I’ve always been infatuated with words, both in writing and reading. Somewhere stacked in storage boxes are a zillion pages of my childhood journals. And my parents, clever people, they would discipline me as a kid by taking my books away. I thought I would die.
But somehow, poetry was never really part of this love affair with words. I am not sure what exactly possessed me to launch Velvet Ashes’ very first day with some of my own poetry/prose (See, I don’t even know what to call it!). I still can’t believe I did that. Because poetry is not a form of expression that I have any comfort or confidence in doing. And honestly, it’s also not a form of writing that I’ve sought to read very often either.
In the last few years, though, something has happened.
I have a budding new love for poetry.
I can point to three reasons for this:
1. Writers I love and respect have shared how poetry has moved and shaped their lives.
2. I’ve sought to expose my children to poetry, and in doing so have exposed myself to its beauty as well.
3. YOU. You, poets, here in this space, at our our dear Grove, you’ve been showing up and offering your gift of poetry to us. I read line by line through your words, pausing to savor and taste. And week after week, I think: goodness gracious, that’s gorgeous! So simply profound. So thank you for that.
Yet in my budding new love I feel far from capable of inspiring you all towards acts of poetry. So I’ve invited my friend, Melanie Carey here today. Melanie is herself a woman serving overseas. For seventeen years she’s been living in Asia where she serves other overseas workers.
She started writing poetry in response to a prayer (many years ago) that God would give her something creative to do with a mind that spent too much time worrying. He answered that prayer on an Easter morning when she woke up with lines and phrases of a poem floating around in her head and was filled with joy at what the resurrection meant.
In her journey with poetry she’s had the opportunity to help others like us learn how to pick up the poetry pen. So today she’s here to offer a bit of instruction and inspiration. And alongside you, I’ll stretch into new feats of beauty and bravery by linking up on my own blog with my humble attempt at poetry too.
Here she is, the lovely Melanie Carey…
Poetry. Probably you are already experiencing some emotion just at the mention of the word. Maybe it’s fear – I don’t know how to write it; or confusion – what’s it all about anyway? Well, I’d like to suggest that poetry can be another way of getting creative and expressing what’s on your heart and yes, it can be fun and enjoyable, whatever your level of experience or perceived ability. I’ve often been surprised to find that a poem I have written reveals something that I wasn’t even aware of about myself. Many of my poems have also emerged as prayers, a deeper expression of my heart to God.
So how do we get started? I’d suggest by reading Psalm 23 and using that as a basis for inspiration.
Just reading the Psalm may fill you with ideas and if that’s the case, then go for it! Don’t worry about rhyming or keeping to a strict form, let your ideas flow. After all, this is an exercise in being creative.
If you’d like a little more structure, then why not try one of these 2 ideas:-
- Try rewriting Psalm 23 using a different metaphor. Replace shepherd with healer, teacher, companion, or any other role you think fits. Think about how that new metaphor would alter the ideas contained in the remaining verses. So for example, what “tools” would replace the “rod and staff” and how would they be used?
- Take a word that stands out to you from the Psalm (perhaps “shepherd” or “still waters” and write an acrostic poem where each letter of the word starts a new line of the poem. Each line could be a word or phrase which develops the idea suggested by the word.
Here’s an acrostic example:
We come as
Rejoicing in our
Hearts lifted up
Here are a few examples of poems based on Psalm 23 to give you some ideas:
Yesterday, he was my shepherd.
Tomorrow, he will be my shepherd,
But today, right now
In this moment
And moment by moment,
I have everything I need,
Because the Lord is
And he is my shepherd.
Sometimes you lead me to rich, verdant grass
by cool, clear waters – and I am refreshed.
Sometimes you lead me through rough, wind-swept crags,
where every step is hard – and I am stretched.
Sometimes you lead me through enemy lands,
where dangers lurk unseen – and I am kept.
Sometimes I drop my gaze and start to wander,
until you search me out – and I am rescued.
But sometimes, you take out your sharpened shears
and holding me firmly, you strip away
my shaggy fleece of pride: the growth of years,
with burrs and thorns that wound day after day.
You soothe my sores with balm, gentle as rain,
then smile at me and I am new again.
So how do you feel now? Ready to get started? Enjoy yourself and don’t be afraid to share what you come up with! It might be just what someone else needs to hear.
Here’s how to share your poetry (or your thoughts on poetry) with us here at The Grove. It can be based on Psalm 23 or something completely different.
- If you don’t have a blog, share your poetry with us in the comments.
- If you write a comment, please avoid copying and pasting your poem from Word as this will publish a lot of junk computer code. It’s best to type it directly into the comment box.
- If you have a blog, write your poetry in your own blog post.
- Be sure to add the Velvet Ashes link (http://velvetashes.com/the-grove-poetry) to your blog post.
- Please select the permalink from your post (so not your blog’s url,www.daniellenotyetthere.blogspot.com but your post url:http://www.daniellenotyetthere.blogspot.com/2013/11/todays-day.html)
- Click on the blue “Add your link” box below to add your blog post to this page.
- It will walk you through selecting which image you want to show up in the linky.
- Then your picture and link will show up below!
- Then be sure to go visit other’s sites and share some comment love! It’s the rule. We applaud brave hearts!
Visit the blogs above to see what people have shared for our prompt.