In addition, I hope you’ll follow these blogs, which I maintain as often as family, church, and book-writing commitments allow:
Mary Sayler (in lieu of this site)
Poetry Editor & Poetry
Praise Poems (many of which have been compiled in the book PRAISE! and the forthcoming chapbook, WE: the people under God.)
What the Bible Says About Love
May God bless you and your good work in Christ.
Mary Harwell Sayler, (c) 2017
This lovely book by Regina Walton, which Paraclete Press kindly sent me to review, won the first Phyllis Tickle Prize in Poetry and no wonder!
Christian poets, poetry students, and all lovers of poetry won’t want to miss this highly recommended anthology by Paraclete Press.
New ebook of poetry on Kindle!
The poems in Faces in a Crowd reminds us how much alike we are, even in our differences. These glimpses into human nature, spiritual matters, and our relationships with one another come alive in free verse, prose poems, and traditional poetry forms.
Source: Blog – Mary Harwell Sayler
To help our readers hear us well, we can modify our tone of voice to fit the subject and occasion as this #aahcoo shows.
A quick look at a day’s headlines reminds us how fragile life is – and how fragile the earth! As Christian poets and writers, many of us can’t help but think about our loved ones who don’t know the Lord or who have fallen away. Unfortunately, it’s easy to come on so strong that our words have the opposite effect.
One way to overcome this tendency yet say what needs to be said is to find an appropriate metaphor or symbol, then pour our words into a small container such as a minipoem or aahcoo. Maybe a loved one won’t even see our poems, but someone else’s loved ones might.
To recap an earlier conversation: an aahcoo focuses on God or a spiritual matter in a maximum of 3 to 7 syllables written on 3 to 7 lines.
This example uses the traditional haiku form of 5/7/5 syllables to understate a colossal concern. Lord willing, the poem might cause readers to consider their own spiritual condition:
Angels on the pond
their tiny searchlights blinking –
I wonder who’s lost?
by Mary Harwell Sayler, © 2016
When discussing poetry, I usually post on the Poetry Editor & Poetry blog then “share” here, but this time is different. This time I’ll reverse that process to introduce you to a new form of poetry invented this week: the aahcoo.
aah + COO
If that sounds somewhat like “haiku” with missing consonants, fine. I’m happy to make a connection with that ever-popular form of syllabic verse, which has 3 lines of 5/7/5 syllables on each respective line. Also, haiku includes a little “aah” moment worth commemorating, but the quick stroke of its colorful brush concentrates on a season and nature scene. For example:
The sun and wind flash
neon fish upon the pond –
cold swim, bright shining.
Similarly senyru, which I only learned about recently, utilizes the same basic form as haiku but focuses on human nature with a twist of irony or a touch of humor. For example, I wrote the following to lament changes in once-tight skin:
Layers and layers
of crepe paper cover all
parts of her old bod.
What I’ve been looking for, however, is a form devoted exclusively to God and those little epiphanies or “Aah!” moments we sometimes have as we read the Bible, pray, or talk with Christian friends.
In making an auditory connection with haiku, “coo” came to my ear and mind, adding the connotation of a sound made by a dove. Since that sweet bird happens to be a biblical symbol for the Holy Spirit, a coo ideally suggests a poem with inspired lines or spiritual epiphany.
Having never before invented a new form of poetry, I’m unaware of any poetic protocol. All I knew was that poets have asked me about forms of micropoetry exclusively devoted to a Christian perspective, and I didn’t know of any. When I found nothing in an Internet search, I decided to do another search of various combinations of relevant prefixes and suffixes, most of which seemed to be taken except “aahcoo.” Since I liked it best anyway, a new poetry form came into being for us to pray with, play with, and write in love of God.
- Aahcoo is a God-centered epiphany, insight, or praise in a highly flexible syllabic verse form.
- The syllabic count must not be less than 3 syllables per line but no more than 7.
- The syllabic count can vary from line to line.
- The line count can be a minimum of 3 lines, a maximum of 7 lines, or a number in between.
- The poem must mention or suggest God (Father, Son, Holy Spirit.)
- The poem must encourage, inspire, or refresh readers.
Remember, we’re in this together. You’ve never written an aahcoo, and neither have I, so we’re starting at the same point. If you love the idea of our having a unique form, then whenever you post your aahcoo, add a hashtag, so we can find one another under #aahcoo!
Meanwhile, I looked over prior minipoems or micropoetry in my files and saw that a little tweaking brought forth the following 3 examples. The first is a haiku I’d written that wasn’t really haiku since the season could be any time of year, but we can now officially declare it an aahcoo!
Praise God – Producer
of sunsets, draping our home
in pink ribbons.
That praise poem followed a traditional 5/7/5 division of the 3 lines, which haiku, senyru, and aahcoo can do, but with the latter you have other options. In this praise poem, for example, the syllabic count is 4/4/5/4/6.
Praise Christ our Peace
the Great Shalom
in Whom we find our home.
Unlike the first example, my second praise poem includes a slight sound echo and a light reference to the “peace that passes all understanding,” found in Jesus Christ.
Besides the inclusion of a title, my last example of aahcoo’s versatility alludes to another biblical reference, reminding us when Jesus told Peter to “Feed my sheep.” As the Lord’s emissaries, disciples, and poets today, we, too, can encourage one another to tend the people of God – in aahcoos and anything else we write.
I told you so
you could hear
take a turn
a rescue squad.
by Mary Harwell Sayer, © 2016
Consider the dandelions, how they grow
dense and golden in some places
with bright yellow faces almost every
where else, but sparse and delicate here.
It’s weird how….