Monday, September 21, 2009

Email Surprise

Tonight, I received an email from a poet. She'd read my "Sunday Morning Rain," and was inspired to write this. It caught me with all my message points and cue cards down. I truly don't know how to respond, or respond adequately. And what a beautiful thing she had done -- and written.

So where did "Sunday Morning Rain" come from?

I woke early yesterday, earlier than I had to, and was sitting in my office reading from the book of Proverbs. I’ve been participating in a group reading of Proverbs on Twitter, where each day you tweet a verse, something that strikes you, or how something speaks to you (check #SCLPRO for all the various tweets). It was started by Jon Acuff over at the Stuff Christians Like blog, and he’s got a book in the works that sounds like great fun. As I was reading, I gradually became aware of the rain striking the gutters and rattling around the downspout that’s right outside my window. I listened and read, and then the thoughts, images, phrases and words started crowding in. I knew a poem was trying to be born. I reached for the pad I usually draft poems on and began to write.

The thought occurred that I couldn't recall a single example of rain happening in the gospels. I checked the concordance, and sure enough, there are only two references, both in the Gospel of Matthew and both in parables. I pondered that for a bit, and thought about synonyms for rain. And then the idea of "tears" went on like a light bulb. And the only reference to Jesus' tears is in the Gospel of John, as he stood at the tomb of Lazarus.

I worked the draft over several times; the last line was one of those abrupt things that just happened, and it changed the entire poem. I stared at it, started to edit and rework it, and then stopped. No, I thought, this is what it's meant to be.

I've had online friends mightily encouraging me in my "poetry doodling," as L.L. Barkat calls it. My wife encourages me, too, even when she knows a lot of the poems are about her. She's a private person and isn't totally comfortable with all of my online writing. But she encourages me anyway.

Check out Maureen's poems at Writing Without Paper. She's good.

1 comment:

L.L. Barkat said...

So glad she encourages you... the poems are gifts to her, to you, to you both, to the wider world.

Fun that Maureen did that. I knew she was wanting to participate in RAP; what a nice way to enter into the celebration.

As for the poem changing. I love when that happens-- when we accept what is trying to be said, rather than forcing something else.