Old Writings and Decades Past

Monday of a new week, almost a new month, seemed a good time to roll out something I’ve never really shared before. Back in the day (way back in the day) I used to experiment with poetry. I don’t know anything about forms, or proper meter, but that never stopped me from experimenting. Recently, while digging around in computer files, I came across my poetry folder. Random exercises, these have been languishing on my computer. They’re never going to see the light of day in a book or anywhere else, so I decided to share some of them here. We all have early forms of writing we experiment with, and this was one of mine.

The first piece is about King David of the Old Testament. He is someone I loved reading about and still do. Back in day I penned this short poem to express that fondness:

Stained glass image of King David with harpFor the Psalmist 

Ancient words
penned by an ancient hand,
centuries faded but music still sweet.
From pasture to kingdom
your harp sang praise.
That I might do the same
and dance before the ark
or mourn beloved Absalom,
taken before peace could be sown.

Sweet singer of Israel,
Son of Jesse,
I linger still
in the melody of your song.


That was one of the very few poems I wrote without rhyming verse. I still remember as a kid, when my dad introduced me to a rhyming dictionary and explained how it worked. He knew I loved to write, but poetry was something I’d never tried. My first attempts failed miserably. I was in my twenties when I wrote this:


night sky illuminated with lightning above silhouette of treesLightning dances on a midnight sky,
mushrooming fire and ancient sword,
conjured, unleashed by the Nether Lord.

How we struggle to appease our guilt,
puppets pulled by tattered string,
jesters dancing on a broken gallows,
capering and scraping to the Gallow’s King.

The Weaver of Life threads her loom,
cracking and shuddering beneath destiny’s hand.
We wander down corridors soiled with souls,
never stopping to ponder life’s final command,

In a cathedral of stone, we unleash fragile dragons,
quietly ruing our own masquerade,
forever refining and silently polishing,
gold-plaited images of Self we have made.

Tarnished but chosen, we forge our own demons,
plucked from the bowels of a mute, angry fire,
we are children of circumstance, knighted by time,
torn between failure and noble desire.


Yes, I tended to be a bit strange even then. But all of that strangeness and those old creativity avenues—including my attempts at poetry (more to come)—allowed my writing to venture into the areas it has today. I haven’t written poetry in years, but I still look back on those moments with fondness.

What types of writing did you experiment with when you were younger? Have they shaped your writing today? Did you ever try your hand at poetry? Share your thoughts in the comments below.

62 thoughts on “Old Writings and Decades Past

  1. Your second poem reminds me so much of my own experiments with poetry. I have a couple up on my site but as it’s not my main medium I don’t tend to upload a lot of poetry. And now I’ve gone off writing it altogether. Happier with my prose!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I like your poetry, especially “Crossfire”–and the included picture with it was pretty cool. I remember my poetry teacher telling us that poetry was only limited by your creativity. We learned all the parts of poetry, but I really took to free verse. I think I am still experimenting, so not sure what I did differently when I was younger, besides most things I wrote were short stories. I look forward to seeing more of your poetry. I found some of the stuff I pull out from years ago -is worth working on again!

    Liked by 1 person

    • I can understand your poetry teacher’s comment, D.L. Poetry does have room for writers to roam and explore. I enjoyed my venture into free verse and see why that medium is appealing. It’s definitely one that allows creativity to take flight.

      I think it’s great you’re finding stuff from years ago and that it still calls to you to work on! 🙂


  3. Oh, how interesting.I had no idea you also wrote poetry. I should have known, though, as there is poetry in many of your novels. I like both of your poems here and the second one is for sure a kind of spring for the type of fiction/prose you create. I remember reading once, somewhere, that all novelists should try their hand at writing poetry, too. You and I did it, even if unaware of this piece of advice. I can hardly wait to read more of them!
    You already read several of my rhymed poems – they are my favorites. But I also tried my hand at white verse. The general mood, though, is sadness. It’s like a linking thread. A short one:
    While the night is still young,
    look into my heart and see my dreams,
    even if you don’t understand them.
    Do it without asking why.
    And as the rain begins its magic drum,
    bits of sparkling diamonds
    dissolve in my tears.
    Let’s fly to the end of the Universe
    until we learn to live again !
    I no longer write poems but I reread them from time to time.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hello, dear friend. I’ve missed your lovely comments on my blog.It is so good to see you here!

      I am touched that you can see the poetry in my prose (in my novels). I’ve been told by others that I tend toward lyrical prose. With my move to writing suspense, I’ve had to rein myself in and tighten that tendency.

      Your poetry is beautiful, the poem above a perfect example. I especially love:
      And as the rain begins its magic drum,
      bits of sparkling diamonds
      dissolve in my tears.

      So vivid!

      Liked by 1 person

  4. I just finished reading your latest book, A DESOLATE HOUR, last night. I really enjoyed it, but felt SO sorry for the Mothman! And I can see your love of poetry (and lightning) in the book’s pages. You had some truly poetic descriptions on your pages. Great imagery!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Mae, I think these are just lovely. I’m glad to know you’ll be sharing more soon.

    When I was in junior high and high school, I wrote a lot more poetry than fiction. In college, I had a poetry professor who really loved my work and encouraged me to publish. I actually had two poems published in anthologies, and I’m sure it was because of his support. Then I took a second poetry class, and my new professor hated my work. (Frost was a big influence on me, and I guess the guy didn’t care for nature themes. Or anything else I did.) He made me so miserable, I haven’t really written poetry since. (Unless you count the sonnet in the Medici books.

    You’ve inspired me to think about it again. Of course, I have so much on my to-do list, it will be a while before I have to follow through on that and even consider writing it again, let alone attempt it!


    • A pox on that second poetry professor!

      A teacher should never stifle or discourage a student from writing. It’s a shame he undid all the great support you had from your first professor. I haven’t written poetry in years (decades) but I do think it’s a wonderfully creative form. You do have a lot on your plate but it would be great to see you experiment again. Maybe a daily writing prompt will inspire a poem.

      I only have a handful myself, but a few more will eventually see the light of day on my blog 🙂


  6. Wow! Go, you! Very nice, Mae! 😉👍

    I’ve recently gone back to poetry (credit Colleen Chesebro for that) after what seems like a lifetime away from it. Not brave enough to post it yet, but I’ll get there! You’ve inspired me! 😊

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Those are lovely, Mae. I hope you share some more and write new poems too. I don’t think writers need to be poets, but they’re related and prose authors can learn something about word choice, rhythm and brevity when writing poems. Plus it’s fun. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • I completely agree about it being fun–or at least, I remember poetry being fun. I think I reached my peak for it during my high school years, although I kept it up into my twenties. Who knows—someday I may try my hand at it again.

      BTW, I finished Sunwielder last night and it’s still rambling around in my head. I left you a 5-star review on Amazon and Goodreads. You are a truly gifted writer!

      Liked by 1 person

  8. I think you poems are very nice, Mae. My mother gave me my diary that I kept for the whole of my first year out of school when I was 18 years old. I was delighted to re-read my entries and the beginning pages of a novel I started writing that year. I also used to make up lots of rhyming verse poems in my early teens.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Robbie, I love that you still have that diary and the keepsakes of your writing from those years. It’s fun when we look back on creative writing and consider where our hearts and mind were when exercising a younger muse. For many years I kept what I had written in grade school, but eventually parted with my efforts in my 20s. I still have a few things I did in my teens.

      Liked by 1 person

  9. I like these! Well worth sharing, Mae. I occasionally blurt out what I consider a poem, and for me I guess it’s a way to express something that misses the frame of a prose narrative, or maybe a way to avoid a ‘rant’! Whatever, yours are pleasant to read, and I look forward to more. Happy Mondays!

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Somewhere I have a folder of poems. Not a computer folder, but a manila folder. Back when I was writing poetry, we didn’t have computers in our homes. (I’m showing my age.) But poetry is where I started my writing journey.

    These poems are lovely. I was touched by the part of the first one about Absalom. That was a true tragedy. And the second poem! I loved your word choices. So intense!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Lauralynn, it might be inspiring to dig out that manilla folder and take a look again. I think those old pieces of our writing journey say a lot about where we were at the time and where we are today.

      I’m glad you enjoyed the poems. And I so agree with you about Absalom. David’s life was blessed but it certainly wasn’t without sadness and tragedy too. It’s good he had the Lord to guide him.


  11. Nice post, interesting poems. What a good idea to share them with us. I wonder if you went back to the poems that you think failed, you’d see the germs of something to work with?

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hi, Cath. It’s nice to meet you. Thanks so much for visiting my blog. 🙂

      I do think there are probably nuggets of material I could use buried in there. Maybe not in poetry form but even that would find its way into my writing. These days I’m always writing to a publishing deadline and don’t have the leisure to explore as much as I’d like but it’s definitely worth a thought. Thanks again for commenting!

      Liked by 1 person

  12. Great poems, Mae. I wrote free-form poetry (no rhyming, just rhythm) during my turbulent teen years, mostly about landscape–mountains, trees, eagles, etc. I’ve gone back a few times to read them, but I haven’t had the desire to write poetry since. I wrote short fiction back then as well. I’m sure I’ve got stuff I don’t remember buried in a file on the computer–not even sure I’d be able to open those files these days! I think those experiments in poetry help when writing prose, at least to the point of being able to “hear” the rhythm of the words.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Oh, good point about the rhythm of words, Julie. I definitely listen to the music of prose as I write, maybe some of it comes from those experiments of way back when with poetry. I used to write short fiction too. A few of those stories I’d like to dig out, dust off and submit somewhere. There is one in particular that I think has a lot of potential. I just need to find the time to track down the appropriate market.

      I like the subjects of your poetry 🙂
      My teen years were when I first started experimenting with poems, too. I think it’s a time in the life of writers that naturally calls for that form of creative expression.

      Liked by 1 person

  13. I wrote children stories. A ton of them, not for publication, just for friends’ kids to enjoy. Even though they had nothing to do with crime, I believe everything we write helps to shape us into the writer we are today. As for poetry, I’ve only written short ones that fit on a meme. A while back a bunch of us played a game on Twitter using the Roses are Red poem. I must’ve written about ten of them. Here’s one:
    Roses are wilted;
    violets near death.
    I’m entering your bedroom
    to take your last breath.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Whoa! Seriously creepy verse, Sue. I can see that factoring into one of the spine-tingling novels you create.

      I bet the kids loved the stories you did for them. I do think all of those long-ago efforts paved the path that started our journey with the written word.

      Liked by 1 person

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