Years ago I set out to write a poetry book called Fragrance of Worth. I wanted an outlet for combining my love for beautiful photography with poems and prose that I was daily writing—a way to inspire others to live a life, alive and filled with purpose. Over the years since setting out on that particular journey, the well of ideas ran dry, I was afraid to bare my soul, and my passions moved on to the next object of desire much like a fickle child moving from toy to toy. I abandoned the project in hopes that one day I would return and complete what I envisioned.
In my pursuit of reading more material from journalist Bill Moyers, I came across his bookFooling With Words, a collection of interviews with poets regarding their love of poetry and the craft of writing inspiring and beautiful words regardless of the stage of life they are in. What a celebration of words, a party thrown in honor of the beauty found in the connection of disparate ideas, mingling and transforming one another into glorious utterances of art.
Words have power: to inform and educate, to guide and lead, to woo and seduce, to mislead and fool. Yet, it seems that society has only embraced the words needed to sell, market, manipulate and postulate a particular want or position. Oh, what is missed out when words are mere commodities, instead of fragrant vessels of hope and peace, love and beauty.
It’s not easy to write poetry and poet Robert Pinsky says that “the poet’s challenge is to find something in culture that isn’t already defined as poetic and make it poetic.” He continues in further defining the poet’s challenge: “To take what does not seem automatically part of the realm of art and to make art of it.”
The challenge of poetry, and creative writing in general, is to make art with words and connections. Life is found in the pursuit of creation and expression. In describing the life that is to be found in poetry, Marge Piercy muses:
I want my poems to give voice to something in the experience of a life. To find ourselves spoken for in art gives dignity to our pain, our anger, our losses. We can hear what we hope for and what we most fear in the small release of a cadence’s utterance. I just hope that readers will find poems that speak for and to them.
Find the words that speak to you, through you and for you. Just like an apple a day keeps the doctor away, a poem a day keeps the cynic away. It breaks the bonds of hopelessness that is perpetuated by the constant drip of news and propaganda, the torture of modern culture. Breathe in words and passages of thought, exhaling hope, love and life.
Enjoy a few poems written years ago for Fragrance of Worth, expressions of a life long since evolved and changed, yet fully alive, deep within my soul.
Fragrance of Worth
We are a scared generation, afraid of the past, present and future. Victims of our own failures, we live under the shelter of pain and criticize the world around us, blaming everyone but ourselves. It is time to stand up and open our ears to the spirit of God and hear the life that is available for each and every one of us. We must open our wings and soar where the air is pure and our fragrance of worth emits from our lives: a sweet smell of God’s victory in and through us. Impacting the lost and hopeless…our very souls.
We have aimed for perfection, taking the very characteristics of God into our own hands and become the ultimate controllers of grace and mercy. We desire the consistency of grace, we give the variety of vanity and we hold our lives hostage in return for a sliver of joy and happiness. Like everyone, we want to live lives that matter, filled with purpose, but the first thing we are willing to give up is grace and mercy. We question our purpose in the midst of discovering what our purpose is and wonder if what we work for is merely a fabrication of what worked for someone else, creating a lineage of nothing.
Alone I stand on the edge of a battle, fighting valiantly on the front, but growing ever tired. I live, yet I have died. I have forgotten the taste of freedom, the joy of life. I am lost in the desert of suffering, wandering from mirage to oasis in search of water: I’m thirsty. My search fails as I take another drink of sand: the misplaced salt of the believer. I cry out for I long to taste pure waters. To be passionate, to feel alive. I long to be on the edge of still waters with the desert behind me and joy in my heart.
The Evocative Reunion
Ripped away by the sin in my heart, I hide in the bushes of my emotions longing to never be seen again. A pain runs deep and wonder never escapes, will I be okay? I dream of the mountains, I deny the valleys and I live in the whirlwind of my feelings. Was it all a lie that took me away from You? Or a painful lesson that brought me back to You? The pain buried in my heart belches decay, seeping through the layers of hurt. Sickened, the smell invades my senses. But one thing is different. I confess my sins, I hold to the Absolute Truth, that I am washed clean by blood. And I see what trust, love and truth really is. As you hold me in Your arms and I feel the tear running down your omnipotent face. The Evocative Reunion of man and God.