Untitled Number Nine

Gentle Reader,

Participated in a craft fair this past weekend. Managed to sell more books than I gave away, but none went for consistent prices. (Never go into business with me). The experience has got me both looking through old, unpublished poems and beginning to scratch out new ones. I reveal not which the following is, for half the interest in poetry is in the interpretation.

While all art is contextual, tied to a specific place and moment, it is also universal, transcending boundaries and speaking the language common to all. And the truth is, we suffer. We battle.

Plutarch wrote, “Painting is silent poetry, and poetry is painting that speaks.” May the following conjure up a clear image in your mind. May you find Jesus there.

What do you do
When you’re trapped in a storm
That nobody else can see?
What do you do
When it takes all you’ve got
To stay afloat in the sea?

Arms wrapped tight ’round
Center mast of the ship
Feet continually slipping
Gales pasting hair to face
Filled with howls, screeches
A voice, against faith chipping

There is no meter to capture
The scene playing in mind’s eye
Nor prose that’s fit to express
The beating up of the heart
The bruising of the soul
The ever deepening distress

God, I pray You grant perception
To someone with grace to move
To walk in steady love
To be the hands and feet of You
Just as was designed
On mission from above

Because, I can’t stand on my own
Just one push away from falling
Hands already bleeding
From hanging on for dear life
Oh, Lord! Please, I beg,
Respond now to my pleading

…the members would have the same concern for each other. So if one member suffers, all the members suffer with it…

– 1 Corinthians 12:25b-26a

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“Distant Lights” Launch Day

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Gentle Reader,

Here it is.

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I hardly even know what to write. Publishing a book has long been a dream of mine. And now – it’s real.

First, a hearty “thank you” to the members of the launch team. You have all been so enthusiastic and unflagging in your support. You’ve shared images and quotes. You’ve told your friends about the book. Today you begin to post your reviews. My soul aches with gratitude. Though I often imagined a book cover bearing my name, I never imagined so many willingly coming alongside to promote it. Each of you will forever hold a special place in my heart.

Second, an equally hearty “thank you” to all of you blog readers. You come here week after week. You care about what I have to say. You interact. Many of you have become real, true friends, even across the miles and miles of internetness. Every time you read a post or share it or leave a comment, you reaffirm the gift and calling God has given me. You’re an awesome community.

Distant Lights arose out of both pain and joy. Written between 2009 and 2012, the poems tell my story of deepest depression, wrestled out in the presence of God. For a woman who has been called an “emotional robot,” it’s a highly personal, intimate book. I wouldn’t have chosen to start my publishing career with this collection – but God had other plans, as He so often does.

The poems are not technically precise. When I wrote them, I was not focused on meter and measure or even rhyme. Mastery of this literary form was not my goal, nor is my goal in publishing to become a lauded poet. My hope and prayer is that Distant Lights will encourage those experiencing the dark night of the soul to press on. To reach for the sparkles in the sky. The blackness, the pain, do not disqualify you from receiving the love of God. On the contrary, He is there, holding out His hand.

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Five Minute Friday: Test

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Gentle Reader,

No fanfare tonight. Just creepy clowns who deserve to be punched in the face and coffee from Luke’s Diner. Kate says: test.

Go.

Tonight, my eyes, they droop
Tonight, my shoulders stoop

Breath, deep, slow, in and out
As sleep around me creeps about

Tonight, my body feels the strain
Tonight, the ache, the wearied drain

Lashes flutter against my cheeks
The pull of dreams, whispers, creaks

Tonight, so many roads to go
Tonight, a spin of questions flow

But for now, hit pause and rest
Tomorrow return to bittersweet test

Stop.

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Five Minute Friday: Listen

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Gentle Reader,

So many ways to go with this prompt of Kate’s. Listen. A recent experience results in this.

Go.

Do you hear the sound?
Pulsing, pounding, vibrating ’round?

Can you feel it, ‘neath your feet?
Sense it moving, creeping, clapping beat?

Not with eyes is reverberation spied
But with ears, open, open wide

An ache that words cannot express
A sigh too deep, the story repress

A meaning couched behind the words
Fleeting, fast as hummingbirds

More than what is said, down to what is felt
To beliefs, to core, to wounds’ harsh welt

To quesitons, to self-sense, to space
To wondering if there is a thing called grace

Do you hear the sound?
Of people longing, straining, bound?

Of souls in need of strong embrace
To know the God who can outpace

All lies, all hurt, all vision wrecked
The injured ones, He does collect

The ones who huddled in cars sleep
The ones over lost children weep

The ones whose bodies are bruised and black
The ones who know they can never go back

Do we see what God sees, hear what He hears?
Or are we wrapped up in vanishing dears –

The things we hold so close, so safe
No matter how the weight does chafe

The skin of hands held to tight
Hands that were made to spread His light

Do we stop, or do we walk on by?
Do we leave them alone, left to cry?

Left to wonder if anyone cares
Left to wonder if He knows their hairs

Do you hear the sound?
Of opportunities abound?

Or do you sit up in your tower,
Behind your reasons cower?

Stop.

How do we treat those who are different from us? Different life experiences, different views, different choices. Today I was reminded of the vital nature of looking beyond the surface. Of not assuming.

People are people, whoever they are, and all deserve to be treated with compassion.

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Photo Credit: Jose Martin