From Prophet To Poet and Back Again

For We Write Poems Poetry Prompt #197: Prophet +1

From Prophet To Poet and Back Again

Fire burns within,
the prophet becomes smoke
rising from glowing embers
choking on desire
to speak.

originally meant
a strong man, or woman, calmed
after great anger
that rises like smoke
blurring vision,
bringing tears.

Prophet, wedded to words,
rides into inner darkness
following smoke signals
color of wedding dress.
Sword of truth in hand,
finds color of blood
and creation’s fire.
Breathes deeply,
becomes a poet.

Elizabeth Crawford  1/25/14

Process Notes: Definitely biographical. Have been intrigued with the story of Joan of Arc since about second grade. When I read Nicole’s post for this prompt (after posting my own) and found that her inspiration was a Leonard Cohen song, I was immediately reminded of this (recording used as epigram) other (and my favorite) Cohen song. Went looking for the recording and video. When I heard the opening notes, I knew I was in trouble. The poem started fighting to get out. I fought back, but obviously lost. The young woman I mentioned in my last prophet poem contacted me a few hours after I had posted that poem. I hadn’t had any contact with her for several months. Her name is Joan.

About 1sojournal

Loves words and language. Dances on paper to her own inner music. Loves to share and keeps several blogs to facilitate that. They can be found here:
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5 Responses to From Prophet To Poet and Back Again

  1. I first read your last prophet poem and am thrilled to hear the woman contacted you after so long. I adore “rides into inner darkness”……”creation’s fire”…….and , especially, “Breathes deeply, becomes a poet.” That you are, my talented friend! Write on! You are on fire with this prophet series.


  2. annell4 says:

    A wonderful piece! And I loved your process notes…we never know where this fire is started, or how it happens, but for sure the poet we become.


  3. Irene says:

    That last stanza is so transformative.


  4. Had to catch my breath after I read your poem and again after I read the process notes! How amazing that your friend contacted you!
    You should always “lose” the battle when your poems are fighting to get out, they are too moving to stay bottled up inside! “wedded to words” – if only we could register somewhere and get gifts of beautiful journals for writing in!


  5. I’ve had a few poems like that fight to get out…sometimes I am scared of what they carry in their bellies, but when I lose the fight, it is for the better.

    I’ve never heard Leonard Cohen’s song “Joan of Arc” but now I’m intrigued – I think you left me a link on my blog and I need to go listen. The woman herself intrigues me — like St. Rose of Lima and other female saints of that era, their calling was much stronger than the status quo they face that demanded that they settle down quietly, marry, produce children, and do nothing else.

    Your words remind me of a line from Barbara Fant’s poem, “Handfuls of Honey”: “They want me to give up on this poetry life, y’all — but I don’t know another way to pray.” If you want to hear one physical embodiment of your last stanza, here it is:



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