influence: our words and deeds become a living legacy

influence - our words and deeds become a living legacy - butterfly freed @poetryjoy.com

Sometimes it takes a death for us to appreciate the way someone’s life has affected, shaped and  influenced us. While we mourn their passing, we reflect on the bright spark of their soul, their mark on our lives, and all that their cherished, unique set of quirks and characteristics meant to us.

Hearing that Pulitzer prize-winning poet, Mary Oliver, had passed away was a sad moment for me. Her magnificent poetic word wrangling awes me and has inspired my own poetic endeavours. I will be reading her words again with fresh enjoyment and deep reverence.

It is with Mary Oliver in mind that I wrote the five-minute-friday poem below. It is written in her memory but also to honour all writers and poets, who dare to pen their thoughts and bravely share them with others.

Do not lose heart, dear creative/artist/poet/writer friend. May you know your work is not in vain. Traces of you linger on as influence and legacy. Your words, marks and thoughts have a shape and life of their own.

Your audience, readers and reach might be small, but your heart offering will make its home in those it is intended for. God knows just who that is, and how the words you write and the art you create are a powerful weapon for spreading His love, goodness and grace, His hope and encouragement to others.

Influence

A poet wields a pen, not a sword
or a hammer, but her blood pours
out in sweat and tears, wrung
from a deep-seated well within,
from the ache of yearning years.

She might be sharing a personal
insight, a pain expressed, a glimmer
from her arsenal of words,
or a view of the created world,
to open our eyes to its need
to be appreciated, preserved.

Her gift lies in a giving from the heart,
whereby the everyday will begin
to look quite extraordinary
when viewed from her perspective
and via her perceptive lens.

She writes because she must,
because she’s been entrusted
with an unfolding of treasure,
a lifting of the curtain
to reveal the sacred uncertain.

And despite her quiet labour being
publicly shared, she remains
an observer, knowing the work
itself is what fires her heart,
fills her soul and saves her.

The thought of having an influence
on others barely crosses her mind,
because her focus is on the shape,
the sound, the sight of words
moving from head to paper.

Yet the very act of vulnerability itself,
the laying bare seems to open up
her soul, her life as offering,
as gift, as influence and legacy,
and it leaves a deep impression
surviving beyond the ink.
(C) joylenton

influence - writer - poem excerpt (c)joylenton @poetryjoy.com

I’m linking my longer than five minutes poem (because sometimes clock-watching doesn’t suit the flow) with the fabulous writing community at our host Kate Motaung’s place. You can join in here with this week’s prompt of ‘influence’ and read the great posts being shared.  🙂

Missing the Muse

cocktail ~ missing the muse file image PJ

Creativity of any kind is dependent upon a cocktail of inspiration, mystery, application, mastery and perspiration.

We shake the container on a daily basis hoping a refreshing drink will appear without too much effort.

Some days there is scarcely a drop to be found.

On others all flows free and easy and we lap it up quickly before it disappears.

Writing takes sheer grit and determination as much as gift and imagination. Showing up and shipping out is a given.

Though our family responsibilities and other commitments, plus health problems, can cause us to have to draw back for a while. And rest and relaxation are essential too to avoid burnout.

When there is a world of words at our disposal, then it seems a wonder when all is dry and stale inside as they hide and slide away from our grasp.

Though much can stir the creative juices and enhance its processes, there are just as many internal and external factors affecting the outcome.

The poem below was written a few months ago during one of those dry periods. I had tried a few things to help myself get into the mood to write, all to no avail.

Struggle and striving were not going to cut it. This was a day to give in to rest. My weary body and mind needed a break.

And then, as I lay on my bed aimlessly thinking of nothing much at all.. these words began to stir within. I grabbed my pen and paper and wrote them down.

I watched it form, marvelling in amazement as words gathered momentum and dropped onto the page, one by one.

Then heaved a huge sigh of relief before tucking it away in ‘draft’ form to save for a rainy day when it seemed right to release it.

It is no surprise to me that my best source of inspiration is Holy Spirit breathing thoughts into my head, encouraging me to take note of things seen, heard and said.

If I relied completely on my own efforts then I would fall flat on my face ~ Every Single Time.

Limited energy and poor health will only get you so far, even when a strong desire is present. I am so grateful to God for whispering words to inspire creative outpourings when I am flat on my back with an M.E relapse.

And it encourages me to turn all creative endeavours over to God’s will and ways as I pray for daily guidance, help and inspiration to write.

Then, having decided on a piece to use, I pray once more before pressing ‘publish’ that the post will speak to and be a blessing to those who read it.

For if I forget to do that then I’m not just in danger of missing the greatest Muse of all, but of missing the point of being a Christian poet and writer ~ to bring honour and glory to God through the works of my hands.

So here we go again. No perfection here, just one heart sharing with another. Enjoy!

‘One of those days’

Some days the Muse speaks low

in tones we strain to hear,

soft-spoken words that come

and quickly disappear

We know not where they flee

or go, as we stretch our body

in the chair and wriggle toes

We know not why thoughts

fly swift and quick

then scrambled up they get

snuffed out as candle wick

and prove elusive to

pin down, making hearts

sink and faces frown

Returning to our chair we sigh,

with snack, sandwich, drink

and chocolate close by

For brains need fuel

and food to function well

and do their bit ~ and we

need all the help that we can get

Inspiration comes in myriad ways

we console ourselves, and return

our gaze to window watching, TV

viewing, social media screening,

all renewing sudden interest in

life calling loud in all around

when every creative thought lies bound

Best to get some exercise

with fingers lying idle, so we rise

and seek another occupation for a while

to entertain our weary minds, until we find,

relaxed at ease, thoughts surge and flood

the brain ~ quick! ~ get them down

before they stop and shut up shop again

©JoyLenton2013

missing the muse PJ file image pin