Selah (A Collaborative Poem)

Music, Selah, they went on, Selah, Selah
With lyrical psalms like Proverbs, Solomon
Had chosen the path he sang of Selah
Too many songs to cherish the solemnity

The following is my first collaborative poem that I wrote with Ismael Mansoor from This Engrained Heart! Ismael’s contributions are in italics and mine are not.

I provided the prompt, and Ismael started the writing. After that, we went back and forth with adding pieces to it until we finished. I think that the final product of this poem is very much a mixture of our two different writing styles, and I’m excited to share it with all of you!


Music, Selah, they went on, Selah, Selah
With lyrical psalms like Proverbs, Solomon
Had chosen the path he sang of Selah
Too many songs to cherish the solemnity

Like him, we sing, “Praise, praise!”
For we have been bequeathed with
the grass, the dirt, the trees,
with the rain that provides life and renewal
to all.
Does not every songbird whistle a tune,
rejoicing for the gift of this land?
So, too, shall we.                                        Selah

Honour thy garden that dwells with thy prayer
Foundation shall water, and recircle of it
Pray, praise to the faith that dwells in ye
Listen to the songbirds and feel the vibrations

Blessèd are those who sit quietly in the moss
and breathe in the scent of the forest.
Blessèd are those who can only take
a moment to witness the verdant splendor
through panes of glass.
And blessèd are those who live in jungles
of concrete and smog.
The pleas for a future
with equitable access to
flora and fauna and fresh air
shall not be ignored or forgotten.               Selah

Selah in the Psalm, oh, they said, who is she
King Solomon, the wise one who was David’s son
Called a name, Selah, oh, they said, who is she
Even the wise Solomon was with the Saviour

Such a word to pronounce such wisdom, but they said who is she
Selah, a musical figure, probably 
Selah, her merry songs that danced Solomon’s weddings
Words to rejoice, oh, Selah, but they said who is she

Alight! Selah is in music. Praise, and rejoice
Sheer the will to smile with songs
Selah, perhaps, personification to melodize
Gentle to the ears and the feelings

Selah of hope and Selah of praise
Selah of wonder and pleading
Lifting up exultation
toward the bounteous heavens
in awe of creation,
all hearts shall proclaim
Selah, her melodious name.

Blessings be upon all the living souls
Oh, blessings be upon those who bless themselves
And who bless others
Selah, in the heavenly place in the soul

Photo by Simon Leonardo from Pexels

I loved this opportunity to collaborate with Ismael on this poem! If you’re interested in creating a collaborative poem with me, reach out through my contact page.

Today’s resource for love and understanding is this video featuring Leah Thomas talking about the relationship between Black Lives Matter and environmental justice. Leah, a black woman who works in intersectional environmentalism, also runs a blog called Green Girl Leah and an Instagram page by the same name.


A Rainbow

Yet, the gorgeous light
still cascades down like a waterfall,
its spectrum of hues bright, intense,

I was taught that a rainbow
was a promise,
a secret message
to tell us
that the Universe
will never again flood our land–
will never again cause us to drown.

Sometimes it feels like that promise
has been broken,
that we are all drowning
in hatred and fear and chaos.
It feels as if the heavens
have not heard our pleas for absolution,
for peace.

Yet, the gorgeous light
still cascades down like a waterfall,
its spectrum of hues bright, intense,
I wonder if we have misinterpreted its meaning.

Maybe the rainbow is a reminder to move forward,
to empathize, to unlearn bad information,
and to fill ourselves with better knowledge.
Maybe the rainbow is a reminder to never do harm
to one another with our words and our actions.
Maybe the rainbow is a reminder
to set our gaze and our focus
on light,
even as it streams
through lingering droplets of rain.

Photo by Raine Nectar on

This poem was inspired by Photo Challenge #319 from MindLoveMisery’s Menagerie.

I found this wonderful article about white privilege and racial microaggressions written by Lori Lakin Hutcherson. Check it out if you want to read about Hutcherson’s experiences and learn more about these issues.

I Want to Write a Love Song

Writing to write

I want to write a love song
but I cannot find the notes,
so I cut all the guitar strings
and trap the lyrics in my throat.

I want to write a speech,
but I cannot find a cause,
so I shut down my computer
and wire shut my jaws.

I want to write a novel,
but I cannot find the plot,
so I crumple up my paper
and leave it all to be forgot.

I want to write a poem,
but I cannot find a message,
so I scribble all these words down
and hope there’s still value in this passage.

Photo by Ylanite Koppens from Pexels

I’ve been working on this poem for about a month. I’ve recently been prioritizing some newer posts because I thought their messages were more pressing. In the time between when this poem was written and now that it is being published, I read this poem by My Lucid Sonder that shares some similarities with mine. If you like my poem’s theme, check out theirs as well!

Also, even though this poem is not themed around social justice issues, it is important that we utilize the momentum that we have right now instead of letting our outrage die down. As such, I am going to be including a link to a cause or a resource related to justice at the end of my posts for the foreseeable future. Today’s is a carrd of ways to support and stay informed about the Black Lives Matter Movement.

Silver Moon Rises, Or And the Rockets’ Red Glare

there is fighting for the freedoms
that the comfortable among us
thought were won a century ago

the sunset shades of red and orange
and the black of the city below
the tumult of the world
in hue
the needless bloodshed
the destruction of morals
the sense of
utter hopelessness

there is fighting for the freedoms
that the comfortable among us
thought were won a century ago
or half a century ago
or a decade ago.
so why is the sky still filled with red,
with anger
with vitriol?
it’s crying out in solidarity
with those
who currently battle for change

the sky says nothing more,
just stares down
at the torn-up town,
brow furrowed,
face red-hot
with rage

a lone, shadowed man stands at his window
as the birds caw and flee
from his rooftop.
through the glass,
he sees the red, the orange,
he sees the faintly tinted violet
peeking through,
and he sees the silver sliver of a moon
rising over it all

Photo by Mind Core

This was written in response to Photo Challenge #318 from MindLoveMisery’s Menagerie.

Also shared on earthweal’s open link weekend.

The Screen

That evening, I press my fingertips
to the screen in front of me

With his focus on a robin
in the bushes
just outside our open window,
my roommate’s cat presses his weight
into the screen.
It pops out of its frame
in the blink of an eye,
sending the cat tumbling onto the mulch
just a foot below.
He is now closer to the bird
he was intently watching
than he ever imagined
he could be.
The robin, surprised by the cat’s presence,
immediately flits away.
The cat does not give chase.
Instead, he sits, stunned,
amazed to be face-to-face
with the nature
he so admires,
until I race outside
to retrieve him.

That evening, I press my fingertips
to the screen in front of me,
the one I am are using
to videochat with you.
I wish that I could fall through it
just like the cat did,
but I can’t.
So texts and phone calls and FaceTime
will have to do
until I can be next to you

Photo by Mugurel Photo from Pexels

This poem was inspired by this week’s Penable Thursday Poetry Competition with the theme of friendship. (It was also inspired by a recent true, momentarily frightening story.) If you would like to enter the contest (and I highly suggest you do), you can find out more here.

Galaxies, Or Regarding Poor Prufrock

Around us we hear the swift-moving cars,
racing to their destinations

Image by FelixMittermeier from Pixabay

When I saw that this week’s Penable poetry competition had the theme of “galaxy,” my first thought was of the poem “The Lovesong of J. Alfred Prufrock” by T. S. Eliot.

Update: I won! Thank you to everyone for your support! Thank you H. R. Phoenix for hosting the contest and thank you Saania for selecting my poem!

The original “Prufrock” begins with the lines “Let us go then, you and I,/When the evening is spread out against the sky/Like a patient etherized upon a table.” If you want to read that entire poem, you can find it here.

My poem isn’t meant to be a response to “The Lovesong of J. Alfred Prufrock.” My poem is simply what I thought about while I reread that poem and reflected on galaxies.

Galaxies, Or Regarding Poor Prufrock

In a lush field upon our backs we lie
with our palms spread out flat against the sky,
like a perfect frame for the gleaming stars.

Around us we hear the swift-moving cars,
racing to their destinations, but ours
is simply here under the summer heat,

For we don’t want to roam the busy streets,
we desire to just wait in peace and meet
constellations, greeting them one by one.

Soon, though, even without illumination from the sun,
our gentle quietude becomes undone,
reminded of life’s chaos by the overwhelming vastness of space.

A disheartening question now we face:
Among the cosmos, what is our place?
It ravages, rages, consumes our brains

until it is the only thought that remains.
Though to the tranquil darkness, it does not pertain,
so we wonder if it needs answered at all.

The beaming starlight once more does call,
and though we may feel stuck and small,
held in by the pointillated dark sheet above,

we notice the heavens surround us with love.
That inquiry flies off like a dove
as we feel safe beneath the galaxies.

We will return to questions of mortality,
morality, reality, and unreality,
but for now, we focus on the view. How pretty!

For this moment,
we ignore memories of the city,
the hustle and bustle, the anxiety,
that simultaneous crowded, lonely curse.

Those thoughts are for another poet’s verse–
We do not dare disturb the universe.