Thursday, November 16, 2017

Wonder - A Poem

I wrote this poem while sitting in a hotel bistro one day, eating lunch and reading a book. Tired out by my work in the Air Force, I had decided a weekend getaway was in order, so I drove to Atlanta for a couple days' rest. I had been writing quite a lot of poetry during that season, most of which ended up in my book, To Do This Right.

This poem turned out to be one of those rare one-draft poems; I think I changed maybe one word during edits. And I still like it.


I cannot hide and cannot tell,
Though I have tried them both.
Once the blessings that I sought;
Once me, now him alone.

A burning bush or blackberries?
The distinction can’t be made.
Scaffolds of truth surround the lies
He already forgave.

How to give back the life I owe
And spurn blind unbelief?
How to meet Agape’s love
With Phileo, causing grief?

God is his own interpreter –
Objective truth in Word.
His wonder colors all I’ve seen
And everything I’ve heard.

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Isaiah 65 Poem

I really like the book of Isaiah, and certain chapters in particular. One of those chapters is number 65. Some of the word pictures are very striking, like those first few verses: "I was ready to be sought by those who did not ask for me; I was ready to be found by those who did not seek me. I said, 'Here I am, here I am,' to a nation that was not called by my name. I spread out my hands all the day to a rebellious people," (v 1-2a).* The descriptive language in this whole chapter is very effective in creating a sort of cinematic presentation of the broken relationship between God and his people, followed by its eventual repair.

There are also some wonderful repetitions. In verse 12 for example, God, speaking of his rebellious people, says: "when I called, you did not answer; when I spoke, you did not listen." This is juxtaposed beautifully (and doubly)** in the promise of the new heavens and new earth, as God says: "Before they call I will answer; while they are yet speaking I will hear" (v 24).

I encourage you to read Isaiah 65 for yourself; there's so much more to it than what I've briefly mentioned here. I like it so much, it inspired a poem:

Thursday, November 9, 2017


Kids think the darndest things.

When I was very small, my parents used to tuck me in every night with a prayer. When it was time to settle down and get into bed, they would say, "It's time to P - R - A - Y." I'm embarrassed to think how long it took after learning to spell, to realize that wasn't a word, but rather, the spelling out of another word I knew: "Pray."

When I wrote my poem about being nearsighted, the subject made me remember a long-forgotten childhood concern about my eyesight, years before I ever needed glasses. I jotted down a not very well-done poem about it, which I have now revised.

Tuesday, November 7, 2017

Sound in Afghanistan

I decided to post a short script exercise (and a drawing!) focusing on sound, which I set in Afghanistan, and then I realized this Saturday is Veterans Day - how perfect!

I was deployed to Afghanistan from February 3 to September 10, 2012. I had a pretty cushy job, all things considered, but that doesn't mean certain aspects of life over there weren't an adventure.

This short piece of dramatic writing is based on real events. The loudspeaker dialogue is accurate according to my journal from that time - I heard it so often, I had it memorized, so I'm glad I thought to write it down - and for a while I had a neighbor who hit the snooze button on her alarm clock instead of turning it off, then left it in her bed and went to the showers. We were on different shifts, and this occurred basically in the middle of my sleep cycle.

Good times. :)

Saturday, November 4, 2017

Fishing in Sunriver - A Poem

When I was six years old, we moved to Central Oregon. I know Disneyland claims to be "the happiest place on earth," but their marketing team has clearly never been to Sunriver. We lived there for about four years, maybe five. I have so many memories of being a kid there. What a place to grow up! Plenty of wilderness to explore, 33.5 miles of bike paths, and on and on. I remember standing on 5-foot high snow piles from the plows as we waited for the school bus in winter. I remember running through the woods in the summer. It was the kind of magical childhood you see in movies.

One place we used to go from time to time was the marina, a nice spot for a family of five to go fishing and swim a little. It seemed like a good subject for a poem:

Wednesday, November 1, 2017

Hashtag: Writing Goals

Five-and-a-half years ago, I was in Afghanistan. The base I was stationed at was divided into sections, and my unit was housed in a small rectangular yard. The space was enclosed with chain-link fencing, which was covered in fibrous green, tarp-like material. There was an opening near the street to allow access to the yard.

In the back of this rectangular, gravel-filled space we called home, the wall of green was interrupted by an incongruously wooded door.