Living with a traumatic brain injury and chronic pain is not easy. I often find it soothing to express my feelings in poetry, most of which is not fit for anyone else’s consumption. I like this one. It’s a reminder that the Joy of the Lord is my strength. With Him, I can face any difficulty.
May Christ through your faith (actually) dwell (settle down, abide, make His permanent home) in your hearts! May you be rooted deep in love and founded securely on love. Ephesians 3:17, Amplified
My roots reach deep
Into the One who IS
First of firsts
Within me the rich soil of life
Though the tempest roars
And the locusts swarm
The Harvest comes
I am Faith Unstoppable.
I stand planted
In the One who WAS
Inhabiter of time
The rock of my salvation
Though the mountains crumble
And are swallowed by the waves
I do not falter
I am Faith Unshaken.
I have my shelter
In the One who IS TO COME
Making all things new
My fortress, my tower, my strength
Though I'm bombarded
By flaming arrows
I stand strong in the gap
I am Faith Immovable.
Some of the best poetry ever written appears in the Bible in the Song of Songs: the Song of Solomon. One of my favorite lines is SOS 6:4; Thou art beautiful, My Love, as Tirzah. There’s something musical about it and, while musing on it, I wrote this poem.
It’s another poem today. I do have other types of blog posts planned but I’m still in the researching/planning phase and, now that I’m back at work, that’s slow going.
I’ve mentioned my car accident in an earlier post and spoken a little of my traumatic brain injury. I’ll spare you a litany of my ills but will say life with a TBI is difficult. These difficulties combined with the chronic pain from my other injuries makes it easy for me to get overwhelmed. I was feeling overwhelmed this weekend because of a task I had to complete and wasn’t sure what to do, how I’d find the information I needed, if I’d even be able to complete it, and a poem began to form.
I’m calling this one Idiom and wish to note this poem is in no way intended to condone the eating of elephants 😉 Rather, I hope it encourages anyone going through a difficult time.
“The best remedy for those who are afraid, lonely or unhappy is to go outside, somewhere where they can be quiet, alone with the heavens, nature and God. Because only then does one feel that all is as it should be.” ~ Anne Frank
I found this quote online and wanted to share it because how true it is! There is not, in my opinion, any substitute to being alone with God. This alone time has been important to me my entire life. Both my parents worked through my childhood so, of necessity, I spent a great deal of time on my own and could sneak off into a field or tree and have time alone with Jesus once my chores were done. Now that I am older and know Him in a deeper way, that time alone with Him with the sky overhead our cathedral is of utmost importance.
So important, that years ago I wrote a poem about it.
Someone asked where I found You
So I sat right down and thought
Did I find You in my prayers?
Yes, but I know I don’t pray as I ought.
And did I find you in the written Word?
Yes and no, I said
For I don’t read it as I should
There’s so much to do instead.
I’m a miserable Christian! I exclaimed
And guilt was a heavy stone on my back.
But wait, where was I?
Oh, now I remember-
How did I get so far off track?
I banished the guilt, shrugged it off
Cleared it all from my mind.
I focused completely on thoughts of You
And left all others behind.
Where did I find You? I asked myself
I turned my eyes to the heavens above
I smiled with Joy as I realized I knew
All Creation testifies of your love.
Especially for me, it’s the skies themselves
That bring my heart closer to Yours-
When the sun rises and when the sun sets
I feel that my spirit soars.
The skies are alive with colors like flame
That swirl and bend in a dance.
Look up! You say, See what I’ve made
This will be your only chance-
For each one is different-not one is the same
What has been before won’t come again.
And each new sunrise and sunset that I’ve seen
Are more beautiful than the last ones have been.
I feel so privileged, so singled out
As I wonder how it could possibly be-
That You’ve been there waiting every day
To paint the sky new just for me.
So that’s where I find You-the works of Your hands
As all Creation attests to Your fame
For through You, by You, and for You all things are made
I submitted this poem to a magazine at the beginning of this year but, as they’ve shown no interest, I’m posting it here! This is also my first attempt at using the “Verse” option in the block editor…
Your love is like water-
Peace to my parched heart.
Your love is not hindered-
Joy to my mourning spirit.
Your love cannot be held-
It slides through my tight-fisted grip.
Your Love must be known-
Live giving water to my soul.
I finally have a post. Things have been going awry with my laptop and then my internet connection so I haven’t been able to get online long enough to post. I am working on a poem that occupied my mind during my last walk at the reservoir so, while I consider iambs and rhythm and rhymes, I thought I’d post about poetry.
Poetry plays an important part of my reading and writing life. The musician in me likes reading poetry and likes reading it aloud so I can hear the rhythm and beat the author chose. Reading aloud also allows me to attempt to feel what the author intends for me to feel. I do the same when I write poetry. I read my own aloud because every syllable is deliberate. I am composing rather than writing as I attempt to put together words and rhythms that paint not only a picture for my reader but introduce them to the song I am creating. One of my favorite poets is a master at this. When Edna St. Vincent Millay writes “nor yet a floating spar to men that sink and rise and sink and rise and sink again”1, I know how it feels to be adrift in the sea: overwhelmed, unable to set my feet on anything solid, struggling to keep from drowning.
I read poetry as a writer because of the pictures authors are able to paint with words. Sometimes there will be that perfect phrase that shows me how to put in words the image important in my fiction. One of the most sense filled poems I’ve ever read is the Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam of Naishapur. I can see myself lounging in a garden-without any mosquitoes and lumpy ground, of course- as Omar Khayyam writes, “Here with a loaf of Bread beneath the bough, A Flask of Wine, a Book of Verse-and Thou”2.
And then, I have found poetry to be the perfect medium for connecting with God. I feel what Rabia of Basra feels when she writes, “Prayer should bring us to an altar where no walls or names exist…In my soul there is a temple, a shrine, a mosque, a church that dissolve, that dissolve in God”3. I read her words and my heart knows it is so.
There are so many other poets whose works are on my bookshelves: poets whose works that span the ages. Emily Dickenson, Paul Laurence Dunbar, and Shel Silverstein (because silly verse is important as well), sit beside the Sagas of the Icelanders, Ovid, and Homer. I love that poetry has been a form of expression since before humankind wrote their words down. A cry formed in the human heart and found expression in poetry.
These poems often went hand in hand with music which brings me to my go-to poems: the Psalms. This collection of songs, prayers, and poems (my Amplified Bible even calls Psalm 16 a poem of David) are some of my favorite poetry. Whenever I pick up a new translation of the Bible, I immediately turn to the Psalms in order to hear these poems in a different way. A preacher I listen to recently said all of life is found in the Psalms. That made me turn to them again trying to read them with new eyes and I’ve found what he said is true.
Every expression of life can be found in the Psalms. Exaltation, Despair, Love, Betrayal, Longing, Fulfillment, Anxiety, Triumph: the gamut of human emotion is found in the Psalms. So is brilliant imagery. The writer in me reads and re-reads “Behold, (the wicked man) conceives iniquity and is pregnant with mischief and gives birth to lies. Psalm 7:14” and “He made darkness His secret hiding place; as His pavilion (His canopy) round about Him were dark waters and thick clouds of the skies. Psalm 18:11”. I don’t yet know how these mental pictures will end up woven into my fiction but I hold them at the ready.
As a person of Faith, the Psalms are a way I connect with God. Most of the time I go to them for that purpose rather than as a work of literature but I think they are that as well: some of the most beautiful ancient literature composed before Rome itself rose and fell.
Collected Poems, Edna St. Vincent Millay. “Sonnet XXX”.
Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam of Naishapur. Translated by Edward Fitzgerald and Illustrated by Charles Stewart.
Love Poems From God. Rabia of Basra. “In My Soul”.
Note: All quotes from the Psalms were taken from The Amplified Bible published by Zondervan.