Sunday, May 06, 2012

The Days Ordained For Me

Someone at Faithwriter’s has started reading through some of my early poems and commenting on them.  This means that I get an email every so often that doesn’t relate to anything current but something written 7 or 8 years ago.  As I read the new comment, I find myself also reading the old ones.  One of them advised me to collect my poems together and publish a book.  Thanks to the generosity of my church family I have the resources made available for me to do that.

I would be lying if I didn’t say that I felt under pressure – which is not a bad thing.  I didn’t realise that I had so many poems.  Collecting them together, arranging them, editing them and producing something that someone else would want to read – I always knew that was going to be a big job.

I made a start last weekend.  Most of the poems are on a flash drive and I have started looking through them.

I wish there would be an audible “ping” in the ear when I come across a poem that should make it into the book.  That’s not happening.  I haven’t yet reached the stage of agonsing over a poem. 

I also made an attempt at editing.  Some poems don’t need to be touched.  They say exactly what I want them to say with the right choice of word and meter.  Others need a more serious overhaul.    

The Pencil written a couple of years ago, fell into that bracket.  Here’s the new version.

The Days Ordained For Me

The days you have ordained for me
Are written in your book
If I could wield the pencil, Lord
How different things would look

I’d bypass tears and sorrow
en only days of smiles
I’d write of glorious victories
Avoiding toil and trials

My days would burst with laughter
And nothing would go wrong
No bruising disappointments
Just light and lilting song

You’d soon reclaim the pencil
And show me days of pain
You’d trace the stains from teardrops
And lovingly explain

There’s treasure in the trials
And strength forged in the fight
And through the days of darkness
You’d be my one, true light!

It was based on Psalm 139:16.  I like the new version.  It is much tighter and I like the meter.  It doesn’t mean, however, that the poem makes the grade.

I was reading it through, again. 

“The trouble is”, said God, “That’s not what you would write at all.  Yes, in all likelihood you wouldn’t write days of tears and pain.  No one would.  Yes, you would avoid disappointments if you could.  Yes, there would be days of laughter and singing – but most days, if you wrote them yourself would be days of routine.  You might write about getting to grips with the ironing pile, or finally mopping the kitchen floor.  A pile of marking, a set of reports written

“Think about every to-do list you have ever written.  That’s you writing the day for yourself.  Even if you included a few “spiritual to-dos” like having a quiet time or really connecting in prayer – it’s still…earth-bound.

You wouldn’t write – “Go and find a ladybird and watch it climbing up a blade of grass” or “Make some cupcakes and take them around next door.”

“Your days, if you wrote them would be days of doing things that have to be done, or need to be done or ought to be done. 

“Your days, when I write them…they have some of those things too – the “have to be”, and “need to be” and “ought to be” done.  But sprinkled in among those things are a few “you probably don’t want to do this but it’s good for you” things and “you probably don’t think you can do this but try it anyway” things and a “you are really going to like this” thing.

“Your days, when I write them, are the best days you can have.  Even the bad days are the best days when they are shared with Me.”

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