Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Poem: In the Confessional

Last night our Mountain Empire Creative Arts Council (MECAC) Writers' Workshop met for our monthly gathering to share our work and encourage/critique each other's writing. Seven writers attending our workshop in the summer is a very respectable number, and I very much enjoyed our ninety minutes of "shop talk."

I shared a sheet of online sites with the group, including writing contests, publication opportunities, the upcoming Writers' Weekend at Sacred Rocks Reserve in Boulevard which will be facilitated by our own MECAC Director Judith Dupree, plus additional opportunities for local workshops, etc. I encourage local and other writers to check out our MECAC Writers' Workshop blog for some helpful information I've gathered for our local writers.

Judith also shared about her week in Santa Fe at the The Glen Image Journal Christian Arts Workshops which sounds absolutely wonderful. She enjoyed the playwriting workshop very much, a change from her usual poetry workshops. If only we all could go!

Then we took turns sharing our work and receiving feedback. Norm read us an essay about questions and answers revolving around the ideas of time and heaven. Betty read us part of a story about rockclimbing in Idyllwild, and Maureen shared some backstory of her Children of Cain novel that held us spellbound. I shared the poem below and appreciated the ideas presented to me which really helped put the finishing touches on it. Teresa read aloud a poem a la Tennyson about the Sirens, and although Judith didn't have time to read the scene from her play Rebekah's Children, she gave us the scene to take home to read, and we'll discuss it next time. It was a very productive, affirming, yet helpful gathering of writers last night.

I've been working on this poem to submit to a Christian journal; the theme of the next issue is "confession," so this is what I've done with it. A few parts are still a little rough, but I wanted to put it up as doing so often helps me to revise a problem line or two, or replace a word with one that works better, etc.

In the Confessional

Fear tastes metallic.
Eyes clenched, lowered,
I whisper the litany of my sins.
My cheeks redden --
a badge of transgression
unseen by all but the confessor.
Kindly he averts his gaze,
granting grace as I gather
breath and composure.
He has heard it all,
I scold myself.
He won't think less of
the bared soul before him --
I hope.

But shame envelops my tongue,
now dry as cotton,
choking words back into
my drought-scorched throat.
I vainly regather shreds of dignity,
desperately trying to cover
my exposed soul.

In this sacred space
my Lover cups my face
between His shattered palms,
gazes heart-deep
into my tear-stained soul,
looses my tongue from warp and weft
of imagined bonds.
My voice restored,
I raise my eyes to
meet the confessor's gaze...
At Last.

copyright 2009 Susanne Barrett
So it was a wonderful meeting, and I thought it was one of the best workshops we've had this year. And the Genealogy Class that preceded the Writers' Workshop was also helpful as I finally filled in all of my great-great-grandparents in my pedigree chart with some helpful information on Google genealogy searches. So the evening was an extremely productive few hours of genealogy and writing in the Community Room of our little local library.


Anne said...

Susanne, I love this! Love it! If you don't mind, I'm going to have to print it out and take it with me to read while in the confession line. It says everything so perfectly! What would you think if I put it on my sidebar for all my visitors to read? It really is wonderful!

Elizabeth said...

Thank you for sharing this lovely poem. You captured quite precisely what I feel in Confession.

Thank you.
Elizabeth Esther


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