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Stephanie Grammenopoulos

Grand Prize: 2010 Novice Christian Poetry Contest $500

About this Christian Poet:
The first poem I ever wrote was about Jesus. I was eight years old and unaware of who this man was, until I paired my pen to paper for the first time and transcribed the gentle whisperings of God that I heard inside of me. I was absolutely free in the expression of divinity. Since then I have recognized this gift as a means of expressing the love of a Father to those who do and do not know Him. I am currently sharpening my creative sword at York University in Toronto through the Creative Writing and English program. I, in my journey of discovering myself as a writer, continually return to that child-like, trusting, vulnerable self so that I may express Love in its purest form. I follow the greatest storyteller the world has ever known, who entrusts me with the greatest story ever told.

About this Poem:
I drew inspiration for my poem from Hosea 2:15, "There I will give her back her vineyards, And the Valley of Achor as a door of hope." This valley, meaning "Trouble" in Hebrew, was the site where a man named Achan sinned after Israel's warring victory over Jericho. The sin of Achan caused God to remove His blessing over the entire nation of Israel. However, in Hosea, God promises to take Israel from a place of despair to prosperity. In the same way, God wants to turn a life of hopelessness into one of vibrancy. He wants to open a door of hope before you. When God opens a door, no man can shut it and his redemptive flood will surge forth to heal your past shames and renew your life.

From Achor to Hope

She is encrusted with the gold
Of a foreign deity.
Her Baals illude her
With strokes of diluted paint
That ribbon around her callow lips
Denying them of sustenance.

She is dry in Jericho,
Battling the hyraxes
That chew the waste of their bodies
In this Valley, a skeleton land
Where fish stink and die of thirst,
The rivers a wilderness.
The desert malaises her
And husks her to the core,
Revealing a heart with cold blood
Desperate for renewal,
Remnant of the lack in Achor, a deep ravine
That runs like a vein to a displaced destination.

She has no pulse here
Dreamless, with a counterfeit fiancé
That she approaches at a disfigured altar
Wearing a gown of nettles
That sever the skin of her feet
And cling to the cloth from her garter.

She waits for the time when the sky will open
And rain on this desert.
She yearns for the alluring of a man that will uproot her
And split the land she inhabits.
He will grow olive trees,
Places for gazelles to tread,
And waterfalls dispelling from space.
Clusters of roses will rise with saffron
And his cloak will be like white Madonna lilies,
His eyes like deep blue hyacinths.

And He does come,
With animated breaths exhaled from the sky
And teaches her new melodies.
Her skin darkens from the incessant sun
And her warm summer hair grows like a pinch of glory.
A revival arises in her stomach,
Cultivating a deep roar that startles the walls around her
Causing her captivity to pour down like milk on barren soil
To reveal a hidden and open door
Of hope.

Copyright ©2010 by Stephanie Grammenopoulos