The Reunion

The day I lay me down to sleep, Never again to wake, I hope to see no loved ones weep With heavy hearts that break,

For I will dwell in heaven's land And sit with God above, A willing servant at His hand, Commanding all His love.

Now there's nothing wrong with the idea behind the poem. The speaker wants to comfort loved ones so they do not grieve but celebrate faith in the afterlife. However, the work has serious flaws. For one, the speaker seems to lack vision —what heaven might look like, for example, or how a soul might feel in eternity. Moreover, there is no real setting other than the usual implied symbolic chairs in which the speaker and deity sit. In other words, the approach is ordinary. Consequently, the poem is expository — it tells rather than shows, emphasizing a noble idea, perhaps, but one that has been expressed already by millions of people. In other words, the perspective is ordinary.

Extranatural poetry stands little chance of interesting many readers with ordinary approaches and perspectives.

Typically when editors reject such poetry, the writer feels the rejection more deeply because of personal belief. But the problem transcends that. Editors would be doing a disservice to readers by lowering standards and accepting a poem simply because it uses the word God or Jesus or a similar counterpart.

That is not to say that traditional religious figures or extranatural settings should be avoided. Just the opposite. Such figures or settings appeal to millions around the world; thus, if you use them in new or imaginative ways, you will appeal to a vast audience. That's why approach and perspective are so important and why you should take time to contemplate how you will articulate faith or depict fantastic situations. Let's look at the approaches and perspectives of other poets to help you formulate your own.

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