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The Men Who Walk On Clouds

I see men who walk on clouds,
And plant their flag
On white hills and mountains.
Who stoop down to drink from rain,
As if from the purest fountain.
I see an elephant
As small as a mouse
Hiding among the grasses.
I see a water dragon on his back,
Floating, calm and placid.
I see fairies flying through the trees,
As fantastic creatures watch them,
Hidden in the leaves.
I see the things no one else sees,
I see men who walk on clouds.
I see the things
That go bump in the night.
I see the things
That fill dreams with fright.
I see the creatures,
Afraid of the light.
I hear voices of hidden things,
That some might call imaginary.
I hear many hidden sounds,
The same as I see men
Who walk on clouds.
I see the world how I wish it to be,
Real or imaginary,
I have no need for words like these.
An elephant hiding
Beneath the grass,
Fairies racing
Through the trees,
Men who lay their heads
On soft pillow mountains,
And drink from rain like fountains,
The voices and faces
Of formless things,
This is the world for me.
For there is nothing in this world

More beautiful to me,
Then the things we cannot see,
The wonders that are a mystery.

This is probably one of the poems I’m most proud of. With all the poems I’ve written, both for myself, for church, or for others, I’m incredibly proud of this one. I’m proud of my other poems, yes, but there was something I wanted to get across with this poem; Freedom. Freedom to think, freedom to feel, freedom to believe that there is still something good within the world. For me, poetry is where I am free to think and feel. Poetry is where I am free to question, or to not question. I can simply, look. I can look at the world how I wish to see it, hear the voices that others might not hear, and respond to them. In this world that claims to love freedom and a sense of individuality, we’re all too often told who and what we are, and in turn what we’re allowed to see as real. In my poetry, I can reject those ideas pressed upon me by my circumstances, society, or status, and be who I feel I was created to be. I can’t take credit for this freedom, though. I didn’t find it on my own. This gift is a God-given gift, one I never would have found had it not been for my church, those within it, and the God that I am in the church to worship. My hope in sharing my poems and stories is that maybe, just maybe, I can help lead others to the same freedom that I found.

Writing, for me, is a search for God. — Carson McCullers

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How do I do this?

Okay, hold on, let’s take this from the beginning
How do I even start this?
Do I just end my sentences with random words?
I guess I have to make this coherent
Can’t have it incomplete
That would just be too easy

To be truthful, I went into this thinking it might be easy
Figured it would just roll out once I had a beginning
Instead it’s just a series of ideas, irritatingly incomplete
I have next to no idea what to do with this
How do I keep this entertaining and coherent?
It’s rare that I’m at a true loss for words

I guess I don’t always have to know the words
At least, finding them doesn’t have to be easy
At least, not if I just want this coherent
That was my goal in the beginning
But I guess I want more effort in this
So it isn’t coherent yet incomplete

The greatest crime to poetry is a poem that’s incomplete.
One with no reason in its words.
So, might as well put some effort into this
Even if it’s far from easy
They say the hardest part is the beginning
That it all flows from there, becomes coherent

I wonder why that’s so important, being coherent
Why it’s so important to make it not incomplete
Why it all has to start from the beginning
Can’t I just use random words?
That would certainly make this easy
But, I guess that’s not the point of this

If it were easy, everyone would do this
If it were easy, we could all make it coherent
But, it’s not easy
It’s hard to make this feel not incomplete
I guess I just have to wait for the words
And hope I can get past the beginning

I guess just beginning is the best way to start this
I may have to search for the right words to make this coherent
Anything to make it more than incomplete, even if it isn’t easy.

So, obviously this poem is a bit peculiar. It’s a poem I had to write for my poetry class, and it’s a poetic form called a Sestina. Basically, it’s a poem of six stanzas of six lines each, with a three line envoy(basically a stanza) to end it. These lines are unrhymed, and the lines end in a rotating pattern of the same 6 end words. The three lines at the end contain all 6 end words. It’s alot, I know, and I’ll include a link that explains it in more detail.

It took me a while to write, or to even come up with an idea. At first that bothered me, but I steadily got used to it. I realized that it’s okay to not have a fully realized idea immediately, and that in the end this confusion can create some of our best works. I don’t consider this sestina my greatest poem, but it taught me quite a bit about how I view my poetry, and even life. It taught me that you can’t force some things. Sometimes, you just have to be patient and trust that they’ll come in due time.

Here’s a link to a definition and breakdown of Sestinas. If you’d want to give it a try, go for it! Trial and error is the best way to learn any skill.

https://www.poetryfoundation.org/learn/glossary-terms/sestina

So Many Poems

It used to blow my mind,
How Emily Dickinson could write
So many times.
It’s just crazy.
I mean,
How do you find the inspiration,
What frame of mind leads you to write,
1800 times?
But then I hit ten.
Then twenty.
Then forty,
Then fifty,
Now sixty
And it was then,
That it hit me.
My poetry
Isn’t about me.
It’s not about what I think.
At least,
Not always.
My poetry,
It’s a feeling.
A faith, in a sense.
It’s something deep within me,
Something beyond
my own understanding,
Even when I can’t think,
I can feel the words
In every part of me,
In the marrow of my bones,
The blood in my veins.
Like the very
God-given breath in my lungs,
My poetry
Is what gives me strength to run.
My poetry is my weapon
To fight the good fight,
It is my endurance and strength
To finish the race set before me.
My poetry,
It’s not about my thoughts,
Or my actions.
It’s the substance of my dreams,
The evidence of glorious things
That are still unseen,
And as long as my heart can beat
I will continue to believe,
And as long as I continue to believe
I will continue to write,
Regardless of time,
Regardless of age,
Regardless of what path life takes,
I will keep writing.
For In my writing,
I have found one certainty.
That I am who I was created to be.
Sooo… Two Months. It’s been a while, and I’m bad at kicking myself in the butt and just DOING things sometimes. But, as I was looking through my poems, this one gave me a thought similar to the last one that I posted: “What are you doing with all these? They’re basically collecting dust.” Once I got over the initial shock of that thought, I realized it was completely right. I’ve been sitting letting poems collect dust, whether in my head or otherwise. I kept thinking about this poem, and it hit me that I need to share them. Regardless of my thoughts, regardless of how “perfect” I want them to be, I need to just do it. We’re all created to do something. God gave each and every one of use a purpose, and he gave us a drive within that purpose. Sometimes we feel it right away, other times we may need effort to cultivate that drive. Either way, it’s then our responsibility to keep that drive going, to feed the fire that is our passion, and live out our God-given purpose. I know I was given a passion for writing poetry, I know I was given a passion for sharing that poetry, and I know there is a feeling of fulfillment when I do both. So why haven’t I been doing it? Why haven’t I been sharing anything? I think it’s a fear of commitment. To commit to something is to put true time and effort into it, and to swear to be consistent. I’ve been afraid to be committed, I’ve been afraid to stay on top of myself. Well now, I’m not afraid anymore. Because in this, I have found one certainty. I am who I was created to be.

Like A Tree

The Son of God planted like a seed
Among a forest full of trees. 
The forest itself dark and decaying, 
It’s soil long since changed, 
Their roots draw in
All that is depraved, 
This forest of trees 
has succumbed to its desires, 
Its basest instincts. 
This once proud forest
Of tall, beautiful trees
Now filled with deep rot. 
Each once proud trunk 
brought to its knees, 
By the filth being drawn
in through its roots. 
The soil that once supplied this forest
With everything it could need, 
Now is the thing that kills this forest, 
Bringing once proud trees 
to their knees. 
And one day a seed is planted. 
Planted, to be nurtured
In the soil 
where other trees are tortured. 
This soil, burdened and poisonous, 
Is suddenly… 
Cleansed. 
Where this seed is planted, 
Where its roots stretch forward, 
Something new takes form. 
In a forest of trees 
brought to their knees, 
This seed starts to grow
Into a tree of its own,
But it’s something much more
Than the evergreen trees
That have lost their green, 
These evergreen trees 
No longer hold to their name, 
These evergreen trees
As they’re brought to their knees, 
Their once green glow
Fades to black and grey, 
These trees are in a fall
But without the changing of leaves, 
This fall brings forth no beauty, 
This is a fall which will never change, 
This is a fall in which none will leave… 
But… That seed. 
That seed has been growing, 
Biding its time. 
As its roots slowly spread, 
Cleansing the soil, 
Drawing the poison 
away from the dead. 
This once small seed
Grows and grows,
It’s roots stretch more and more, 
This once small seed
Now a redwood tree, 
Standing like a king,
Cleansing the forest of its impurity. 
What once was dead, 
Lives again. 
This forest once grey and dead
Has found life once again! 
All of its sickness, 
Its sin,
Its poison, 
Drawn away by this proud King,
This beautiful redwood tree. 
But then… Something changes. 
There’s a price to pay, 
For drawing this poison away.
The redwood fades, 
Withered and grey, 
This beautiful tree,
The proud king,
Standing above everything,
Falls to its knees. 
Brought down willingly
By a sacrifice
That only a king could make. 
But this fall is not its end. 
As it falls, 
Its seeds spread
As these saplings grow, 
Still the king lives. 
Where once stood one tree
Now stand many. 
This forest forever changed, 
No longer will they live on their knees, 
For it is from this king
That the forest draws its strength!
It is through the sacrifice of this King, 
The cutting down of this redwood tree, 
That this forest can grow. 
Grow into something more beautiful, 
Then anything it had ever seen. 
So, A good friend of mine, Kohlie Browning, released an episode of her Podcast “Still With You” today, and on the episode she interviews me about my poetry, and I mention this poem.  The inspiration for this poem came from the song “Seasons” by Hillsong Worship.  The idea behind the song is that even in the dead of winter, there is still the hope of Spring, still the knowledge that the seasons will change; That God is still working.  This song gave me the idea for this poem, the image of a forest that had been poisoned by what is in its soil, until one day a Redwood, a King among the other trees, is planted.  This redwood draws in the poison, gives of itself, so that the rest of the forest may live.  The New Testament constantly speaks of Christ’s sacrifice, and how he gave up his place in Heaven to be planted in a broken, hurting world, that through his work and sacrifice it may be healed.  I can never do the story justice, the story of Christ is one that’s far more beautiful than I can ever understand or explain, but this poem was my attempt to do so, and do so well.

Also, thank you to Kohlie for allowing me to be a guest on her podcast! If you haven’t had a chance to listen, which I recommend you listen to every episode she’s put out, you can find it on Apple podcasts, Spotify, and iHeartRadio.

My Mountains

I’ve always loved the mountains.
They’ve always felt like home to me.
I’ve never felt like a stranger.
They’ve always accepted me.
Comforted me.
But not these.
These mountains of my own creation,
These mole hills, 
grown from my own contemplation,
My overthinking driving them upward,
Piling more and more, 
Growing larger and larger,
These mountains in this range… 
They aren’t comforting,
They’re hostile and strange
and they trap me in with them,
refusing to release me
Until I question everything within me.
These mountains aren’t home to me.
But they’ve become my hiding place.
They’re where I go in my fear,
When I don’t know where to turn.
When I reach the dark places of 
my mind,
And I can’t find a light,
Their dark caves glitter with apprehension.
When I thirst for comfort
and refuse to search for it,
Their slick walls drip with worry.
And each night they grow larger.
These mountains reach high,
Higher than I can see. 
They refuse to release me.
These mountains aren’t home to me.
I climb and climb,
but they scratch me,
they catch,
they cut and claw me.
I slip and fall,
And I’m alone.
Trapped in the mountains I’ve made.
Alone in my beautiful,
Horrible,
Cold,
Lonely mountain range.
These mole hills,
Made so tall and imposing,
Simply by my overthinking.
The conglomerate of all my fear and anxiety.
Are they upset with me?
Did I hurt them?
What she said to me,
Was there something I missed?
Were they always right?
Am I only the worst parts of me?
But the one question that’s always haunted me…
Am I really alone, here in my mountain range?
Am I trapped in here,
With no one else near,
If I cry out,
Will anyone hear?
Will anyone care to hear me?
I’m not sure anymore.
And it scares me.
I need a light.
Something to help me see.
Maybe the walls of these caves,
Glittering so brightly.
I’m so thirsty…
Maybe the walls of these caves,
dripping with worry.
Maybe they sustain me.
Or do they simply bury me,
Beneath the stone and rubble,
Of every fear and worry?

 

So, This is a bit of a dark one. If you’ve known me for any length of time longer than 2 minutes, you know I love the mountains. The Rocky Mountains is one of my favorite places in the world. Move me to the mountains, and I’ll be completely happy. So, why write this poem with this image? I wanted to convey something; Depression and overthinking can take even the things we know bring us comfort, and turn them into something imposing that trap us. If you look at writers, artists, songwriters, performers, whoever it may be, for all the good that you see you’ll also see a long history of depression, addiction, drug abuse, alcoholism, a million other things. My favorite poet, Edgar Allan Poe, was a struggling alcoholic. Jackson Pollock, a famous painter whose paintings now sell for millions, was a struggling alcoholic. Kurt Cobain, Layne Staley, Ernest Hemingway, the list goes on and seems to only be growing longer. There is a definite correlation between a creative mind and depression, and I’m certainly no exception. I’ve struggled with depression and self hatred for a while. Growing up being the outcast kid with a disability in school made loving myself difficult. Hence why I wrote this poem. I wanted to give an image of my own struggle with depression. I wanted to show people the danger of overthinking, of never letting your small problems out and allowing them to grow from mole hills into mountains. I still struggle with this sometimes, it isn’t something that’s completely gone. But I know God is working in me, and one day I will feel no depression, no sadness, no self hatred, only joy. For if I have faith the size of a mustard seed, I will tell this mountain “move from here to there” and it will clear a path for me. And to anyone who reads this and is struggling, I know you’ve heard it a thousand times, but it’s temporary. Reach out to a trusted friend, family member, your significant other, and especially to God, and you will find comfort and peace. It can be scary, and difficult, and you may not always want to do it, but it’s worth it every time. Reach out, speak up, seek help and it will be found. Those mountains around you, they don’t have to be your cage. They can be pillars, platforms for you to tell your story, and give others hope that what they’re feeling is temporary, and that they too will one day know peace.

Parable of the Talents

aYou Wicked, Unfaithful servant. 
How dare you squander
The gift you were given! 
The talents you have
Are a gift of heaven, 
Who gave you authority 
To hide Heaven from them? 
These talents are not a treasure to be hidden, 
But a gift to be given
to those other than you, 
You Wicked, Unfaithful servant
Who gave you authority 
To deny others heaven? 
Who gave you the right to decide, 
Who hears God’s message? 
Who gave you the position 
To make the judgement 
That your gift is a secret to be hidden? 
You Wicked servant, 
You prove true the secrets of the snake, 
When he states
 that you will be like God, 
For you hold Salvation
In your heart and your hand, 
Yet you stay silent in your fear. 
You Unfaithful servant, 
What reason have you to fear? 
Oh you who claim
To have drawn near to a God
Who in three days
Conquered death and grave, 
Oh Unfaithful, misguided servant, 
Why do you focus on the storm, 
Instead of the Son of God
Who has caused your feet, 
To glide over the waters
 so chaotic and deep,
Do you so quickly forget the face, 
Of amazing grace standing
At arms reach from you? 
Oh beloved, confused servant… 
Where is your courage? 
I did not give you a spirit of fear, 
But of triumph and grace
In the midst of your pain, 
Why, oh why, do you deny this gift, 
To those who have yet to know? 
You have heard and known, 
Tasted and seen of gifts such as these, 
Who are you to deny what you’ve seen, 
To those who don’t know? 
Oh misguided servant, 
Beloved son and daughter, 
Hold on to your fear no longer! 
Your yoke has been broken, 
My burden is light, 
Now hear my command
My redeemed servant, 
Go unto all the earth, 
And show them what you know to be right. 
Do not fear, 
Do not hold, 
For this gift that I give, 
It is not silver or gold, 
No, my son and daughter, 
This gift freely given, 
This gift of salvation,
Proven by fire
More valuable 
then simple silver and Gold, 
No, my child… 
This is not your treasure to hoard. 
Every now and then I write a poem that hits me really, really hard.  This is definitely one of those poems.  When I first did a spoken word poem for the Downtown Campus, it had been over a year, maybe two years, since I had “performed”(for lack of a better term) one of my poems.  As I stepped off the stage, I heard the words that the King said to the servant who had hidden his talents, “You wicked, unfaithful servant.”  At first this felt harsh, and it hit hard, but as I thought about it, I realized… Those words rang true.  Just as the servant did, I had hidden what I was given out of fear.  I had taken a talent which was meant to be invested and ultimately returned to the King who gave it to me,and treated it as if it was my treasure to hoard and hide away.  This couldn’t be further from the truth.  Our talents are a gift, meant to be invested in, given time and effort, and when we stand in front of our King, we can stand boldly and say, “Look how I used your gifts.  You gave me this much, now I can give you back your due and even more.”