dispersing & reflecting light through poetry

Posts tagged ‘writing’

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?

image

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

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

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 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

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

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