dispersing & reflecting light through poetry

Posts tagged ‘red’

Seeing RED

No, I am not angry. In fact, I am extremely excited. RED is complete!

This has been a long process (too long), from conception to publication. Some of the poems for RED were written a couple of years ago with this book in mind. I had to get serious and set aside the time to devote to actually getting it accomplished. Thanks to The Christian Writers Network at Cathedral of Praise in North Charleston, SC for their support and encouragement; to my wife for putting up with a poet; and to the Lord Jesus Christ for not giving up on me, even when I do.

RED is available at CreateSpace.com and Amazon.com.

Thank you bloggers and readers for your comments and views. Now onward to ORANGE.

Preparing RED to be READ 5

This is the part where I just want to be done. To say that the work is complete, send it out there to do what it will, and move on to the next project. But no.

I was not completely satisfied with the graphics. I spent the afternoon getting the resolution right for printing. Re-uploaded the new manuscript with updated pictures. The report back from CreateSpace showed no problem with low resolution graphics. Hurray!

I now await my second proof copy to see how things look this time. I just want it to be done right; the best quality product with the tools I have at hand and my experience with those tools. Just because it’s self-published, just because it’s just poetry, and Christian poetry at that, doesn’t mean it has to be low quality. But because it’s self-published and because it’s Christian I need to give it the best polish possible.

Preparing RED to be READ 4

Received my proof copy yesterday! Living close to the CreateSpace offices is a plus for getting things shipped promptly. (And I pay standard shipping.)

Looking through page by page, most everything seems good. The images aren’t too bad with the low resolution; one or two could be better. I need to remember the 300 dpi lower limit if using pictures next time.

I did find two glaring errors in the table of contents. This is why multiple proofreaders are essential. But this is an easy fix I’ll do this morning and then immediately upload the new file. Within a day or two RED should be available at CreateSpace.com and Amazon.com.

Preparing RED to be READ 3

Doing edit checks on the RED manuscript in CreateSpace this morning. The automatic interior check in CreateSpace found issue with the size of my images (requires at least 300 dpi for quality printing). I thought I had fixed the problem with Paint Shop Pro, but alas it indicates they are still not right. I’m going to have a proof copy printed to see how low quality the images actually appear in print. I wasn’t going for HD, so they may turn out okay.

I was mostly looking at the visual impact in the manuscript: were the paragraphs aligned correctly, did the images track well with the text, any glaring setup issues. I had to make a couple of corrections to one or two pages where the paragraphs/subtitles were not on the right page, but those were quick fixes and the file uploaded again. Just took a few minutes.

Cover design and back cover text are complete, so I should have a printed proof by this time next week.

Copyright © 2015 Scott Daniel Massey

RED: Revelation

The final poem.

RED: Revelation

The Most Selfless
desires a help
meet for Him;

so from Spirit lips
a whispered
invitation.

The beautiful accuser,
cartoonishly
depicted in red,

hisses
false alarm
to defy.

Conflicted loyalty
rends the veil
of heaven.

The line is drawn
in the soil
of man.

Love and war
collide
at the cross,

where it is finished
before
it began.

Copyright © 2015 Scott Daniel Massey

RED Comment/Critique

I recently received a comment from asherblake, Lion’s Roar Sparow’s Twitter regarding InspiRED Again:

“Awesome. First let me say it mostly reads very smooth, and kept me interested. It was fairly formal and had some old fashioned notes like the first line of the third stanza and the first line of the couplet but it was still lively. I have three suggestions for you. The first line and 2/5 are not so iambic are they? My scansion’s not so good, and I know there is flexibility with iambs, but I thought you might want to start with the third line, revise a bit, but keep the rhyme scheme. (Though I love calling [Charleston] the Holy City and the presence of a park bench.) When you go into the second stanza I had a lot of trouble telling the connection to the first stanza, especially since they share a sentence. I think the speaker may be taking Valentine as an instructor–as to avoid sexual immorality. The lack of context, especially grammatical, leaves this buried. (The transition into the return of Christ also has a buried theme, which is not always bad, but you might consider making the connections between the reading of the Song, Valentine, and the return of Christ, more open.) Thirdly, do you want to say “spliced”? It has kind of a negative connotation? Well, I hope that’s not too much.”

I really appreciate constructive criticism. This shows me the reader cared enough about me and/or the work to comment, to help better the work. I get some of that within the writing group I belong to (shout out to the Christian Writers Network at Cathedral of Praise, North Charleston). I don’t think I can stress how important these people have been to me, not only as a writer, but as a follower of Christ. As a writer you will eventually have someone critique your work, even if you are totally isolated in your writing: a literary agent, an editor/publisher, the reading public. A good writing group gives you a safe and encouraging environment to grow as a writer. Our group has writers of various levels who work in different genres–poetry, inspirational, devotions, sci-fi and novels, we even have a cartoonist/satirist in the group. All these work together to help each other become better writers.

This relates to followers of Christ. Hebrews 10:25 tells us that we shouldn’t refrain from getting together with other believers. I don’t think this just relates to “church”. We need to get together frequently to encourage and uplift one another; to help each other in our walk with the Lord. Sometimes this may entail “constructive criticism”. If there is something in our life that needs to be corrected, wouldn’t you rather have someone who loves you and is concerned with your well-being point it out to you, than to have the world judge you (and you know they will). To have a group of people in various levels of their walk, with different points of view, can help you become a better Christian.

I had not intended to go in this direction with this post (and I seem to be using Hebrews quite frequently), but there it is. I did look at Asher Blake’s critiques. I tweeked a few things he pointed out, left some alone because I liked the way I had it (for now). But I appreciated the input and I hope I have a better poem for it. Here’s the updated version:

Solomon, St. Valentine, and the Coming of Christ

In the Holy City with faith’s fresh start,
on a park bench—alone; with blushing shame
I read Wisdom’s Song sung from sickened heart,
plagued with fever of most vehement flame.

Love’s perfect bliss banned by dark rule’s claim
that young soldiers be more stout if not wed;
yet embraced by stouter priest whose sole aim,
the union of man and wife, cost his head.

This flowered crown’s among many behead
by those lacking, who deem to quench Christ’s fire;
unending flame whose strength shall raise the dead
complete and whole, clothed in holy attire.

And I, one crumb this bread, one drop this wine,
shall ever consummate the feast divine.

Copyright © 2015 Scott Daniel Massey

Still More RED Between the Lines

Continuing work on “The Sonnet” is a bit slow, but I have progressed more in the past week than when I first conceived to write this poem. I have a better sense of how to connect the subjects. That helps.

The obvious connections of love and marriage between King Solomon, the priest Valentine, and the return for the Saviour for His bride, the church, do not necessarily make it easy to pull them all together into one poem, one sonnet to be precise.

Occasionally I like to reference the bread and wine in my poems in some way that fits as a remembrence of what Christ did for us. I was thinking I would like to do that with “The Sonnet” as I don’t think that I have in any of the other RED poems. In one of my notes, I have I Corinthians 10:17 referenced for the last two lines. This refers to many believers making up the one bread, the body of Christ as it refers to the Church. But the many are individuals. I am one of those individuals.

Then I began to think about the first time I read the Song of Solomon. The US Navy had transferred me to Charleston, South Carolina. At the time, I was a new follower of Christ. I grew up in a small town in western Michigan with only one church in town. Charleston is often referred to as the Holy City because there is almost a church on every corner. I had no idea where to go.

So on my first Sunday in Charleston I went to The Battery, a park at the tip of the peninsula of Charleston, to sit and read my Bible. Sitting alone on a bench under the shade of the oaks, I opened to the Song of Solomon. I had never read it before, never actually heard any sermons on it. (I grew up in the one Baptist church in town; not that it was never referenced, I just don’t recall it.) And I know I blushed. I was a young sailor. I got the sexual references. And there by myself I blushed.

Thus I decided to start “The Sonnet” with me and try to conclude with the many as one.

Here’s the first stanza so far:

In the Holy City with faith’s fresh start,
on a park bench–alone, with blushing shame
I read Wisdom’s Song sung from sickened heart
plagued with fever of most vehement flame

Copyright © 2015 Scott Daniel Massey

InspiRED

Genius is one percent inspiration and ninety-nine percent perspiration. –Thomas A. Edison

I sat down at my desk on Saturday (my morning outdoor projects were complete and I had the house all to myself) to work on “The Sonnet”. The poem that I have procrastinated, that has been a problem to write, that has plagued me. I pored over my notes about Solomon and The Song of Songs, quotes from those scriptures; the notes on Valentine, his resistance to Claudius, his beheading; the notes concerning the coming of Christ. I read through my lists of rhymes; I scoured them looking for connections. I drew lines at the top of a blank sheet to indicate iambic pentameter.  Back and forth between the three notebooks that contain a couple pages each of penciled notes and a file on Inkpad Notepad. How do I start? What words do I rhyme? Why am I doing this to myself?

And then I saw them. Two words. Two words that weren’t even on the same line. They were drawn to each other. The first just one blue line down and to the left of the second written in #2 pencil on legal pad yellow. “wisdom”. “song”. And the next word flowed out like it belonged. “sung”.

I HAVE THE START OF A LINE.

And then I notice a quote from The Song. “I am sick of love.” And the line almost finished itself.

“Wisdom’s song sung from sickened heart.”

But is it iamic pentameter? Close enough. Next line. What are some common elements of these three subjects? Fire? Plague? Losing one’s head? Where was that quote from Solomon?

Set me as a seal upon thine heart, as a seal upon thine arm: for love is strong as death; jealousy is cruel as the grave: the coals thereof are coals of fire, which hath a most vehement flame.

Song of Solomon 8:6

Okay. Flame, also connected with end-time scenarios. How do I connect them? Plagues are also a part of the final days. Somehow St. Valentine is a patron saint of plagues. And there’s the line from Solomon, “I am sick of love.” How do I…

And then the next line just seemed to materialize from the tip of the pencil lead.

“plagued with fever of most vehement flame”

But the end words “heart” and “flame” aren’t even in any of my lists of rhyming words. There’s a new challenge. But now I have a direction. Now I have two lines that I didn’t have before. My 1% of inspiration. Back to perspiring.

Copyright © 2015 Scott Daniel Massey

More RED Between the Lines

“Solomon, Saint Valentine, & the Coming of Christ”. The as yet started (as in actual lines of poetry) sonnet, referred to henceforth as “The Sonnet”. I told you I would let you into the process of this poem, so here’s more process.

The following are my notes in one file concerning “The Sonnet”. (In front of me are two small legal pads with some notes, there’s the Inkpad file with the outline, and I know I have a few sheets of paper scattered around here somewhere with more scribblings for “The Sonnet”.) These notes are ‘as is’:

Solomon, Saint Valentine, & the Coming of Christ: A Communion

a.    Delights of human love/celebration of love
b.    Lost his head in love
a.     “sick of love”/”a most vehement flame”
b

b.    Flower-crowned skull
c.    Plague/epilepsy
b
c

c.    Loved not their lives to the beheading death
d.    Coming with fire
c
d.

e.    Bread and wine (1 Cor 10:17; )
e.    Consummate/Holy of Holies

The two small legal pads contain notes from scripture concerning Solomon and the coming of Christ, as well as some short historical notes on Valentine (I provided links in my post “RED, shall I compare thee…?“). There are also lists of rhyming words: marry, tarry, bury; married, parried, serried; fire, pyre, desire; faint, saint, restraint; plague, vague, egg; behead, dead, bread. The lists are much longer; these are some of the highlighted, more likely to be used from those lists.

So now I have to find the right rhymes to fit the thought of each stanza and fit those thoughts into iambic pentameter without sounding stilted or forced, natural. NO PROBLEM.

But pulling out the notes, looking at them again (and again…and again), explaining out loud on (I was going to type ‘on paper’) screen what I need to accomplish is one step closer to the completed poem.

Copyright © 2015 Scott Daniel Massey

Chants of Being RED

When I started this project, I wanted to incorporate different forms; some that I’m familiar with, others I’ve never tried. Of course I use a lot of free verse, there are the list poems that I enjoy writing, the ghazal and the unfinished sonnet. What else should I use in this collection of red?

Thinking about the line “feast of martyrs” in “Red“, which apparently in Catholic tradition is symbolized by the color red, my mind went to Gregorian chants. That would be cool. But alas, in my research I found that Gregorian chant is not really a poetic form. You can chant just about anything: the Psalms, the book of Numbers, an owners manual for a Volkswagen, a grocery list. Not what I’m looking for. Further study of chants led me to African chants and those being brought to the Americas through the slave trade. These chants are a call and response. This may work.

Occasionally, I’ll throw some Spanish or Latin or some other language into a poem. I don’t speak them, I just like the sounds and sometimes it’s needed. (I have a small collection of language dictionaries of languages I’ll probably never speak.) Living in the Lowcountry of South Carolina, I’m aware of the rich history and cultures of the area, including Gullah. Gullah are directly related to the Africans brought to the South as slaves for the rice plantations. The language is a creole and is in use today.

I wrote the poem first in English with a short Latin refrain. I then translated it into Gullah using De Nyew Testament from the American Bible Society. The refrain is Yiddish. I don’t know if it’s an accurate translation, perhaps it may need polishing. Anyone who knows Gullah, any input welcome.

First the English version:

Feast of Martyrs: Plain Chant

dies mortis
dies natalis

Who shall feed on the feast sublime?
Those who have eaten the bread and wine.
Those who have lived on bread and wine.

Who receives strong meat of the word?
Those who have learned what us evil and good.
Those who can discern the evil and the good.

dies mortis
dies natalis

Who is worthy to drink of His cup?
Those who are humble and do not lift themselves up.
Any who serves and who does not lift himself up.

Who will not taste death? Who shall partake of the kingdom reign?
Those that take up the cross and show not shame.
Those that deny themselves and lose their life for His name.

dies mortis
dies natalis

Who is a sweet smell in the nostril of God?
Those who sacrifice for others, those who show love.
Those who give themselves for others, sacrificial love.

Who is it that pleases God?
All that believe and know His reward.
They that believe Him and know He rewards.

dies mortis
dies natalis

And now the Gullah version, the title is Haitian Creole (thank you Google Translate):

Fet nan Mati: Plen Chante

maveth yom
yalad yom

Who dat be et de feas ob heaben?
Dey dat be etin de bread and de wine.
Dey dat libe off ob bread and wine.

Who dat git de solid food?
Dem wa laan wa ebil an wa good.
Dem wa know de diffunce twixt de ebil an de good.

maveth yom
yalad yom

Who dat fit for ta drink ob E cup?
Dem wat take low. Dem wa ain’t pit demsef op.
Dem wa saabe and ain’t pit demsef op.

Who dat be ain gwine dead? Who gwine nyam een God nation?
E dat tote da cross. E ain for shame.
E dat dohn do jes wa e wahn. E dat giib e life fa God name.

maveth yom
yalad yom

Who dat be dat smell sweet ta da nose ob God?
Dem dat sacrifice fa odas, dat gii lob.
Dey dat gii ob desef fa odas, all de time lob.

Who dat be dat be pleasing God?
All dem dat belieb. Dem dat know what E got.
Dem dat belieb Um. Dem know Um gibe tings dat be good.

maveth yom
yalad yom

Copyright © 2015 Scott Daniel Massey

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