A few months ago, I was writing fairly furiously. I was cranking out a new poem every few days to a few weeks. Then I got bogged down on a poem I was writing and just stopped.
I joined an online community to share some of my poetry. First, I dug out and submitted some older secular poetry I'd written YEARS ago. And they loved those. Some of my poems got thousands of views, dozens of "likes" and many nice comments.
Then, I started weaving in the poetry I am writing now, i.e. the Job poems. The thousands of views dropped to barely a hundred, the "likes" dwindled as did the comments. I was even kicked out of one the forums because the moderator didn't like me "proselytizing" my "Abraham" poems.
So, I abruptly stopped that. I'd been spinning my wheels for about a month and a half now with nothing to show for it.
After a few days of soul-searching (read: sulking), I got the urge to write again. Ever since I wrote the 40 poems from Job last year, I've been thinking ahead to the Psalms.
As a teenager, I wrote a handful of poetry from Psalms, but gave it up. Partly, because they were so bad, but mostly because it was so daunting. Everyone knows there are 150 Psalms. 150! Plus, its already been done before. Several poets through the years have set the Psalms to rhyme.
How blest is the man who refuses to walk
in the counsel of evil to guide him,
nor chooses to stand with the sinners beside him,
nor sit with the scoffers who mock.
I wrote Psalm 1 a couple of weeks ago. It was like nothing I'd ever written before. The first lines of every verse contain 11 syllables, followed by 10, 12 and 8 syllables, respectively.
Why do nations rebel and conspire,
why do people have futile things planned?
Earthly kings, in their battle attire,
have united and taken their stand.
Three days later, I finished Psalm 2. I was freed from the constraints of writing in one of the six styles within my Job project, where every speaker had his own rhythm.
How many are my foes, LORD!
How great that number grows, LORD!
So many, with my back against the wall.
They say, with jubilation,
There will be no salvation,
there is no help from God for him at all.
At first, I was caught up with trying come up catchy titles like I did for Job. But after the fifth poem was written, and the next day I was still struggling with the title, I dropped the titles and stripped all of that clutter away.
Answer when I seek your face,
O God of hope and righteousness;
give relief to my distress,
please hear my prayer and grant me grace.
The fact that I no longer had to title my poems was a wonderful feeling! I could simply look at a Psalm, find the pattern, and write!
Oh listen to my words, LORD; consider how I groan.
Examine, now, my sighing.
Give ear to my voice crying;
you are my King, my God, and I pray to you alone.
So, in the course of a little more than two weeks now, the Lord's allowed me the ability to write these seven poems. It helps that they've been rather short, so far.
Lord, do not rebuke me in anger,
nor discipline me when enraged.
show grace as I languish in torment and anguish;
my pain, LORD, cannot be assuaged.
I really like the way Psalm 6 turned out as well as the next one.
But, I'm not sure why upender is NOT a word! There are large pieces of equipment that have upender in their name, but yet it isn't in the dictionary?
As I mentioned concerning my Job poetry, I usually don't look ahead or read the entire chapter before I start. I concentrate on the first verse or two to determine the rhyming scheme, then am always happily blown away when the rest of the chapter conforms to that pattern.
In this instance, however, when I was checking to see how long the chapter was, my eyes fell on the word "hollow" in verse 15, and glancing at the previous verse I saw a series of events and thought of the word "follow". So, I had that in mind when I started writing the poem. And, what do you know? The Lord worked it all out for me!
A shiggaion of David, which he sang to the LORD concerning Cush, a Benjamite.
O LORD, and my God, it is you I rely on;
oh, save me from those who pursue me with hate.
They'll rip out my soul with the strength of a lion;
they'll tear me apart — there's no help for my fate.
O LORD, and my God, if I'm truly that sordid,
if my hands are guilty of breaking the laws,
if peace had been given yet evil rewarded,
if I robbed my foe without reason or cause,
let me, by my foes, be pursued and then taken,
my life and my honor both trampled to dust.
In anger, stand up to my foes, LORD, awaken!
For you have decreed what is truthful and just.
Let people surround you from every known nation,
as you take your seat on your throne in the sky.
The LORD judges nations; give me vindication,
for I am an innocent man, O Most High.
I pray that the reign of the wicked be ended,
establish the righteous and make them secure.
O God, you are righteous and know what all men did,
by testing which hearts and whose minds remain pure.
Protector, my God, you're my shield and defender,
the one who delivers the upright of heart.
My judge and my jury, judicious upender;
your wrath for the wicked you daily impart.
If man won't repent, then God's sword will be sharpened,
he bends down and readies his bow in his grip.
Prepares for himself the most deadly of weapons,
ordains for each arrow a fiery tip.
When evil conceives, only trouble will follow
for lies and deceit will result from that birth.
By digging a pit and by making it hollow,
he falls in his hole that he's dug in the earth.
The troubles he causes return on him solely,
the violence he's planned, on his head, will be poured.
I'll give the LORD thanks for he's righteous and holy,
and sing out my praise to the name of the LORD.