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Vicarious (Spiritual Journey Thursday)

A few weeks ago an acquaintance sent me a newly published book of her poems. They were simple but beautiful in their first-person expression of praise, love, and gratitude to God—a collection of modern psalms. I reacted to that book like I have to other similar ones, asking myself, why don’t I write more overtly spiritual poetry? I ask because writing about spiritual subjects is hard for me to do.

I’m not sure why. It may be because I fear using theological jargon and worn-out phrases, thus slipping into cliché. (It certainly does take thought and attention to relate spiritual experiences and express convictions and emotions with fresh language that avoids being trite, maudlin, or sentimental.) Or I might avoid that kind of writing because many of my convictions don’t fit the politically correct social climate of the day and so the poems come whiny or like a rant.

As I look over the overtly spiritual poetry I have written, I feel that the poems that have come to me the most easily and naturally are the persona poems. In these I’ve tried to get into the head space of a Bible character.

Preparation to write these got me studying characters in the Bible and imagining their thoughts and feelings as they faced specific circumstances. I often fictionalized how that moment was a catalyst to growth in faith or rejection of it.

Several years ago I wrote a collection of these based on Bible women. Here are two from that collection.

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Image: Pixabay

Miriam

(Based on Exodus 15:19-21)

Though I lived under the bright
Egyptian sun these many years
my sky went black the day Moses left.

Even his return with snake-rod
didn’t banish the clouds
hovering on my horizon.

Premonition dampened
my celebration when we crossed
out of Goshen into the wilderness.

Dust of approaching chariots
was my nightmare
entering the day.

But somewhere on that black
step-by-step sea crossing
I walked through fear to faith.

I taught Moses to sing.
Now he gives that gift back to me
Hand me my timbrel!

© 2018 by Violet Nesdoly (All rights reserved)

 

Orpah

(Based on Ruth 1:1-14)

I am too young
to give in to death
be numbed by Naomi’s
negative breath.

Mighty Yahweh has failed
this family, my man.
Here’s my chance to detach
from this unlucky clan.

So I’ll return to Moab
to make a new start
(despite this strange yearning
deep in my heart).

© 2018 by Violet Nesdoly (All rights reserved)

If you’re like me and find writing poems about spiritual subjects a challenge, maybe writing persona poems could become a spiritual poetry portal for you too.

spiritualjourneyfirst-thursday-copyThanks to Carol Varsalona, who suggested the subject of Poetry as spiritual practice of the heart, and who is hosting Spiritual Journey First Thursday today at her blog Beyond Literacy Link.

 

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Bear Scare

In the vintage Saskatchewan farmhouse where I grew up, a door that looked like every other in the house opened to a stairway to the basement. At the bottom of the stairs was another door to a dark and vacant cell that was once a coal chute. From somewhere I got the idea that that coal chute was inhabited. I scared myself many a time with that thought.

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Image: Pixabay

Bear Scare

 

At the bottom of the stair
in his secret coal chute lair
lives a black and hungry bear.

Fetching eggs or frozen pie
on an errand, do or die
up steep wooden steps I fly.

Feel bear’s breath hot on my back
any moment he’ll attack
when he does, I’ll turn and whack!

At the top the knob I wham
open door and close it. SLAM.
Once again escape bear jam!

© 2017 by Violet Nesdoly (All Rights Reserved)

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Image: Pixabay

 

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poetryfridayThis post is linked to Poetry Friday, hosted today by Brenda Harsham at her blog for all things whimsical—Friendly Fairy Tales.

This poem is also joining other poems about frightful things on the October DMC padlet at Michelle Heidenrich Barnes’ blog Today’s Little Ditty. The topic of the challenge this month, posed by Carrie Clickard, is to write a poem about a person, place, or thing that spooked you as a child. Read Michelle’s interview of Carrie and the original challenge post HERE.

 
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Posted by on October 27, 2017 in Kids, Personal, Poetry Friday

 

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Lady in white

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Photo © 2017 by V. Nesdoly

Lady in white

Today on my walk I pass a trim little old lady all in summer white, though the wind is sharp and at night frost still nips the rooftops. As she strides by our eyes meet, we exchange a momentary smile, and I think how she is probably a literary sort–a stream of consciousness novelist perhaps or a poet on her way to read with her friends. Or maybe she is hurrying to the library to pick up Patrick Lane or Anne Michaels newly reserved for her. I imagine the poems that are her regular fare–all energetic verbs and crisp nouns with not a fatty article or carb-laden adverb in sight. She seems the sort that lives on sinew and muscle, energy and light with just enough fiber to keep her from flying away.

© 2017 by Violet Nesdoly (All rights reserved)

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Prompt – Inspiration
A poetry group with whom I used to meet set ourselves the challenge of writing a prose poem. This was my attempt, written in April 2011.

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VintagePADThis April I’m celebrating National Poetry Month by posting some not-as-yet published poems from my files, along with what inspired them. If the prompt inspires you to write a poem of your own, you’re welcome to share it in comments. Whether you write or not, thanks so much for dropping by!

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Posted by on April 6, 2017 in People

 

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