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Discovering Poetry: Part Four
Copyright©2004 by Nathan Harms

This is the conclusion of a correspondence between me and a Christian writer, Vee, who I bumped into at a local library. Vee was on a quest to learn more about poetry, and our email discussion was an adventure into the makings of poetry, and what it means to be a Christian making poetry

February 2003

Dear Nathan

Can you believe it? I've actually written my first poem, "Romantic Rendez-vous!" Please let me know what you think of it.

ROMANTIC RENDEZ-VOUS

Vanilla candles flicker
In anticipation
Fiery wicks ripple
In melting wax
A beckoning dance
Keeping time
To Willie Nelson's
Smokey tunes
Wide-mouthed yellow tulips
Cock their ears
Toward the music
Sweet, blended aromas
Call my name
Come! It's time
To write
Words tumble passionately
Roll across page
In heated outpouring
I am renewed
My soul's well is filled
Come, dip a bucket
Of glistening thoughts
And string them together
Like multi-coloured beads

Vee

Hey Vee :

Wow!! This is a solid start at a poem, and shows that you have a good grasp of the use of metaphor in poetry. My first impression of this work is excellent.

If there was a place I would try to improve this poem it would be at the line "My soul's well is filled" and to the end. It's at this line you seem to stray from the romantic rendez-vous into something not so closely related to romance. The images are still good, but they aren't closely enough connected to the original thought. And the ending fails to bring the reader back to the romance.

But I'd say this is an excellent effort overall. Did you expect to become a poet when you told me 2 months ago that you wanted to learn more about poetry?

Nathan

I never thought I'd be a poet, Nathan. Thank you so much. You have been a big help. 

Your suggestions gave me focus and a framework. You know, I've been writing every morning for 9 weeks. Today I read through all my morning pages. There, on a page, were the comments, "Nathan says that I should write some poetry. Maybe I should try it, but I'm not sure how to begin. Does a person need an idea or a first line or a word?" Right after that was a 12-line poem, which was the rough draft of the one&nbspI&nbspshowed&nbspyou. I can't believe it! I don't&nbspremember writing it at all. Right after the poem I wrote, "That was fun. I will do it again."

Thank you for all of your help. God has used you to nudge me into trying my hand at poetry. I have really enjoyed my reading and the writing that I'm doing. As always, you have been there to help. 

Vee

Hello Vee :

That's an amazing tale about the origin of your poem. Thanks for sharing it.

Poetry is full of mystery…in its process and purpose. Because of its form, especially in free verse, poetry releases us from some of the expectations we might otherwise hold, and I think some of the very original seed of creation—something divine—slips in where we would otherwise stifle it with "method." Maybe that accounts for these serendipitous events surrounding poetry.

Many poets write about their process of writing. It's a common theme, though you've expressed it in your own unique form. I also have many poems about the process of writing poetry. Today, when I think about this, I wonder if God ever thought about writing something to describe his process of creating. But then again, perhaps that's what we call the Scripture.

Have a blessed day, and keep writing.

Nathan

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