These lessons, by one of our most consistent FaithWriters' Challenge Champions, should not be missed. So we're making a permanent home for them here.
My favorite of any poems I've written has a little twist at the end.
Watermelon, peach, banana, cherry,
Pumpkin, lemon, plum, cranberry,
Apples—golden, red, and green,
Canteloupe, muscadine, tangerine.
Our Father’s fairest feast of all
Is trees fruit-frosted in the fall.
For nonfiction--in a devoton based on Romans 8-38-39, this is the conclusion:
When we are following closely to Him and honoring Him with our lives, God loves us.
When we sin and hurt His heart, God loves us.
When we forget to be thankful, God loves us.
When we are not strong enough to call on Him, God loves us.
When we feel abandoned by everyone, God loves us.
Through God’s steadfast love for us, we are more than conquerors. We do not have to be defeated by trouble or hardship or danger or problems of any other kind. We do not live in our own strength, but in the strength of all-powerful God. All praise is due our wonderful God.
A merry heart doeth good like a medicine...
Facebook author page: Verna Cole Mitchell
Verna, even your non-fiction is beautiful poetry.
A friend of the Bridegroom
"And now, dear brothers and sisters, one final thing. Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise." Philippians 4:8 NLT
Verna, those are both marvelous! I love how the meter of the poem changed in those last two lines, giving it an additional twist that matched the change in direction of the words.
As for the devotional, I love your use of repetition, and your lovely, lovely ending. You are truly a gifted writer in many genres!
Sometimes we (or at least I) make the mistake of thinking those pomes we get introduced to at an early age are not worthy of more serious consideration as we mature as readers. Here is an “early introduction” poem that is really great: Robert Frost’s “Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening.” It is from the collection “New Hampshire,” which won him his first Pulitzer. (The complete poem follows).
Whose woods these are I think I know.
His house is in the village though;
He will not see me stopping here
To watch his woods fill up with snow.
My little horse must think it queer
To stop without a farmhouse near
Between the woods and frozen lake
The darkest evening of the year.
He gives his harness bells a shake
To ask if there is some mistake.
The only other sound's the sweep
Of easy wind and downy flake.
The woods are lovely, dark and deep.
But I have promises to keep,
And miles to go before I sleep,
And miles to go before I sleep.
If we can harken back to your lessons on different types of poems, this is an interlocking rubaiyat. A rubai (plural = rubiayat) is a stanza with a rhyme scheme aaba. Rubiayat are interlocking if the next stanza rhymes bbcb and the pattern repeats for all the stanzas. So for example here, the first stanza lines end with know, though, HERE, snow. The second stanza has three lines that end with words that rhyme with “here” (queer, near, and year).
So the last stanza should rhyme ddEd. But Frost ends it ddDd, signaling the end. This shows that poets can use tricks like this in their endings.
There are also lots of other great things about this ending, including its possible social commentary. It’s amazing how much analysis there is out there about this little poem, including ideas that Frost ridiculed during his lifetime. But that is what happens with a poem that is clearly ended, but OPEN ended.
Of course, it contains one of the most famous uses of repeated final lines.
The other thing that strikes me about this poem is that Frost could have gone on and on about nature with no natural ending point in sight. Yet he uses his narrator’s situation as a device to produce a short thought provoking piece.
"When the Round Table is broken every man must follow Galahad or Mordred; middle
things are gone." C.S. Lewis
“The chief purpose of life … is to increase according to our capacity our knowledge of God by all the means we have, and to be moved by it to praise and thanks. To do as we say in the Gloria in Excelsis ... We praise you, we call you holy, we worship you, we proclaim your glory, we thank you for the greatness of your splendor.” J.R.R. Tolkien
Steve, this was the first "real" poem I ever memorized, and I have it memorized still. And everything you said was precisely spot on. Thanks for placing this lovely, lovely masterpiece before us.
Conclusion of nonfiction challenge article. After reading critiques, and taking your lessons, I see the errors of my ways. These final 150 words (some editing made) is my homework.
The week is running out of time and I’m not ready to let go of my granddaughter, Josie, seventeen months old.. Anxieties are rising causing me to nit-pick on the littlest things, as sadness starts to overshadow my extreme happiness. My daughter tells me, “it’s not like we’re dying, so you can stop crying.”
I’m quite the mess to see when saying goodbye. My red swollen eyes, a runny, raw nose, plus tissues galore stuffed into my small hands, cannot hide my heartache. Gone is the effervescent enthusiasm from a week earlier. Reality is painfully kicking in my front teeth. It upsets me to know I won’t get to see Josie anytime in the near future.
After we part ways, I lean into my husband's comforting arms and ask him to think about going to Nebraska for Thanksgiving. This gives me hope especially with the stores already decorating for Halloween.
Mercy, peace, and love be yours in abundance. -Jude 2 NIV
Judy, I like the "showing" of your emotions by your physical symptoms, rather than just labeling your feelings. I think the sentence that starts "It upsets me..." could be trimmed; you've already shown us that, so you don't also need to tell us. And if it were me (because I like to snip, snip, snip), I'd probably end it like this:
After we part ways, I lean into my husband's comforting arms. Maybe, I think, we'll head to Nebraska for Thanksgiving. The bit about the stores decorating for Halloween doesn't really add much to your touching emotional story.
The first paragraph you've provided here, and the closing image of leaning into your husband, are both very, very good.
here's a poem I wrote in 2010. "Don't You Know?"
Mercy, peace, and love be yours in abundance. -Jude 2 NIV
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