dispersing & reflecting light through poetry

Posts tagged ‘process’

What do you mean I can’t…?

I actually did though–couldn’t get to sleep because I couldn’t get it out of my head.

You Can’t Just Write a Poem

You cannot just write a poem.
You cannot just
write a poem.
You
can not
just write
a poem

about your feelings,
about your thoughts,
about your visions–
of the day or in the night;
you cannot just fit these things
in a form and be done with it.

They have to be crushed
by mortar & pestle,
sifted and sorted,
strained and filtered;
they need to be smashed
into mash,
cooked at high temperatures,
fermented and distilled;
they should be crumpled
scraps of trash,
recycled, then burned
and the ashes scattered.

Chew them up.
Digest them.
Vomit them.
Return to the vomit.
Repeat as often as necessary.
Spit and wipe your chin.

And then,
if the God of heaven & earth
deems it necessary,
then,
and only then,
may you write a poem.

 

Copyright © 2016 Scott Daniel Massey

Why Poetry?

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At a recent meeting of our church hospitality team, we were challenged to ask ourselves why we do what we do. Over the past few years I’ve been trying to apply that question to why I write poetry.

I even asked the Lord, why the gift of poetry in the 21st century (as opposed to other forms of writing more relevant in this era)? He told me, “Because poets see things.”

I wrote this back in November and originally posted it on facebook.

Why I Write Poetry: A Confession

I wouldn’t say that I’m an emotional individual, but I do have them. Sometimes intensely. And in our culture it is not always socially exceptable to express them as I might like. And other times I’m not sure how to explain them. So I have to let it out.

I am not a person who has it totally all together. I don’t always use sound judgement or follow my own advice. But once in a while I gain a bit of understanding or knowledge, a touch of wisdom, an experience. And I want to share it.

I do not claim to be a good Christian. I am by no means perfect. I am a sinner saved by grace in the present tense. But for reasons known only to God, I am allowed on occasion to hear whispers from heaven, to see specks of eternity. I must record them.

And sometimes I’m just trying to fit all the chaotic little pieces together to see what the big picture might be, to arrange the multitude of garbled sound bites into a melodic arrangement.

Or maybe I just like the sound of my own voice in my head and want you to hear it, too.

Copyright © 2016 Scott Daniel Massey

NaPoWriMo 2016: Random Promptings & Outside Influences

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NaPoWriMo 2016: Random Promptings & Outside Influences is now complete and available.

Published Poetry Pricing

I don’t like doing the self promoting thing (Hey! Look at me!); but since I am not connected to a big-time (or small-time) publisher with a marketing budget, someone has to do this. And it is part of the process.

Anyway…

I just lowered prices for my previously published chapbooks–as far as I could without having to pay amazon personally for the printing. I really need to convert them for Kindle to make them more accessible, but my first attempt to do so was disastrous. The formatting was skewed, the pages not right, and I haven’t gone back to try again. Bit of laziness on my part. I’ll make that my next project.

You can find a list of my chapbooks on the Home page.

Copyright © 2016 Scott Daniel Massey

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

NaPoWriMo Chapbook in the Making

I haven’t written much since NaPoWriMo. That month long exercise kept me focused, gave me a quantifiable goal in short spurts. Apparently I need that.

My manager recently changed my schedule, so I now have Mondays off. Thinking this would be an excellent time to accomplish some writing–no one else in the house, wife and daughter at work, granddaughter in school–I entered my office for the first time in awhile. But right now, I have so many unfinished projects, I didn’t know what to work on first.

If I learned anything from NaPoWriMo, it was that all I needed to do was show up and do something. Now even though I didn’t actually get any new writing done that day, I did start to put together a manuscript of the NaPoWriMo poems. I’m including the prompts with web address and some short commentary, currently titled NaPoWriMo 2016: Random Promptings & Outside Influences. I’ll keep you informed of the progress.

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

Christmas Inspiration

I find inspiration in many places. My grandchildren and the things they say; people around me, their lives and deaths; nature; my own life, thoughts and feelings and circumstances; ideas and philosophies.

This past Sunday at Pointe North Community Church our pastor, Tim Dorn, spoke about “the Presence” as part of his Advent series The Gift. I must confess that my attention was briefly divided between the sermon and another poem that came upon me. (Sometimes I can remember the bits of inspiration for later; but I know I’ve lost a lot of lines to short term memory, so most times I try to write it down immediately. Such was this case.) But a single phrase stood out. Something I had not heard put quite that way before: “…the stable became the Holy of Holies.”

Now I have never viewed the birth of Christ as a sanitized event as depicted in most manger scenes. The earthiness of the first advent is something I have wanted to capture in a poem for some time. This short statement put it in a fresh light and gave me the inspiration needed to write the poem.

The Presence
“…the stable became the Holy of Holies…”
–Pastor Tim Dorn, 12/13/15

The bearer of the covenant appears
through the door of this urban shed,
imperfect in its dimensions,
from the dark veil of night.

Dirt and dung covers the floor
of this ungilded Holy of Holies;
beasts of burden and field mice
bed in its sanctuary.

Layers of dust and chaff shrouds
this open Ark of Testimony
cradling the true bread of life,
the living staff, and the law fulfilled.

Starlight scatters shadows
through the slatted roof
illuminating the glory of God
in the face of a blood-covered newborn.

Copyright © 2015 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

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