Tag Archives: poem

Spirit poem

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I like to approach ways that I write and pieces that I write from different angles. You don’t always get the best perspective straight on. Sometimes the most interesting things happen after you play with the form. My work-in-progress novel, (Three Prayers) began because I couldn’t let go of this picture book manuscript I’d written about a chimney swift falling down my chimney and into my house. The manuscript wouldn’t sell, but the words and images wouldn’t leave my mind. So I let them flow freely, and now I have a novel (that will hopefully be more publishable)  that includes the evocative image of the chimney swift.

The poem below was used in a more utilitarian manner. While I was putting together the skit book Skitsophrenia as an editor, I needed to fill a gap. I pulled this poem that had been published years earlier and made it into an artsy skit. Here is my poem as published in Moody Monthy, December of 1986.

Eve and Adam

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Time for another poem. This poem was written as part of a project for my “Women in the Bible” class in seminary. It was later published in the magazine, Daughters of Sarah, in the July/August 1991 issue. This page is copied from the book compilation, The Wisdom of Daughters: Two Decades of the Voice of Christian Feminism. Illustrations by Kari Sandhaas.

A Poem for Mothers

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COLD AS THE EMPTY SPACE

Still huggable, and yet the time is near

when hugs will be neatly avoided and

a circle of arms reduced to one hand.

That kiss on the hurt place will be rare–fear

a confession not readily made. Year

turns to year and every sad time they stand

by the measuring wall, they’ve grown. Fast sand

pours through the hourglass like water, clear

as the knowledge that all things must change…cold

as the empty space when it happens. Wild

though the days were, these times seem so hushed, when

there’s no one in the hollow house to hold

except the love-starved cat. Until your child

is old enough enough to act the child again.

-Judith L. Roth

Sonnet

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The first poem I ever sold to a magazine was a sonnet. I was in college when Pet Parade put out a call for poems about pets, and I answered. Below is the poem the editor chose of mine.

Sonnet III

The musty sweet smell of hay is in your

fur, kitty. A hint of where you’ve hidden

your babes. I know strangers are forbidden

to linger near the sun-dappled nest, or

stroke the tiny tender noses before

you allow it, but I’ve watched your children

tussle in the night. Am I forgiven

if I explain that your son has a roar

like a dragonfly, and your daughters grow

more like you every day? Their faces draw

me; I can’t help but climb up to the loft

while you’re away and watch them swaying low

in their walk, or curling up on the straw

to sleep. They are my joy; so clean and soft.

                                                        -Judith L. Roth

“Sonnet III” was scheduled to be in the Sept.-Oct. 1981 issue, but I never received a copy. Instead I received a note that Nancy Jeanne Larson, editor and publisher, died tragically in an automobile accident. The note was sent by her surviving husband. The lost opportunity of being published was of course slight in comparison.