Prayer

All steps, all moves, each spoon lifted to the mouth, every said word, all thought.

You might note that even in a two-line work, Bezner has a clear approach. He uses vivid words like "steps," "moves" and "spoon," which gradually lead to "mouth"—from whence prayer emanates and thought is conveyed. Thus, we realize Bezner's perspective or view about prayer includes every human gesture, however insignificant, as tribute to a higher power.

Says Bezner, "Most of the poems I write serve as a bow of thanks to those things that give me life, and a recognition that we inhabit the same world with many others."

If Bezner's views appeal to you, ask yourself these questions to fathom your own perspective:

• In what ways am I isolated from other human beings in particular and life in general?

• How can I overcome that isolation and connect with others?

• How can I best express reverence and gratitude for the aspects of life that mean most to me?

Once you have the answers, decide on an approach you can use to convey them. The approach is always a variable, but in this case strategies might include settings or situations that somehow overcome isolation and result in awe or thanksgiving.

Martha Whitmore Hickman, a widely published poet and freelance writer, has found that in some poems her perspective is best conveyed through the device of a traditional religious figure, as this dramatic rendering illustrates:

MEDITATION OF MARY, MOTHER OF GOD

I've quite a flair for turning clay,

Among the women I'm known to be a seer,

I've studied field grass and the roots of herbs.

In the village I hear whispers — "There's Mary — she's his mother."

Sometimes I want to scream. "Wait! I'm something else, too!"

Of course when he died I felt guilty —

You wanted something for yourself? Well, he's gone now. Take it.

This is hardly the view of Mary depicted in typical devotional verse. Moreover, to convey her perspective, Hickman uses modern speech and focuses on Mary as a woman and as the holy mother. This approach relies on the reader's familiarity with a figure associated with a Catholic world view —"people rather than abstractions," she says. In addition, in the above poem, Hickman uses vivid images ("field grass" and "roots of herbs") and a common setting ("village").

In the following work, the approach is deceptively simple:

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