Honorable Mention: 2016 Utmost Christian Poetry Contest $100
About this Poet:
Violet Nesdoly uses fiction, nonfiction, meditations, and poetry to do what she is passionate about—bringing the Bible to life. Her debut novel Destiny’s Hands, a Bible fiction, was a finalist in the 2013 Word Awards. She also enjoys reading and reviewing fiction, non-fiction, and poetry. Violet lives with her husband in Langley, B.C. When she’s not writing or reading, you’ll probably find her, camera in hand, enjoying one of the local nature trails. Visit her online at violetnesdoly.com.
About this Poem:
I love using poetry prompts to get inspiration flowing. This poem developed out of a mentor poem and prompt read in poet Diane Lockward's newsletter. The poem example was the lament of old wedding dresses. It reminded me of the many Bibles on the bookshelves of my home. What would they say if they could talk? The last words of the poem come out of a story told by a radio speaker, of an imprisoned Christian man whose prayer for a sign that God was real was answered when, daily, he found discarded pages of a Bible in his job of cleaning the latrines.
The Longsuffering of Old Bibles
They stand upright, next to each other
the leather NIV beside the family King James
the paperback Message beside the patterned Phillips,
in fellowship and righteous support
version rivalries long forgotten.
On dark nights their longings
rise from the bookshelf, hover
a myrrh lament in the air:
How long, O Lord?
Will they forget us forever?
Sometimes the old Scofield
will whisper memories of past mornings
when light from his pages blended
with light from the sun
and he was written in, marked up, and lined.
I even have the stain of tears,
he says one day. The hardly touched Living
finds this hard to believe
but the Illustrated Children’s smiles
recalling her own rips and scribbles.
Who will read them now? Who will find them?
The wine leather birthday Bible, gold-embossed
in its zippered cover with pockets and pen holders?
The weighty red study Bible
at the bottom of a pile somewhere?
The first Bible—where is it,
what closet, what box?
Where is the burgundy New Testament
gifted in Grade 5, the one with the gold jug
on the cover? Languishing on the shelf
of a thrift store perhaps
or giving tattered testimony to the dump?
From closet floor to attic trunk
with eternal patience, faith, and hope they wait:
We have family members in hotel drawers...
Our pages could still be scattered as packing, wrapping...
One of us once even revived, with his leaves,
the cleaner of latrines in a faraway prison.
Copyright ©2016 Violet Nesdoly