Moonlight, Streetlights and Stage Fright

Moonlight spilled across the page and streetlights twinkled below when I penned my first piece, a poem, at nine years old from the lofty perch of my 14th floor bedroom windowsill. The opening line read: “Tis the time when the north wind doth blow.” 

My latest poetic endeavor is a rap song. Yes you read that right. I said I’m writing rap. And no, I’m not sharing it today. And yes, I’m as surprised as you are. 

But, “He is not a tame lion.” 

Jesus calls us to run toward fear which tries to thwart obedience to our call, to honor Him and serve others with the gifts He gives.

So, wide eyed and trembling, I showed up to present a poetry workshop with friend and award-winning poet and writer Patricia Tiffany Morris at the kind invitation of Writers Chat in honor of #PoetryMonth. 

For those who claim they don’t like poetry—this post is for you too! You just may change your mind with this collection featuring several authors.

All songs are poetry set to music: the words to rap, spoken word, and pop music, the Psalms of the Bible, hymns, and more. Many commercials use poetic elements. Poetic devices bring a richness, a vibrancy, when incorporated in speaking, articles, essays, and in books, no matter the topic or genre.

Please enjoy a variety of creations from some of the attendees of the Writers Chat class which they were generous to share, as well as mine and the opportunity to try your hand and some of these easy, fun techniques. 

We hope the examples, explanations and exercises in this post and in the Writers Chat: Come Write With Us: Poetry video presentation will bless writers, educators, and families.

Much of my poetry is my captured prayers—my conversations and time with God. — Praying on paper. Here is one:

Song of My Soul

I don’t want to face the morning
I don’t want to face the day
Until I touch You, Lord
Let me wake to the whisper of 
Your love in my heart
Mesmerized, You draw me in
You are the light
At the dawn of my day
Heaven touching earth
Breath of life
Flood my soul
 
Song of my soul
Give me words to praise You
Jesus, Your praise on my lips
Your Word engraved upon my heart
Give me words to praise You
Give me words to praise You, Lord

— Rachael M. Colby 

(Free verse poetry)

CINQUAIN POETRY — Word count Pattern

  • Line 1 ~ One word: Title
  • Line 2 ~ Two words: Describe title
  • Line 3 ~ Three words: Describe an action
  • Line 4 ~ Four words: Describe a feeling
  • Line 5 ~ One word: Refer to the title with a different word.

Trees

Tall, green

Branching, swaying, reaching,

Sheltering comfort over all

Giants 

Melissa Stroh

Branches

bare, budding

Yawn wide open

Awaken from cold slumber

Bloom

Rachael M. Colby

Ocean

Blue balm 

Crash, draw back

Soothes soul, deep calm

Rest

Rachael M. Colby

Writing
Captured thoughts
Pen scratches Paper
Unable to serve justly
Exposed
Sophia L. Hansen 

[Well done, Sophia! You’ve written a poem which captures the essence, the angst of imposter syndrome. And writers aren’t the only ones who suffer with this.] 

Help with Imposter Syndrome

From the Blue Ridge Mountains Christian Writers Blog:

Shut Up Satan! (Overcoming Writer's Doubt and the Voices in My Head) by Rachael M. Colby

Truth: You, Writer, Are Not a Fraud by Cherrilynn Bisbano

Podcast Episode How to Overcome Imposter Syndrome by Thomas Umstattd, Jr. via The Steve Laube Agency blog and The Christian Publishing Show

Time

Today, tomorrow

Hammering, ordering, fleeting

Relentless constant badgering annoyance

Always

Patricia Tiffany Morris

FREE VERSE POETRY with personification.

Time

Time is calling

She marches on

She waits for no one

Come, redeem me, she says

Time is calling

She waits for no one

Make your mark

Rachael M. Colby

Walk in wisdom toward them that are without, redeeming the time. (Collosians 4:5 KJV)

So teach us to number our days, that we may apply our hearts unto wisdom. (Psalms 90:12)

Behold, now is the accepted time; behold, now is the day of salvation. Today is the day of salvation. (2nd Corinthians 6:2 NKJV)

Rise, Follow
The way is shrouded 
And the road steep,
My footing unsure.
But I'm a seeker and I follow. 
Upward, onward, forge forward. 
Others will follow.
One step. Next step.
Stumble.
Rise. 
Excelsior! 
Onward to the call. 
Victory waits.
Tears, sorrow, joy.
Carry on and know Him. He is faithful.
Breakthrough
Watch the eagle soar

— Rachael M Colby


I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus. (Philippians 3:14 NKJV)

*I created this piece and the one above entitled, Time, during a prior Writers Chat Come Write with Me event where we wrote what came to mind while we listened to dramatic instrumental music. — Give it a try.

CINQUAIN POETRY — Syllable Count Pattern: Pattern of five lines containing 22 syllables.

  • Line One ~ 2 syllables
  • Line Two ~ 4 syllables
  • Line Three ~ 6 syllables
  • Line Four ~ 8 syllables
  • Line Five ~ 2 syllables

Flowers

Blooming petals

Welcome the warm weather

Bees busy gathering pollen

Spring

Ben Cooper 

One breath

She held great hope

Arose suspended time

Sang promise for another day

Sweet gift

Patricia Tiffany Morris 

BLACKOUT POETRY 

Instructions for Blackout Poetry

Last I walked through bare dust,

I contemplated carvings.

Drawing thin sketches,

my pencil wistfully wondering,

retained artistic ability.

Melissa Stroh 

[Words to form Melissa’s blackout poem were culled from the first page of Mary Potter Kenyon’s book, Called to Be Creative]

Capturing the Contents
Testing, 
for the most part, 
your tools before incident,
in theory,
sounds simplistic
once I’ve talked to people.
I’ve attempted to connect,
only to process and then disappear,
to repeat 
over again,
taking the scene—
tools from life.
What tools do we want
to communicate connections
alone?

— Patricia Tiffany Morris 
[Words culled from Windows Forensic Analysis DVD Kit! by Harlan Carvey]

ALLITERATION – A literary technique which uses neighboring words with repeated consonant sounds. 

Calm, cacophony
Solemn supplication
Tearful triumph
Sophia L. Hansen

I love the contrast between Sophia’s choice of the words “calm” and “cacophony”. 

Cacophony: an incongruous or chaotic mixture : a striking combination (Definition of cacophony from Merriam-Webster Webster)

This reminds me of how Jesus offers us His peace amidst chaos, in spite of circumstance:

I am leaving you with a gift—peace of mind and heart. And the peace I give is a gift the world cannot give. So don’t be troubled or afraid.” (John 14:27 NLT)

I have told you all this so that you may have peace in me. Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows. But take heart, because I have overcome the world.” (John 16:33 NLT)

Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus. (Philippians 4:6-7)

I used alliteration throughout my Poem, Ramshackle Soul, which I read in the Writers Chat episode below.

Ramshackle Soul is also featured in the book Creative Writing Journal: Faith Inspired Writing Prompts & Hope-Filled Poetry of which Patricia Tiffany Morris is the mastermind. Make sure to check out her Journalling Scribbles collection of books

Ever heard of a reverse poem? Now, that’s a challenge to write and delightfully intense to hear read. This and so much more included in this Writers Chat episode below!

CLICK BELOW FOR VIDEO: Writers Chat | Come Write with Us: Poetry

Access the Zoom link to attend Writers Chat live Tuesdays at 11 a.m. ET when you join their members only Facebook group HERE or catch the replays on Serious Writers YouTube channel.

I noticed some seem to struggle to differentiate between simile, metaphor, and personification. “Show, don’t tell” is a cardinal writing rule, so here goes:

IMAGERY (with a splash of personification and onomatopoeia): 

Dappled daylight winks along the wooded path.

Sweet pea, goldenrod, painted meadows touched by autumn’s brush race toward the briny beach

Ocean breaks on distant sand bars—boom, boom, boom
— Rachael M. Colby,  Excerpt from Walking Notes, 1st Place 2020 BRMCWC Foundations II Award recipient for poetry. 
                           
                                    ~~~*~~~

He stood stone-faced and unmoved despite her pleas. His chilly reception mimicked the icy streets and bitter biting wind that cut through her tattered clothing. 

PERSONIFICATION:
The stones cry out, the trees bow down and worship The Lord.

SIMILE:
Her words are as smooth as silk, but her heart like stone.

METAPHOR:
He is a stone.

I am a riverbed that cannot contain the rushing water.
He rains on me. He reigns in me.
I overflow.
—  Rachael M. Colby, Excerpt from He is Risen, (1st and 3rd Place  Place 2019 North Carolina Christian Writers Conference Blue Seal Award & 2020 BRMCWC Foundations II Award recipient for poetry.)

I must be diligent to write when inspiration strikes. — I’ve thought that I would remember and write the words later, but sadly, I usually don’t. 

Sometimes I don’t know where the words come from. 

They come on the wind.

Praying on paper. — This is capture versus manufacture. It is soul-speak. This is how I think, perhaps it is the truest me. Poetry often seems to happen when I don’t know how else to express something, it comes from deep within, my heart and blood on the page. Sometimes I don’t realize I’m writing poetry until later. Bits and pieces, a sentence, a verse, sprinkled throughout articles, on scraps of paper and notes on napkins over time. Eventually I see and string them together. 

He speaks to me, “Write this down.”

Writing, poetry in particular it seems, requires some stillness. Perhaps I’d write more, if I practiced the art of stillness more, of becoming a noticer—a listener for the whisper of my Lord.

“Still” is my word of the year. I’m working on it—still in the Creator’s presence, in His creation. But I must be ever careful to pursue the giver over the gift.

I looked for inspiration and found none. Then I sought You, Lord, and I was inspired.

Your turn for some word play! Why not try a couple of these fun exercises with friends and family whether you’re a writer or not!

Feel free to share your comments and creations in the reply section below or share via email in the designated field on my Connect page. 

Honored to contribute my guest post God-fidence to Dr. Katherine-Hutchinson-Hayes’ Dressing in God’s Love blog.

Feed Your Soul & Sharpen Your Skills with these Recommendations:

List of 168 Poetry Forms for Poets by Robert Lee Brewer, Writers Digest magazine

SUBSCRIBE to my Tattoo it on Your Heart Newsletter for notifications of new blog posts and occasional offers and FREEBIES like this: CLICK HERE for Good News in a Sea of Bad News! FREE downloadable Gospel tract .

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© 2022 Rachael M Colby | Tattoo It On your Heart

Author: Rachael M. Colby

Born and raised in Jamaica, award-winning writer Rachael M. Colby resides in Cape Cod, Massachusetts. Wife, mom, beach bum, artist, work in progress, avid Tweeter—#HealthyFaithChat leader, Rachael writes to glorify God, encourage believers, and reach the lost. She connects culture’s questions with Christianity’s answers, inspires faith, and motivates through articles, devotions, poetry, and interviews. She has a heart for racial reconciliation and to uplift those who serve in tough places. Her work has appeared on Southern Ohio Christian Voice, Inkspirations Online, the Blue Ridge Mountains Christian Writers Conference Blog, in the compilation books Creative Writing Journal: Faith Inspired Writing Prompts & Hope-Filled Poetry, The Courage to Write: 62 devotions to Encourage your Writing Journey, and Defining Moments: Memorable and Inspiring Stories from Outstanding Leaders, and the Oak Ridger newspaper. She runs on copious amounts of coffee and chocolate and a whole lot of "Help me, Jesus." Her WIPS include a compilation of her family’s and others’ stories of their work as civil rights activists (adult and children’s books), and a devotional for writers. You can connect with Rachael on her website, TattooItOnYourHeart.com—a place for seekers, followers, and writers, and on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram.

8 thoughts on “Moonlight, Streetlights and Stage Fright”

  1. Perhaps my most favorite of your blog posts to date!!! Love your poetry, Rachael. Love your reminder to seek the Giver over the gift. Love you!!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Thanks again for helping to lead us in that session of Writers Chat. I learned some interesting new styles. I am intrigued with the “reverse poem.” You’ll be the first to know if I meet that challenge!

    Like

  3. Love the idea that “we write in stillness.” If we’re not writing as much as we used to, perhaps we need to consider how still our soul is. You were writing that to me weren’t you young lady? 🙂 Have long enjoyed your poetry ma’am; in fact, some of your work hangs on display in our home. Please keep using the gifts God has given you in His service. This world needs your voice. My world needs your wisdom. God’s blessings ma’am.

    Liked by 1 person

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