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:
For the Psalmist
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:
Lightning 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.