Today, can I share with you some words incredibly personal and dear to my heart?
When I first started writing poetry, it was a place to process emotion, to unload all that teenage angst, to play with words.
But then I read John Donne. And he intrigued me. I mean, first you have The Flea – this long, eloquent discussion of a flea biting a man and a woman which turns out to be quite the elaborate (and can we say it – slightly ridiculous) pick up line. And you have No Man is an Island, a brilliant consideration of the connectedness of humanity that has resonated with countless hearts across many generations. And then – his Holy Sonnets.
Batter My Heart, Three-Personed God led me through new doors and down new paths as a writer and a Christian. As I read these words again and again, my heart stirred to write about God this way, to know Him this way. All throughout Donne’s Holy Sonnets, he pulls on unique images and concepts that help you see God through fresh eyes. Sometimes it’s uncomfortable; always it’s enlightening.
So I began exploring God through poetry. I began, if you will, documenting my spiritual journey through poetry. I learned what it meant to pour my heart out to Him – to hold nothing back, to be laid bare, to not be afraid to be brutally honest when it was hard or when I wanted to quit. And to this day, when I am struggling to hear Him, when I feel like I am out of words to pray, I can find Him through the poetic voice in my spirit.
I do not share these poems often, but I would love to offer you three today. And from the bottom of my heart, I would hope and pray they might draw you a step closer into His romance and mystery.
I saw my heart
tossed upon the jagged rocks.
I saw my soul
tumbling down the emerald hills.
I felt my bottled tears
as the icy rain fell.
But then I knew how all that has been:
my hemorrhaging heart –
the endless solitude that would poison my soul –
the relentless fear that would paralyze my heart –
the merciless desert . . .
Brought me to this intoxicating moment,
Where the wind brought us close,
where Your arms held me close,
and after so long a silence –
You whispered my name.
I am so small,
staring into the face
of a blue expanse
that could devour my existence.
And You, should You stand beside me,
would gather it all, beyond what I see,
into the palm of Your hand.
It is me You hold right now.
I see the reflection of Your eyes
in the shimmering surface.
My wavering, trembling soul
is stilled at last,
by the warmth of the flames in Your eyes,
by the breeze of Your lovely voice,
and the gentle fingers through my hair.
yet real as the air I breathe.
Blind to the things I can see,
I depend on the shadow
only my soul knows.
So soft – my velvet shadow –
caress my skin and fold
around my heart.
Hold it in Yours.
Rough – my stubborn shadow –
from holding this clay
in the blazing forge.
(Do not let go.)
Desperate devotion – I cling
to Your feathers and steel.
I follow this solid phantasm,
adore the silken touch,
real as the air I breathe.