poetry: paving the way to greater creative expression

It’s dead of night. My body is resting but thoughts circle like restless birds. Trying not to leak black ink onto whiteness of pillow, I scribble in a notepad, needing to put pen to paper.

Here’s what emerged in the midnight hours…

“Words have been rather stilled of late. Once they ran so freely I could scarce keep pace with them. Strangely, poetry often flows more freely than prose when I’m extra fatigued. It makes me wonder if we can only focus on one facet at a time: Storytelling, fiction writing, memoir, articles, functional narrative, or poetry in all its various guises.

I cannot always cajole poetry. She’s capricious, wilful and shy. Her alchemy fails when I push too hard, strain for a rhyme or press to combine this word and that into magic potions of my own devising.

When I simply let her alone, ignore my desire to pen the poetic, then she returns. Quietly at first. A line or two to get me started. A word that lingers like honey on the tongue.

Eventually, my poetic Muse (Holy Spirit) yields a few phrases and allows me space to create. Instead of dredging for pearls, I find they flit through my fingers, scatter their largesse.

Instead of sitting with the sludge of frustration and settling into despondency, poetry’s entry turns me into a deft weaver of words, spinner of rhythm and rhyme, and a sweeter expression than before.

She teaches me patience and the power of concentration mixed with creative interpretation. Poetry reaches into my heart to prise apart soul feelings, stir the melting pot of emotions into a semblance of sensibility others can relate to.

In those times when we are together companionably, I am grateful for poetry’s presence. When she departs briefly (or maybe for weeks), then I seek solace in writing of another kind.

Because I need to let loose. I cannot stop simply because poetry has temporarily pulled the plug on me..”

This is one of my occasional forays into describing the writing process, which is all part of my life and faith journey. To read the rest of this post, please follow me over to the ACW (Association of Christian Writers) ‘More than Writers’ blog where I am sharing my words today. Just click here to join me there. Thank you! 

12 thoughts on “poetry: paving the way to greater creative expression”

  1. “Poetry reaches into my heart to prise apart soul feelings, stir the melting pot of emotions into a semblance of sensibility others can relate to.” Joy, you describe this so well. It’s the same for me! Always love reading your posts. I’m heading over to ACW to finish reading it. Many blessings to you, dear poet/sister/friend! xoxo

    1. Gayl, I’m delighted these words resonate with you. It was a lovely surprise to see you over at the ACW site as well! Bless you for your kind, encouraging comments, dear poet/sister/friend. xoxo

  2. Joy, we were talking at our writer’s group about the writing process and I gave a little shout out to poetry.
    This is a great break down for those who don’t consider themselves poets. Thank you.

    1. Jody, I’m so pleased to hear you were giving “a little shout out to poetry”! It’s something that’s accessible to all, far more than most people imagine, and a great exercise for all writers to try. We learn such a lot from penning the poetic! Bless you for letting me know how this post spoke to you, my friend. xo

  3. Beautifully expressed, Joy, as always! Thank you for your words of wisdom!

    When I was younger, I found writing in the still of the night was a wonderful time when the ideas and words thronged to be plucked out of imagination into the light. In these days of chronic illness, I still have those moments of clarity in sleepless hours, but find my body less resilient to do the writing in the night without becoming overtired as a result the next day. I sometimes find daytime writing can so easily get hijacked and shuffled out of focus by spoken words in the world of people. I too find poetry whispers in my ear while prose is still obstinately sulking in the corner! I wonder if the elastic, non-linear bonds that thread a poem to its meaning, are more readily grasped by our minds when we are brainfogged, than the logic and structure of prose?

    Bless you!

    1. Oh how I love the poetic way you describe things, Joyce! This is beautiful: “when the ideas and words thronged to be plucked out of imagination into the light.” It surprises me what arises sometimes from midnight musings, though it’s usually less coherent than this. Mostly I receive an odd line or two, the bare bones of a poem at most. I’m having a ‘You too?’ moment as I read these words: “I too find poetry whispers in my ear while prose is still obstinately sulking in the corner!” And I definitely think you’re on to something wise and profound in your question about the “non-linear bonds that thread a poem to its meaning” being better grasped by a brain-fogged mind than prose might be. Wow, what a gifted writer/communicator you are, my friend! Though you may not be up to commenting here frequently, whenever you do stop by you tend to leave me speechless by your own grasp of the creative or deep understanding of things theological and otherwise. Bless you for being here. I so appreciate your warm, kind and thoughtful presence! xox

  4. You have such a special God-given gift with poetry, Joy. I am grateful you share the words from your Muse with us. It’s beautiful to hear how poetry is such a friendly companion to you as
    “words find a way
    to crawl slow upon the page
    beating the blues, weaving through
    my weariness and pain, until
    they start to sing freely again”
    Perhaps if they didn’t have to weave their way through your weariness and pain, they wouldn’t be as beautiful and encouraging. It’s amazing how God works beauty from the ashes of pain and weariness, isn’t it? God bless you and give you rest in every way! Hugs!

    1. It’s so kind of you to say so, Trudy! I still feel like a beginner slowly learning the art, though I am truly thankful for being able to write poetry in a public place, because for years it was only known to God and me. Maybe one never arrives as such in the arena of creativity? There is always so much more to explore, deeper thoughts to be sought and better means of expression open to us. I’m so pleased the little poem spoken to you! Yes, maybe in the weaving through the warp and weft of life’s struggles a more beautiful image emerges, for as you say: ” God works beauty from the ashes of pain and weariness.” That’s a lovely thought! And I do need rest in every way, so true. Blessed by your visit, as always, lovely friend. xox

  5. Dear Joy, I left a comment over at the ACW site also, but I must add just a bit more here. Thank you for letting God stir your heart to keep writing, even just a little each day, and then sharing those vulnerable thoughts with us. Your words of poetry, and your prose also, rings with the authenticity of someone who has allowed God to look into the hidden corners of her heart. And, I believe that is what makes poetry truly come alive. Then we, the readers, are caught off-guard by those snippets that weave their way into our own hidden corners. I am so thankful that you have allowed God access to your pen, even in the midst of weariness my friend! May God bring you rest in His heart today! xoxo

    1. Dear Bettie, thank you so much for leaving a lovely comment here and over at the ACW site! Oh how well you know me, my friend. I have indeed learnt how to allow God “to look into the hidden corners” of my heart. A great deal of Holy Spirit heart surgery has been necessary before He could begin the healing work within. Years of Christian counselling helped me become more open and transparent about my painful past, and willing to allow God to shine His Light into those hidden corners where unresolved guilt and shame lurked like tangled cobwebs. Poetry tends to come alive when emotions resonate with the reader. They don’t need to have had a similar experience but they do need receptivity to the resonance of words suggestive of those experiences, thus allowing the thoughts to find a home in their own heart. It awes and humbles me just how much my words are touching you, my friend! I appreciate the kind blessing. Rest is certainly needful. May you also find deeper rest and healing in the stillness beneath the shadow of His wings. xoxo

    1. Thanks, June! It’s surprising what thoughts run through our minds in the midnight hours. I’m grateful to have received these words, then written them out in a journal before sharing here. Bless you for stopping by, my friend! xo

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