dispersing & reflecting light through poetry

Posts tagged ‘poetry’

To God the Increase

I have planted, Apollos watered; but God gave the increase. I Corinthians 3:6 (KJV)

My grandchildren, AJ and Serenity, love to plant things. Green beans, tomatoes and potatoes, apple seeds, avocado pits, and flowers have been planted in pots and makeshift gardens in our backyard. They have enjoyed the harvest of some of these and anticipate possible fruits from others. I taught them to look after their plants, to weed and to water. And I taught them to lay hands on the plantings and ask God to help them to grow and bear fruit.

But I have not followed my own instruction concerning my writings–poetry chapbooks, blogs, and other projects. I write, I edit, I publish; but it is God who gives the increase. Ultimately, I can’t make this stuff I do grow, but my God can.

So now I ask Him to do with these words I scribble together, peck out on a keyboard, and send out into the world in their various forms what He will and all the glory to His name–Jesus.

Copyright © 2016 Scott Daniel Massey

Let There Be YELLOW

I am currently about a third of the way through the list of poems for ORANGE. Since I’m  not sure which to work on next, I decided to start  on YELLOW. My mode of operation for the previous RED and ORANGE has been to scour the internet for examples of the color, both articles and images. I would create a list of common and uncommon items, events, songs, stories, people, and places associated or named for that color, as well as interesting notes and facts about them. To write the title list poem, I select those colored things that strike me most or that strongly suggest (at least to me) a spiritual topic or connection.

Well, as I was going through this process for YELLOW, I came across a song by Coldplay titled, what else, “Yellow”.

Now I’ve heard the song numerous times over the years, but never really paid much attention to the lyrics. So I paid attention. Wow! Immediately I made a connection. And thus I conceived the following poem:

Perhaps to you
there is no significant meaning
to the shining of the stars,
the positioning of the planets,
the spinning galaxy
surrounding the tiny rock
you call home.

Don’t be a coward;
actually look at them–
the blazing chaotic
beauty of the nebulae,
the explosive order
in the gaseous dusty sea of space,
the seemingly endless cold expanse
pooled in the palm of My hand.

Now look down.
Look at the speck of dust
on that tiny rock,
that form of clay and spit and air,
that blob of skin and bone.
The crown of creation.
The question of angels.
The image of God.

They do shine for you.

And I am dry.

Now you may have noticed that this poem did not have a title. I usually don’t have a problem here, but this time I can’t seem to get it. Most of what I have come up with have used Coldplay in the title, but I don’t really like any of them. I certainly don’t want to use “Yellow” as the title, as that is for the opening poem.

So, I offer a challenge. Please title my poem. If I select your title, I will send you a signed copy of “RED” and recognition in the “YELLOW” chapbook. In the case of duplication, all parties suggesting the same title will receive the aforementioned.

Copyright © 2016 Scott Daniel Massey

Finishing an Echo

I began to write this poem back in August or before. I managed to throw together a couple of blogs on it and somehow completed it a couple of weeks ago. And I’m just now posting the completed poem. Why is that?

For one, I’m not a full time poet. One does not pay the bills as a poet unless one has multiple degrees and teaches at a university or works in publishing. Therefore, I spend much of my time working to put food on the table, buying the food to put on the table, or helping to cook the food that’s put on the table, and then cleaning up the table.

Secondly, my writing routine has been completely disrupted by family issues. We have become the guardians of our nine year old grandson while his mother works on getting her life back together. The times of day that were previously set aside for writing are now broken up to take care of other things (we thought we were finished raising children, three girls all grown, and a precocious nine year old boy is an altogether different and non-stop challenge) or to rest from the whole lot (and resting is questionable).

Now, I did manage to write a couple of poems apart from this one: two elegies. One was for a close friend who passed quietly and unexpectedly, the other for a co-worker who died a week later after years of illness. (Perhaps I’ll share them in a later post.)

So that’s why I have been absent from The Prismatic Page. That’s the reason for the delay. When I did find time to focus (arriving at work an hour early, working on my phone), it came together quite nicely. I hope you enjoy it.

Heard Through the Echoes
(A Pantoum)

Can You hear, God?
Are your ears open to my prayers?
Am I whispering in the wind,
answering echo for echo?

Are your ears open? Do my prayers
reach the heights of heaven’s heart,
answering echo for echo
within the weight of silence?

Reach the heights of heaven’s heart;
hushed echoes overflowing
within the wait of silence:
know Me.

Hushed echoes overflowing…
I AM whispering in the wind,
“Know Me.”
Can you hear God?

Copyright © 2015 Scott Daniel Massey

Chasing the Echo

Continuing work on the pantoum. I worked out the two repeating lines for the first and last stanzas. I plan to keep this short–four stanzas–not quite adept enough for a longer pantoum.

Punctuation does not have to be the same for the repeating lines. This helps to give new meaning to the line. I’ve also slightly changed word order of line 3 and the word “to” in line 2 becomes “do”–still the same sound. Not sure how I want the last line to look.

I’m working down and then back up towards the middle. This is what I have so far:

line1 Can You hear, God?
line2 Are your ears open to my prayers?
line3 Am I whispering in the wind,
line4 answering echo for echo?

line2 Are your ears open? Do my prayers
line5 reach the heights of heaven’s heart
line4 answering echo for echo
line6 on bended limb?

line5 Reach the heights of heaven’s heart
line7
line6 on bended limb
line8

line7
line3 I Am whispered in the wind
line8
line1  Can you hear God?
        Can you hear? God.

Copyright © 2015 Scott Daniel Massey

To Pantoum

I confiscated a line from a co-worker a few months ago. I don’t recall the conversation or if it was merely said in passing, but I took the line and told him I  would use it in a poem. He actually liked the idea that I would take something he said and use it in a creative way. So I jotted it down on an electronic note and promptly forgot about it.

And I do mean forgot the line totally.

Until the other day the same co-worker  asked if I had written the poem yet. Admittedly, I had not and I confessed that I couldn’t even remember what the line was, though I knew it was one of those really good, unforgettable lines. Fortunately, I keep scraps of thought and I had this one in a text for just such bits and pieces.

“I heard it through the echoes”

So having re-acquired the line and the renewed challenge to use it, my mind gnawed on it. What’s the theme? What did I hear? How do I present it?

OK. Echoes. Repetition. A pantoum. I’ve used the form once before. Here’s the format:

line1
line2
line3
line4

line2
line5
line4
line6

line5
line7
line6
line8

as many stanzas as needed

line7
line3
line8
line1

And that’s about as far as I am. More later.

Copyright © 2015 Scott Daniel Massey

ORANGE Playlist

I don’t want to get too far along on ORANGE, I only have 5 poems completed for it. I honestly don’t know where I’m going with it. I have connected the titles to ideas and topics: fear, death, apostacy, community, the resurrection, and more. Culturally, orange is associated with autumn, harvest, fruitfulness. Orange is warm and happy. As a secondary color it’s transitional. Orange is a sensational color–slightly more intense than yellow, yet less aggressive than red–that stimulates activity and appetite, and encourages socialization. Orange elicits a stronger “love it” or “hate it” response than other colors.1

The Lord once told me concerning my poetry to make the connections and He would give the meaning. That isn’t to say that I don’t have an intended meaning to what I write. I’ve never quite understood writers that just write words on a page, only to say that they didn’t have meaning, expressed or implied; that the reader gives the interpretation. There had to be something on their mind or in their heart to put the words to page. With my poems I’m trying to make a connection, to have meaning; but God will give my poetry true meaning if my mind is stayed on Him (no matter how imperfect I may be–and I am extremely imperfect), and if I write to please HIm and to encourage, uplift, and enlighten others.

With that in mind, here is the current proposed playlist for ORANGE:

Orange
Jack O’Lantern
Terra Cotta Soldiers
The Scent of Autumn
Orange Crush
Lava Lamps
Orangemen
The Golden Gate Bridge
Black Box
Ghazal: La Naranja de Dios
Thursday in Thailand
Bell Edison Telephone Building, circa WWI
The Life of Oompa Loompas
Coals on the Altar
The Drink of Astronauts
Operation Ranchhand
Flight of Monarchs
Amber Alert
Orange Remix

Copyright © 2015 Scott Daniel Massey

Colorless

At the moment I do not know what to write. Continue RED. Another ORANGE. Not ready for YELLOW. As it is, I’m almost to the end of RED, but I still have two poems to complete (the sonnet and the finale/summary). I actually haven’t written much of any poetry since I started this blog about writing poetry. On the one hand that’s okay. I’ve written poetry for years and now is the time to get it out there for others to read and hopefully enjoy. But now I have a new pressure. I’ve started something.

I’ve started something that I’ve shown to other people. The whole world. Now I have to complete it. And there’s still GREEN, & BLUE, & INDIGO, & VIOLET, not to mention perhaps BLACK & WHITE and maybe even non-visilble light. The task seems daunting. And unattainable. And a lot of work. Yes, work. In short chunks of time to write. In between the day job, the family, church and life.

Let’s get some kind of take-away from this. Perhaps it’s these colorless moments that make the colors more vibrant, more alive, more desirable. Like white space on a page. Like the margins around a Polaroid snapshot. They’re anticipation, like an empty canvas before the first brushstroke. Like a blank screen before the first keystroke.

Or maybe I just need to shut up, sit down, and write.

Copyright © 2015 Scott Daniel Massey

ORANGE You Glad I Didn’t Say RED

Since the colors of the spectrum have no distinct delineation (at least to the naked human eye), I thought I’d throw in a poem from the next series, ORANGE, to allow the thoughts to bleed into each other.

It’s a list poem. I plan to start each series this way. I think it’s a good way to get focused in on the specific color. What I’ve been doing is jotting down things of the color, varying shades of the color, things that elicit the color; looking for the common and the unusual, the obvious and the odd. I then select the items that strike me, that stand out, that I see some possibility of spiritual and/or poetic connection, orthodox or obscure.

The final stanza is put together from interesting facts about the color or related to cultural or thematic aspects of the color; and those may lead to an overall theme.

At least that’s how I’ve done it so far.

Orange

autumn leaves and pumpkins
yams
egg yolks
the flesh of cantaloupe and mangoes
cumquats
carotene,
     converts to vitamin A in the liver
Cheetohs®
Tang®
marmalade
mandarins
Viceroy and Monarch butterflies
Baltimore oriole
Honduran milk snake
Okeetee corn snake
Panthera tigris tigris
terra cotta soldiers
construction signs
safety cones
the Golden Gate Bridge,
     it blends well with its natural setting
children’s aspirin
Amber alert
penal jumpsuits
flight data and cockpit recorders
Oompa Loompas
Irish Protestants
US Army Signal Corps
Thursday in Thailand
herbicides in Vietnam
lava
rust

The CMYK composition of a version of orange:
     0% cyan, 69% magenta, 100% yellow, 6% black.
The composition of pumpkin pie filling, from scratch:
     1 c. cooked pumpkin, ½ c. sugar, 1 t. cinnamon, ¼ t. ginger, ¼ t. nutmeg, ¼ t. cloves,
     1 t. vanilla, 1 c. milk, 2 egg yolks, beat until stiff 2 egg whites.
The composition of Orange, VA in 2011:
     70.7% white, 22.8% black, 3.5% Hispanic, 2.3% mixed, 0.3% American Indian,
     0.3% Asian, 0.04% Hawaiian, 0.02% other, 0.04% unknown;
     that’s a total of 2 Hawaiians.

Copyright © 2015 Scott Daniel Massey

At the Center of RED 2

And to Jesus the mediator of the new covenant,
and to the blood of sprinkling,
that speaketh better things than that of Abel.
Hebrews 12:24 KJV

I believe sometimes the poem just needs to speak for itself.

Blood Shed

My Father collected all of the legitimate
splinters of wood from the cross,
each individual artifact stained
with the authentic blood of Christ.

And my Father took those splinters
and built a shed in the backyard;
a place for me to run for cover and hide
from the seasonal torrential storms.

And the pounding waters caused the blood
from my Father’s splinters to drip on me, drop on me,
covering me like a fresh coat of paint,
soaking me to the flesh, filling my pores

until they could be filled no further;
until the blood-rain flooded my veins
and deluged the pumping muscle
at the center of my being.

And when the clouds stopped
dispensing and dispersed,
I stepped from the shelter of the shed
gleaming in the warmth of the Sun.

Copyright © 2015 Scott Daniel Massey

RED Between the Lines

Okay. Let’s go back to “Solomon, Saint Valentine, & the Coming of Christ”. Since this poem is yet to be completed, I’ll let you inside the process as I go along. This will be a first for me, so it may not be pretty.

As I mentioned in my previous post, “RED, shall I compare thee…?“, this is planned to be a sonnet. There are several forms of sonnets: the Italian or Petrarchan, the English or Shakespearian, the Spenserian, the Miltonic, and modern. I have chosen the Spenserian form because the rhyme scheme (abab bcbc cdcd ee) is interlocking. I want to dovetail these three subjects, intertwine them. That’s what true love and marriage is about. The meshing of two lives into one.

Apart from that, I’m not sure what to tell you. So here are some of the notes and scribblings I have from my research:

These are my original lines for the final couplet. They show my intent of the “interlocking lines”. I probably won’t use them.
e:  And as the interlocking lines of this sonnet song
e:  So too through consummative act, two become one.

A quote from the second-century Jewish rabbi Aquiba concerning the Song of Solomon:

“All the ages are not worth the day on which the Song of Songs was given to Israel; for all the Writings are holy, but the Song of Songs is the Holy of Holies.”

According to Catholic.org, the flower-crowned skull of St. Valentine is exhibited in the Basilica of Santa Maria in Cosmedin, Rome. Apparently, he is the Patron Saint of affianced couples, bee keepers (?), engaged couples, epilepsy (???), fainting (at weddings?), greetings, happy marriages, love, lovers, plague (???!), travellers, and young people; and he is represented in pictures with birds and roses.

Perhaps my next post about this sonnet will actually contain lines of poetry.

Copyright © 2015 Scott Daniel Massey

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