Saturday, August 9, 2014

A "Praise Be" Poem

I was never one of those little girls to sit around and write poetry in her journals. Reading back through my childhood diaries, I see I was more of a journalistic record keeper--what we did in school that day, what girl had kissed what boy, who I played with in the afternoon. I know I did write a lot of stories at one point, but there isn't much imaginative writing in anything I now have from my childhood writings.

I tried writing some poems in college. They were pretty much dismissed by a certain poetry professor, and that experience left me scared to try any creative writing at all. I decided to stick to technical writing.

Part of my journey over the last four years, however, has been to be willing to learn, to try new things, even if it means doing it scared. My beautiful and persistent writing teacher Maureen has gently encouraged me. She tells me that it doesn't matter much if a writer has talent, what matters is that she is willing to try and to learn. And so, I try and I learn.

Last spring, Maureen presented my class with a prompt called a "Praise Poem." The idea is that you descriptively list things for which you are grateful in the moment. Because part of my journey since 2010 has also been learning to be grateful despite circumstances, I instantly fell in love with this prompt.

A few weeks ago, I was up late in the evening to catch a glimpse of the "supermoon," sitting on my back porch, just looking and listening and be-ing. Gratitude for small things filled my heart, and I tapped out this poem on the backlit keys of my iPhone. In the spirit of doing it scared, I present my praise poem.



Praise be for the sterling moon
Full in the ebony sky


Praise be for the crickets that chirp from tree to tree
For the katydids and little birds
For the toads that croak
                                      croak
                                               croak

Praise be for the evening breeze
the furry dog asleep in my lap
Praise be for the lightning bug who dances
before the bushes

Praise be for the hum of traffic down the road
And the whir of the cargo plane above

Praise be for your presence, God,
On this summer evening
this anything but silent
                                    night

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