Poem-A-Day Challenge: Day 27

April is National Poetry Month so I’m tackling the Writer’s Digest 2019 April PAD Challenge hosted by Robert Lee Brewer.

Today’s prompt: Pick a direction, make that the title of your poem, and then, write your poem. There are so many directions: north, south, up, down, left, right, over, under, etc. But there are also more specific directions like “Across the Way,” “Through the Woods,” and “Beyond the Clearing.” Or give directions like “Clean Your Room,” “Tie Your Shoes,” or “Get Over Here”.

A little background on this one just because I felt it needed an explanation for a couple reasons. First, I was laughing about including this in the PAD Challenge because a few days ago I’d written a poem called “Free Verse” about how I typically don’t like using obvious rhyme or structure in my poems, and then here I am rhyming all over the place! So I felt my double standard at least required some acknowledgment. Second, and kind of related to that, I actually started writing this poem a couple of years ago when I was feeling inspired leading up to Easter. I’d intended it to be a spoken-word poem with a brief sung repeating interlude (hence the italicized “chorus” sections). So the poem can feel a little clunky when read silently. Just imagine you’re a slam poet reading this passionately at an open mic and you’ll get a better sense of the feel of it. :-)

Image based on photo by Samuel Zeller / Unsplash

Image based on photo by Samuel Zeller / Unsplash

FORWARD AND THROUGH

It always happens at this time of year
when what has lain unseen
again becomes so clear.
The grass turns green,
the buds emerge,
the sun appears.
The dormant wakes
and now I begin to see
all that winter has been doing inside me.  

That’s when my affliction
meets Your holy contradiction 

You save me from the shouldn’ts
and You save me from the shoulds.
Grace Your only chorus
when I see the trees and not the woods.
I keep striving,
diving—
most days I settle for surviving.
But You died so I could LIVE:
You made me to be thriving.  

That’s when my affliction
meets Your holy contradiction

People didn’t understand You,
they did not know what to make of You,
standing up for the ostracized,
the marginalized,
the powerless, the overlooked, and the despised.
Drew your calm line in the sand
till one by one stone dropped from hand
as they realized
You’d come to redeem and not to penalize.

That’s when my affliction
meets Your holy contradiction

You—always one for the dichotomy,
Your strength made perfect
in the weakness that inhabits me.
Your power made the lame walk, the blind see.
You say it’s only when we give that we are wealthy.
You say it’s only when we’re bound to You we’re truly free. 
You urge us to meet hate with love
and to be praying for our enemy.  

That’s when my affliction
meets Your holy contradiction

Your love astounds,
knows no bounds.
Even the one lost sheep gets found.
You never give up,
never make mistakes,
never hesitate to shine Your light and guide our way,
ever wanting to teach us,
to reach us,
wanting our lives to shout JESUS.
So I will say yes to You,
be changed and blessed by You,
trust that I find all my rest in You.
I will lay down my life,
count all joy in my strife,
let You take all my wrongs and start making them right.
Let You turn me around,
let You point where to go,
let You order my steps,
let You be the arrow
Who shows me the way
forward and through
so even in the
deep dark of struggle
I see just
the bright light of
You.

That’s when my affliction
meets Your holy contradiction