Saturday, October 29, 2005

Shallow poetry

Do you ever write something, post it off, and then look back at it later and cringe with embarrassment? If it had been a blog entry there is a delete option that is always available, but in this case, it is non-deletable!

I have been a member of Fathwriters.com, a Christian writers internet web-site and discussion forum. Every week they set a writing challenge. They have a panel of judges that read all the entries and the top ten submissions are published. The stimulus is usually just one word - in this case "Rain"- and they leave it up to you to interpret the word in a poem, short story, devotion or whatever. Poems rarely win. Good poems may be somewhere in the top ten, but rarely hit the top spot. Bad poems don't get anywhere.

I wrote a poem based on the story of Elijah and Ahab racing each other back to the city in the rain that fell just after the victory on Mount Carmel. The rhythm and meter were just about perfect and the rhyming scheme was spot on, and I was delighted with the whole thing and posted it off, confident that it would not be ignored.

After last night's "soaking" and being inspired to write the poem about encountering God, I looked back at my Elijah poem. The only words that came to mind were "empty" and "meaningless". It might have been a master class in rhythmic meter and rhyming schemes, but it was cold, calculated and too precisely put together. It didn't stir anything within. It didn't light my fire. It was an incredibly shallow poem and I would really like to delete it.

I thought that I didn't do shallow - it is kind of a shock to acknowledge that I do!

Having said that, I also know that I do deep! I had an email from a friend who edits a Christian newsletter called Cross Times. He wrote to confess that he had used a poem of mine, "The cool of the day", in the November issue and was writing to check that I didn't mind! I have a following in some parts of Illinois and Nebraska!

The cool of the day

Once I waited
In keen anticipation
For the sound of His footsteps
In the cool of the day
As the sun at dusk
Stole colours
From the sky
And hid
Behind the horizon
Far away

Now I hide
In dreadful fear
At the sound of His footsteps
In the cool of the day
The taste of fruit on my lips
Steals peace
From my heart
And sin separates me
From God
Far away

So I wait
And I listen
And I hear
His Voice
Calling
But my shame
Binds me
Forbids me
To answer

He knows
That I know

Too much

3 comments:

Shelley said...

I like that poem, good job!

Sorry to hear about the 'rain' one, I entered too (short story) that I jotted off quickly. I didn't win, but then I didn't expect to either.

I'm still new at the writing challenges, and this week's will be the 4th or 5th entry I've done.

Jezreel said...

Very beautiful poem, Melanie. I really enjoyed it.

Evan said...

Ive been listening to Barclay James Harvest and there are good songs that i think i could bring along to the meeting good christian songs