Several weeks ago, my editor & graphic design artist, HJ McEnroe, created the above image, based on her experience while attending a funeral.  She spoke of a "beloved peace" that came over her.  I catalogued this image in my memory because I had a feeling it might come up again.  Last week, it did.

She asked if I wanted to try penning a new poem to complement the image.  I told her I might, but the truth was that I'd been writing it since the moment I saw it...somewhere in the gray matter of my brain.  See...that's how it works for me.

In 2024, the second and final installment in the "Charlie series" -- The Last Altar Boy -- will be the main focus of my re-writing endeavors...along with a couple new short stories.  But in 2025, I plan to return to Holland, Germany and perhaps Poland, to do the kind of field research necessary for the next book, "Girl in the Blue Room."  But even as I write this, I can assure you that I've been playing with all kinds of scenarios in my head, and yes -- even writing little scenes, cataloging them for later retrieval and commitment to ink...both real and magnetic.

Now, everything I've just described runs counter to the conventional "wisdom" these days, dished out convincingly by many agents and publishing houses, regarding how would-be authors should go about crafting a good story.  You know: write at least 5,000 words each day; outline a plot structure first; define your characters attributes in detail; and let's not forget, write those first ten pages to fit the expectations of whichever agencies you're chasing for representation. 

Don't misunderstand.  For many writers trying to break into the gig of becoming an author, such a list of to-dos has value -- limited value, in my humble opinion, but value nonetheless.  Just one problem where yours truly is concerned:  I don't fit that mould.  Truth is, my brain just doesn't work that way.  Nor does it conform to the whims of an artist that asks for a complementary poem glorifying a particular religious experience.  

Instead, on matters of the mystical, I seek to find what's hidden in plain sight.  In the case of our subject image, I observe the surreal distortions of spatial physics, the "fish-eye" lens that renders a sanctuary tumultuous.  I think about all the souls who've sought re-connection with God across the centuries, through the humble act of kneeling and praying.  And I think about the passage of two millennium since an itinerant Jewish rabbi spoke of love and forgiveness...and especially, the price of that love.  

So...when the moment came to sit down and actually pen what I'd been envisioning, it took about ten minutes.  It's just the way my brain works.

As for the poem, itself, it is built on the driving cadence of iambic pentameter.  However, I've slowed the rhythm slightly, through off-rhyme and offset conjunctions within some quadruplets.

Salvation from our human condition is a messy business...even for the Christ. What can I say?

Peace.  Shalom.

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1 comment

Delightful and certainly plots our fate in the divine hands of Jesus


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