Posts Tagged ‘My Song of Praise’

Birthday Reflections: A new Song

June 17, 2017

Each day I try to begin with a time prayer, offering thanks to God for awakening me to see the dawning of a brand a new day. Today, June 17, 2017, by the grace of God, marks my 75th birthday. I now understand to a much greater degree the words of the elderly from my youthful days of growing up in the Church, as they expressed their gratitude to God for being “clothed in their right mind, with a reasonable portion of health and strength.” Oh, yes, I am truly grateful for being blessed with “a healthy body and a sound mind.”

As is so often the case, when waxing reflective, I also wax poetic. In many instances I have composed a new poetic piece on my birthday. In fact, even before identifying the poet coming alive inside me, the first poem I intentionally wrote was an occasional piece entitled “Upon Turning Twenty-one.” Today that tradition continues as I would like to share a birthday medley of poems of celebration: Something old, something new, and something laced with a taste of the blues:

A few months ago, a dear friend, spiritual daughter, fellow writer with a passion for the written and spoken word, Johari Parnell Mitchell introduced me to a new poetic form called the “Golden Shovel.” I was intrigued by the phrase “Golden Shovel” which I recognized as part of the subtitle of a celebrated poem by Gwendolyn Brooks: “We Real Cool—The Pool Players. Seven at the Golden Shovel.” Johari shared her excitement with having read a collection of “Golden Shovel” poems by Nikki Grimes, One Last Word. She talks about this fascinating book on her Facebook discussion “The Writing Life.” Her infectious enthusiasm stimulated me with a desire to try out this new form. Before the weekend was over, Johari had given me a copy of the book, and I left with a determination to master this new form which I later found had these stipulations:

The poet is to take a short poem in its entirety or selected lines from a poem by a poet whose work the writer admires. Each word in the line or lines is to serve as the end word in the new poem. The words should be kept in the same order. The topic of the new poem does not have be the same as the poem offering the end words.

In my haste to write in this new form, I selected one of my own pieces, not realizing that it should have been the work of another poet; not that I do not admire my own works, I simply did not think about that. As it turned out, the poem I selected was a Miltonic sonnet composed on my 40th birthday. The “Golden Shovel” I completed used the same end words as end words as well as the same beginning words in the same order, resulting in a kind of “book-end sonnet” of sorts. In any case, I had fun, and I share this work, combining “something old and something new”:

I Sing in My Garden

Oh, sing unto the LORD a new song!
Sing to the LORD, all the earth.
Sing to the LORD, bless his name;
Proclaim the good news from day to day.
Psalm 96:1-2

I sing in my garden and reap the good,
The bounty of living these forty years.
Each note seems to evoke a stream of tears
That fall, not because of some somber mood
But flow from a heart filled with gratitude.
The folk song of the farmer thrills my ears
Each time plowing, planting or harvest nears.
I compose my song, having understood
Lyrics I did not know when I was young,
When life was uncertain, my song unsure.
Now from my green garden I garner truth.
A song of conviction flows from my tongue.
I am seasoned and strengthened to endure,
Knowing the best lines are yet to be sung.

June 17, 1982


I Sing in My Garden a New Song

He has given me a new song to sing,
A hymn of praise to our God.
Many will see what he has done and be amazed.
They will put their trust in the Lord.
Psalm 40:3

Good, so good, O taste and see the Lord is good.
Years, days of praise in the endless flow of years.
Tears, from joy and pain fill my bottle of tears.
Mood indigo rises to a brand new mood.
Gratitude–Bedrock of life is gratitude.
Ears placed near the lips of God, listening ears.
Nears—Look up for the day of redemption nears.
Understood—understand, then be understood.
Young at heart: while I mature, I am still young.
Unsure—once–Now rooted, no longer unsure.
Truth makes me free. I am free in Christ, the Truth.
Tongue—all my days I praise with more than my tongue.
Endure—victory awaits all who will endure.
Sung–soon and very soon a new song will be sung.

June 17, 2017

The final selection in my birthday medley is a blues sonnet inspired by Psalm 1, the first passage of scripture I ever committed to memory back in the day in the mid-fifties as an adolescent. The first Psalm, which I still know by heart, continues to be a source of encouragement and strength:

Talk about a Man
Psalm 1

Talk about a man that show is blessed—I’m the man.

Talk about a man that show is blessed—I’m the man.

At first I couldn’t, but now I see God’s master plan.


To study the Word of Life show is my delight.

To study the Word of Life show is my delight.

I’m all the time thinking about it—day and night.


Planted by the rivers of water, my roots reach deep.

Planted by the rivers of water, my roots reach deep.

By the still waters the Good Shepherd leads his sheep.


In God all His promises are yes and amen.

In God all His promises are yes and amen.

I have been so blessed since I can remember when.


The Word of God soothes my soul like a healing balm.

I’m the man they talking about in that First Psalm.


From the depths of my soul, I offer thanks to God for the blessing of knowing Jesus Christ as my savior and having experienced the love of Christ which surpasses knowledge. All that I write on my birthday or any day for that matter, indeed, all that I do is an attempt to express to God, my Father, just how grateful I am for all He has done for me. Recently I discovered this song which expresses in part my thoughts today, as David Huff offers “My Song of Praise”: