The Sun, the Moon, and the Stars

AND she's being published! Not a big time deal, but it's a start!

Last year, I entered a combination poetry/art show. The students who entered wrote a poem, each based on one of the pieces of art that were to be displayed in a small art gallery in southern Maryland. I wrote one based on a painting by artist Greg Mort:

And my poem, inspired by his painting "The Sun, the Moon, and the Stars," is being published in his book!

My poem is as follows:

"The Sun, the Moon, and the Stars"
I never understood him

Every evening
He would abandon life
On this Earth
Turn his mind
To the vain
Celestial diamonds
That are the stars

Sipping espresso
Flavored with sugar
And moonlight
He would trace the paths
Of the constellations
Until the sun
Stole them from the sky

His routine
Was older than the
Sun-faded volumes
That took on the life
Of scripture
To him

Astronomy became
His religion

I had my suspicions
That he did not seek
To find himself
In his pursuit
Of Orion
And Lyra

Rather that
He sought asylum
From his own faithless dreams

This poem is special to me for a number of reasons. The sun, moon, and stars represent a special symbolism to me because of the passages in the Doctrine and Covenants that compare their glory to the Kingdoms of Heaven. I like when my poems to have a religious emphasis because, in all honesty, my ability to write poetry is a gift from my Heavenly Father. If my poetry can inspire someone else to faith, or even just to think about Our Father in Heaven, I feel as if I will have accomplished something truly important.

The other reason I love this poem in particular is because of the lesson I learned about allowing others to edit my work. I went to a Summer Center for Gifted and Talented Youth, and it was a program for the arts. I went to do literary arts, obviously, and it was a residential program at Washington College down in Chestertown. The instructor for the writing program wasn't exactly my ideal of an instructor. Quite the contrary, in fact.

I remember one day in particular that I left the literary house so frustrated, I was on the verge of tears. I had never felt so discouraged, and I almost didn't want to write anymore that week to avoid his brand of "constructive criticism." This poem in particular was almost unrecognizable after he finished with it. He took out so much, I felt as if he stripped a lot of the meaning out of it, and I resented him for it. So for the original draft of this poem to be the first one I've ever published in a book is special to me. It reminds me that I do have talent. I just have to remember that the next time someone tries to tear apart something that I've written that I like, because there's a reason that I like it.

I had a conversation recently with a Quaker friend of mine that I met at the arts camp. She said she envies me for my talent, because there's a difference between talent and skill. And to see my work from that perspective really encourages me to get back to the pen and page where Heavenly Father obviously intends for me to be.

Believe me, Heavenly Father, if it weren't for AP exams, finals, and the SAT's, I'd be there already.

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