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Wednesday, July 28, 2010

WINDOW TO THE SOUL

Linda Swift is our guest today. She has had over 100 poems published and won numerous awards for her work. She is a lifetime member and former president of the Kentucky State Poetry Society .

She maintains a Poetry Page on her website at http://www.lindaswift.net/  . Her collection of poems, HUMANLY SPEAKING, Conversations With God, will soon be released as a e-book and in print by Willow Moon Publishing. (posted by Celia Yeary)

WINDOW TO THE SOUL
Linda Swift

I'm honored to be included in this HEA Week of Poetry blog And it's fortunate that I am required to submit my comments before reading the Poetry Week's other contributors or I'd probably disqualify myself. For I do not consider myself a poet. I write poems and I think there is a difference. Let me share my definition of the categories of this genre and you'll see why.

Emily Dickinson and Robert Frost are two examples of poets; people who lived for their poetry which has proved timeless.  Some modern day poets will eventually be added to this list. Then there are those who write poems; people who have something to say from the heart that touches other hearts. Next are the verse writers. Think Hallmark greetings here.

My own definition is that poetry is a window to the soul. I write many types of fiction; novels, short stories, articles and plays. I am involved with each piece I create but I am more emotionally invested in each poem I write. Let me give you an example. I once read a 7,000 word "short" story to an audience of two hundred professional authors at an Indiana U. Writers' Conference and didn't have a single tremor. But when I read a simple poem to a writer's group meeting of less than a dozen, I tend to hyperventilate. Why? Because my poems expose my innermost being.

When something touches me deeply, making me either sad or glad, I sometimes "write it out" in a short story. But if the feeling is so deep that it's hard to find words to express it, then I resort to poems. So perhaps my poems are in a sense my therapy.

The Holy Scriptures are filled with
beautiful stories of strong characters
who are role models for all of us. But
what about the weaker characters in
these ancient books? Those who were
least favored, those with obvious flaws.
Let's take a closer look at some of
them—Esau, Tamar, Jonah, Rahab—
and try to understand their actions.
Perhaps there are lessons to be
learned from their mistakes. You may
see some of the Bible's imperfect
people from a different point of view.
Have you ever wondered why Cain's
offering was rejected? Or if Jezebel
was as wicked as she first appeared?
How do you feel about Job's suffering?
Do you agree that Martha's role was
less important than Mary's?
Join the author in these conversations
with God if humanly speaking, you
have a need to know.

HUMANLY SPEAKING, LORD

Humanly speaking, Lord, there are many things
about the Holy Bible that bewilder me.
I don't mean philosophical issues
such as where Adam's sons got their wives
the date of Christ's second coming
an explanation of the Trinity
or whether to include the Apocrypha.
Nor am I concerned with the decency code
though the Old Testament has risque language
by anyone's standards, such as the expression
"All them that pisseth against the wall."

And I'm certain every Board of Education
has long ago banned all other books
that give explicit details of drunken orgies
evil spirits and devil worship
and daughters who seduce their fathers.
My questions deal with simple things,
Lord, but I hope you'll hear me out.

Now, regarding the parables that Jesus taught,
why would a man risk ninety-nine sheep
to look for one he might not find?
And why would those who labored for an hour
be worth as much as those who worked all day?
(I believe in equal work for equal pay)
Was it right for five wise virgins to deny
the foolish ones a share of light?

And who does not sympathize with the servant
having little, afraid to take a chance with it?
(It proves once again those who have, get more)
Was it wrong of the man who would follow Jesus
to want to say goodbye to his family?
(Isn't consideration and commitment Christian?)

And how could the prodigal's brother feel otherwise
when he had labored long and hard
but never had a feast in his honor
much less a ring and shoes and handsome robe?
Then there are all those stories
of disciples, saints, and sinners
whose actions and reactions perplex me so.
I don't mean to be sacrilegious, Lord
but humanly speaking, I have a need to know.

by Linda Swift









24 comments:

Danielle Thorne said...

Love your poetry sample, Linda. I agree, using poetry as a form of short telling therapy is a remarkable type of therapy. Better, it is a way to capture deep, color thoughts that don't always make it into story form or a journal. I am a big fan of your work and I can't wait for the release of this poetry volume.

Danielle Thorne said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Linda Swift said...

Thanks for your thoughtful comments, Danielle. And for your praise. It is definitely a mutual admiration society. I'm so glad you stopped by today.

Linda Acaster said...

It's odd, isn't it, how something that affects us creates a separate reaction. I would never reach for a poem (the occasional pot for throwing, perhaps...) Glad you decided on the poetry!

Hope your book goes well for you.

Lindsay Townsend said...

Linda - I love your article - very interesting. I agree with your thougful, questioning poem, too: many interesting moral dilemmas there.
Thanks for sharing and thanks for being a guest at HEA.

Congratulations on your book of poems. I hope it is a great success.

Linda Swift said...

Hello Linda,
Thanks for stopping by and for your good wishes. Actually, I wrote poems before short stories and fiction. What is that old saying, "Jack of all trades and master of none?" I'll be visiting your blog later today. Linda

Linda Swift said...

Lindsay, how nice of you to stop by. You are the busiest person I know and truly one of the most helpful to authors like me. You must have figured out how to stretch your days.Thank you for your comments. And delimma is the key word here, isn't it? I apprecaite your good wishes.

Caroline Clemmons said...

This was a very interesting post. Like you, I love the stories in the Bible. I've presented programs on Rahab, Ruth, Mary, and others. I'll check your website.

Savanna Kougar said...

Linda, poems definitely reveal the soul in ways other forms of fiction don't. Somehow, writing them reaches recesses not normally delved into that deeply... perhaps, in part, the difference between a fabulous evocative still photo as opposed to a film.

I think poetry is on the rise and will gain new readers and writers simply because it is like you say a 'window to the soul'.

I tell ya, I have so many dilemmas going on, inside, with my spiritual sense of things compared to what is happening now in out world. I really don't understand it, to put it succinctly.

Linda Swift said...

Hello Caroline, and thank you for visiting today. I hope you'll enjoy my web site. I change the poems on my Poetry Page for every season so I hope you'll find poems there of interest as well my fiction book pages. And some back in September for new poems.

Laurean Brooks said...

Linda, I love your poetry, too, and have asked those same questions.

I believe God is a merciful God, and the place where he pays the same wages to worker regardless of the hours they worked, could represent "the gift of salvation." He's saying, "No matter how long you've rejected me, you can still come in the door and received salvation." That is until that door closes like it did for those people Noah tried to convert and the 10 foolish virgins. The oil they need represents the Holy Spirit. They should have asked for a filling "before" the Lord returned.

God is so gracious and loving, desiring that no one perish. But we have to accept His gift of Jesus, because He wants us to do it of our own free will. He will not force salvation on us.

The cut-off day will come. I think that's what the Noah story (of the door slammming shut) and the 10 foolish virgins, is trying to across.

I hope this didn't sound preachy. I was just giving my take on it.

Loved the poetry and the conversation with God.

Rebecca J Vickery said...

Hi Linda,
I enjoyed your post and the poetry is very thought provoking. I hope your book is well received and touches hearts.

Linda Swift said...

Hi Savanna, I like your comparison of the still photo and a film. And yeah, I don't understand the world either and we are so bombarded with everything that is happening all over it that we really can become overwhelmed by it all. Thanks so much for your comments.

Linda Swift said...

Laurean, thank you for coming by and for all of your thoughtful comments. No, you didn't sound preachy at all, you sounded like a sincere true believer. I know there is much to be learned from the parables. I hope you will read more about these conversations when the book is released.

Linda Swift said...

Ah, Rebecca, thank you so much for answering my SOS. I know how busy you are and just getting back into the swing of things now. And thank you for your good wishes. I've been a silent member on the loop of late but I've been overwhelmed with getting two books of poems ready and cutting 20k words from a book at an editor's request. In case you hadn't noticed, I'm very wordy. Thanks again for coming by and for your good wishes.

Sharon Donovan said...

Lovely words, Linda, and ones to live by. I love your definition of poetry. One day you will be a legend to those who know you and your work. Cheers, my friend.
Sharon

Linda Swift said...

Sharon, you humble me with your words. And you knwo what they say about being a "legend in your own mind." Well, I hope I won't be guilty of that. Thank you for coming by and your very high compliment. Linda

Bekki Lynn said...

Very thought provoking, Linda. So many good questions and wonderings.

What a wonderful book to give as a gift. I'm in the Christmas list making stage of my summer and I think my husband would love this.

Thank you so much for joining us this wee.

Linda Swift said...

I'm so glad you stopped, Bekki, and I hope you'll watch for the book release date, which I don't know yet. I'm hoping a lot of people will want to give it to someone they know. This is what I like about print books. They are so much easier to give. And so many of my friends who are not authors just won't read an ebook.
Thanks for your nice comments.

Linda Swift said...

I'd like to thank HEA again for having me here today and a special thanks to Celia Yeary for coordinating my material so well.
And thank you to all who stopped by whether you left a message or just read and remained silent. I'm going to call it a night but I'll check back tomorrow for any late visitors. Goodnight, all.

Margaret Tanner said...

Hi Linda,
Loved your poem, I found it quite profound actually. Years ago I used to write poetry, too. I seem to have lost the art and it is an art, much harder to write poetry than a short story or even a novel.

Regards
Margaret

Kaye said...

I think you and your writing are a gift to the world and I can't wait to see "Humanly Speaking" in print! So happy for your success!!

Linda Swift said...

Hi Margaret, many thanks for stopping by. And I think you must have written beautiful poetry, based on your fiction that I have read. I hope you will get back to that again as well. I appreciate your words of praise.

Linda Swift said...

Kaye, thanks for taking time from your busy schedule to read this blog. And thank you for your sweet words. You know how much I appreciate all the support you give me. It means so much. Love you. Mother