmas
Indulge instead on Internet news sites or trashy fiction
When we should be eating it more often instead

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Dying for Love

This poem was inspired by the July 31 poetry prompt in The Daily Poet: Day-by-Day Prompts for Your Writing Practice by Kelli Russell Agodon and Martha Silano. I have handy book on my Kindle and while I don’t look at it every day, every once in a while I decide to see what the prompt for the day is. Today’s prompt was titled “Gritty, Gutsy, and Groveling.” It called for writing in the style of Kim Addonizio, who I’ve never read, but is described as a poet who writes about “regrets and resignation, pleasure and pain.” The poem was to include at least 6 of the following 11 words: stilettos, hangover, whiskey, cigarette, dying, love, begging, naked, jail, dog, and hotel. I’ve italicized the ones I used in this biographical work written from the perspective of an old friend.

Dying for Love

She never wore stilettos—they weren’t her style
But I remember her red crop top and hip-hugger jeans

And that radiant smile that masked her tears
the pain and loneliness she never shared

All she wanted was love—but as cliché as it sounds
she looked for it in all the wrong places

Parties filled with cigarette smoke—a kegger up on Fuller Hill
At the bottom of a whiskey bottle shared with a mutual friend

If you could have seen her naked soul
You would have known she was dying, or at least not living

I caught up with her on Facebook the other day
Her profile pic still had that radiant smile

But the tears behind it were different now
Tears of peace and joy because she’d found

Forgiveness and real Love at last

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Not Just a Statistic

The prompt at dVerse Poets Pub today is to write a poem in common meter, but to use some of the tricks that Emily Dickenson used to make common meter a little more interesting. I love an opportunity to sort of break the rules of form, but only a little.

The topic of this poem is one that I’ve been thinking about for a while, and I decided this challenge was the time to trot it out.

Not Just a Statistic

Statistics are eye-opening
But overwhelming—sad
Three thousand babies killed each day
Yet women’s rights can’t cede

Statistics belie tragedy
Each single data point
A mother—and a single child
Ever a mournful plaint

Behind each dreaded statistic
Individual lives
Each one suffering painfully
Waiting to know God loves

Let’s look beyond the statistics
Open our eye as well
To all the hurt souls who need us
Provide hope as they wail

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The Gospel Misunderstood

Today is going to be Open Link Night at dVerse Poets Pub (I think). At any rate, I wrote this for Open Link Night. It was inspired by several conversations I’ve had lately—some in real life and some online. So often the Gospel is misunderstood by Christians and non-Christians, and that makes me quite sad, because it is the best news I have ever heard.

The Gospel Misunderstood

Humans have selfishly gone their own way
I know ‘cuz for so long I did the same
Living my life by my greedy desires
I refused my need to call on His name

The Gospel is the Good News of mercy
Undeserved but offered freely to all
There’s no longer any need for penance
Only our repentance after the fall

Fear of punishment turns many away
Knowing deep down that their heart’s filled with sin
They think God judgmental and nothing more
By His sacrifice He welcomes all in

There’s no condemnation for me in Christ
He paid the penalty that I once owed
Although I endured the consequences
Redemption and friendship to me He showed

If you have rejected a vengeful God
Look closer and you’ll find amazing grace
Daily relationship with Him, who’s love
Will never leave when you seek His sweet face

Please don’t misunderstand the Gospel news
Clinging to sin that will be your ruin
Believing judgment all that God offers
When truly His love and grace He’s proven

Turn from a life that’s empty and broken
Turn, as I have, toward our God of love
Seek the peace that comes only through Jesus
The way, the truth, and the life from above

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The Philosophy of Choice

The prompt at dVerse Poets Pub yesterday was offered by Brian Miller, back from a 5-month break from the pub. During his absence, he took a philosophy class and so is calling us to write about philosophy, with the requirement that our poem be titled “The Philosophy of ______” or “A Philosophy of ______.”

When I first read the prompt, I thought of writing something lighthearted and funny. The title “The Philosophy of Dogs” came to mind, but that’s as far as I got with that idea. I remembered that Bjorn once commented on one of my poems that my writing is better when I write from the heart. Although I do love dogs, and mine in particular, what is really on my heart these days is something much more serious. And so this poem was conceived.

The Philosophy of Choice

The philosophy of choice says
that the convenience of one life
is equally as important as
the continued existence of another

I once bought into this philosophy
and  I chose convenience
I had my whole life ahead of me
my college plans, my career, my life

And so I chose my convenience
and her death

I thought I was justified because
the conception was not my choice
It was forced upon me and so
I shouldn’t have to be inconvenienced
by this life I didn’t want

It was supposed to be so simple, so easy
but no one told me about the regret
the shame and the anguish that would come
that would inconveniently lead to depression
stealing seven years of my life
coloring every day thereafter

The tears I’ve cried over that one choice
would drown a small army of giants
Perhaps I had to cry every tear
she never got the chance to cry

The time for choosing is long past
But if I had it to do over again
I would choose my inconvenience
and her life

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A Little about Me

Over at dVerse Poets Pub we’re celebrating the 4-year anniversary of the pub with Marina’s prompt that calls us to get to know each other a little better. Each poet is to pick six words—three that describe us and three that describe things or people we are grateful for. Then we are to write a poem of no more than twelve lines using those six words.

My words are: beloved, fearless, writer, grace, encouragement, beauty

A Little about Me

I know deep in my heart that I am beloved
for my God has told me so
His Word is my evidence
His grace is my proof

Once known as the fearful one
now I stand strong and fearless
Confident of my purpose, sure of my salvation
Thankful for the encouragement
of friends, family, and my God

I am a writer, not because I write, but simply because
I was created with a passion to share the beauty
of my Creator and His creation

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Vacation in the Sun

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Weeks of planning precede a visit to paradise, to Maui, the Valley Isle. So much to see and so in so small an area of land nestled in the middle of the vast Pacific Ocean. Snorkeling is at the top of the activities list—the options seem endless: Molikini, Lana’i, Honolua Bay, Turtle Bay, and more; take a boat trip or drive to the beach and park. We picked boat trip to Lana’i—resulted in very little snorkeling due to high south swell. Who knew? At least there was a beautiful white sand beach.

Lāhainā—the cruel sun—beats down relentlessly, burning, charring tender skin exposed to its deceptively pleasant rays. Beautiful white sand beach entices the unwary traveler to bask in the warmth, float on the buoyant, gentle salt waves. Relaxation gives way to a little nap—a dangerous nap that steals away vacation days with lobster-red, swollen feet, unbending burnt knees—pain one should never experience on holiday. yet Lāhainā shows no remorse for its cruelty.

White sand, crashing waves
Ocean as far as the eye
can see, sun too hot

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Monsoon of Mercy

At dVerse Poets Pub today, Abhra tells a tale of the monsoon season in India. The “prompt” for the day is fairly vague, so I drew from Abhra’s story about how the hot, dry summer is followed by the monsoon. And I tapped into the discussion in the comments to Anthony’s post Pub Talk: Poetry and Making a Difference. I’ve written this as a Kyrielle because I’m finding a like this form a lot. It has just enough repetition to suit me.

Monsoon of Mercy

Sin and shame deeply scorch my soul
Freedom from consequence my goal
But my choice left me dry, not whole
Healed by Your monsoon of mercy

She was the victim of my choice
Never will I hear her small voice
Yet in His arms she can rejoice
Healed by His monsoon of mercy

Now there is no condemnation
Only grace for Your creation
Regret remains a grave fixation
Healed by Your monsoon of mercy

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Slips Away

I’ve been thinking a lot about my sister Peggy lately, perhaps because her death is the subject of the first chapter of the book I’m working on. Yesterday the refrain for this Kyrielle came to me and then I finished the poem this morning.

Slips Away

Quiet descends on deep darkness
My soul housed in this jar of clay
Groans bitterly in God’s winepress
Her soul slips silently away

Regrets of wasted time oppress
Why did I wait another day
I am here now nevertheless
Her soul slips silently away

Over memories I obsess
Jesus come save her soul I pray
His peace descends on me to bless
Her soul slips silently away

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Let’s Have Lamb

Let’s Have Lamb

I was thinking
Why don’t we have lamb
instead of bread for communion?

Since Jesus was the Lamb
of God who was slain
shouldn’t lamb represent His body?

I’m not complaining, mind you
I don’t even like lamb
And everyone loves bread

But it just seems odd
and somewhat illogical

Then again, the whole thing
often strikes me as a bit illogical
That God would love us enough
to die for us

Perhaps at that Last Supper
God, because He is omniscient,
could foresee
what a hassle it would be
to serve lamb with our wine
in church each week

And so we get bread
regular or gluten-free

For the Poetics prompt at dVerse Poets Pub yesterday (continuing today), Kanzen asks us to write a poem about food.

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