The Storm

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I posted the poem above on my Musings Instagram page a few days ago. I marveled at how I sweetly captured my family’s intimate moment with a storm, and I was overcome with a flood of memories of stormy nights: the bunch of us (younger siblings) scared by loud claps of thunder piling into my parents bedroom; years later, my making a pallet on the floor in the hallway just outside their bedroom. 

I don’t mind rain, but I still hate stormy days and nights. 

The poem, written when I was 14, was tucked away in one of the folders in which I kept handwritten poem bits and drafts. Most of the poems were written between the ages of 12 and 15.

It’s funny that I knew long before becoming an English professor or even a writing student the importance of revision. I “preach” this to my students all the time—writing is revising is revising is revising. I’m not sure a work is ever in a final (that is, perfect) state. There are probably some New York Times bestselling authors who will pick up their books years later and see some things they wish they could change. 

I think I’ll have some fun with this poem and see where it takes me—not as a revision but as an adult take on the subject. Wait. Kate Chopin already did that! 😀 For a steamy “storm” story, see “The Storm” by Kate Chopin.

lightning by jplenio

Musings from My Younger Self | Three Country Heartbreak Poems

52Frames Week 10 Low Key

“Wilting Sunflower.” My submission for 52Frames Week 10: Low Key

Tonight I’m dropping in to make good on a promise I made last month—to share some of the “country heartbreak” poems of my youth.  I really have no idea what I was exposed to that made me write them. They might be based on songs I listened to, soap operas I watched, or even books I read. I repeat: I.have.no.idea.  By today’s standards, I lived a pretty sheltered life, so even though the subject matter of the poems is not comical, my knowing I had little to no first- (or even second-) hand experience makes these poems pretty funny to me. 

I wrote all three poems the same day, about a month after I turned 15. There was a note at the top of “Guilty” that “all grammatical errors were done on purpose.” 

Guilty! 
Chandra Lynn (Age: 15)

I turned my back
and you’re headed on another road.
Well, I’m glad you’re gone
‘cause I don’t want you no mo’.

Comin’ home late ev’ry night
wit’ whiskey on your breath;
I’m telling you now,
nothin’s happened, not jus’ yet.

‘Cause when I git started,
I’m gonna go rough,
‘cause it’s no-good punks like you
who make a woman’s life tough.

So when you’re found guilty,
don’t act like you’re surprised.
Your pathetic life
is gonna flash before your eyes.

Promises! Promises! Promises!
Chandra Lynn (Age: 15)

You promised you’d come back;
you said you’d be back quick.
You promised we’d get married;
you put me in a fix.

Well, now you are back,
only two years late;
now, you’re married,
and I’m not your mate.

You said you love me,
but how could you?
You’ve hurt my feelings
and double-crossed me too.

Now, here I am,
a heart as cold as ice;
I am so heartbroken
that I cry all night.

You made too many promises,
promises you didn’t keep.
You told me you love me,
but the love you had wasn’t deep.

Our Illegitimate Child
Chandra Lynn (Age: 15)

Life has no meaning now—
You have gone away.
I gaze out my window,
praying you’d come back some day.

Nothing seems to happen;
I guess, that’s how it’s meant to be—
I take two steps forward,
and you turn around and leave me.

Nothing or no one can replace you
or your smile,
only this one reminder—
our illegitimate child.

Yes. I know the poems are problematic and flawed, but as I told an Instagrammer who offered unsolicited tips on improving one of my “youthful poems,” adult me is going to let teenage me be who she was as a writer. If you’re not already following my Musings Instagram, click here to follow: Musings from My Younger Self.

Follow My Musings!

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Please forgive my unplanned three-week absence. My brain held me hostage and wouldn’t let me write posts. That’s a post for another time (maybe); for now, I am dropping in to let you know, I did a thing! 😀

I created an Instagram page just for the “Musings from My Younger Self.” I launched it earlier this month (on my birthday) and have been having a “fabulous” time going through the cringe-worthy writings of my youth. The plan is to post to Instagram as I am curating a collection or two or three!

I am slowly desensitizing myself to the “cringe-factor,” but I am finding that the hardest thing to do is not edit my younger self, to simply let her be. She was insightful, funny, and disciplined in her writing practice–I can learn a lot from younger me! 

I’ll be sure to share with you what I’m calling a few of my “country heartbreak poems” later this month. For now, please check out one of the poems of my youth in The Gumbo Collective, the online literary arts journal of Oakwood University: Purple Rose.

And if you’re on Instagram, be sure to follow my musings. Feel free to comment on the writings of the decades younger Chandra Lynn, even if you find them cringey too: Musings From My Younger Self.

Musings from My Younger Self | What Is a Friend?

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Yesterday I found another two folders packed with poems written by younger me. Apparently, at some point in my “teenagedom,” I put together an extensive collection of writings divided in five parts, complete with introductions. I even used Roman numerals. Whew! I might have been more focused as a teenager than I have ever been in my adult life.

Finding even more writing almost makes me want to extend sharing my musings for another week. No worries. I won’t, but I am sharing a poem from one of the folders this evening. 😉

What Is a Friend?
Chandra Lynn (Age: 13)

A friend is someone you can tell
your innermost thoughts to:
someone you can share your secrets and dreams with;
someone you can turn to for comfort
when things aren’t going as you wish;
someone you can trust;
someone who won’t let you down;
someone who’s there even when [s]he isn’t.
someone you admire and find joy in;
some who can give and take criticism;
someone who’ll understand when you face difficult problems;
someone who shares your tears;
someone to love. 

I was surprised to find this poem written shortly after I turned 13—before life got too complicated. Don’t you just love the innocence of youth? 

Musings from My Younger Self | Crucified

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Today, I am sharing two short poems, both written when I was 16. The common thread is their reference to Christ and the crucifixion. One is written from the perspective of a witness to the crucifixion; the other underscores how we participate in his crucifixion over and over again. 

I Remember
Chandra Lynn
(Age: 16)

I remember His face and His questioning eyes.
I remember the tear stains that streaked His face.
I remember the last words which He uttered.
I remember Him lowering His head to die.

Crucified, My Lord
Chandra Lynn (Age: 16)

The blood that spilled from His side
and from His piercéd hands
was more agonizing
than it was the first time—
I’d crucified Him again.

I don’t remember the context of my writing “Crucified,” but I do recall that “I Remember” was written for a creative writing class my junior year in high school. The assignment was to write a short poem, in which each line began with the words, “I Remember.” 

Be sure to tune in tomorrow. I’ll share one more “musing from my younger self” before moving to another topic in my effort to post every day leading to my blogiversary.

Ciao!

Musings from My Younger Self | Need Release

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This has been one of those weeks, the type where you end Monday and realize you’ve survived only one day and you have another four days to get through before you can get to sweet rest. I am not sure of what was going through my 17-year-old mind when I wrote the poem I’m sharing today, but it certainly captures my mood–if not my exact circumstances–during this week of insanity. 

Need Release
Chandra Lynn (Age: 17) 

I just wish the music would stop,
wish the noise would stop
ringing in my ears.
Wish they’d stop using my heart
as their own personal drum.
Need release—
just can’t get the peace I need.

I am thankful beyond measure for the weekend and rest. I hope you get a bit of peace and quiet this weekend, enough to arm you for the coming week–just in case the crazy circumstances attack!

Musings from My Younger Self | I’m the Boss of Me!

Sunflower PaintAfter “Troubled,” yesterday’s dark poem, I thought you might need a little bit of teenage sass. According to the folk who have to put up with me, I still have a bit too much sass from time to time. 

I’m the Boss
Chandra Lynn (Age: 15)

Just because you aren’t here
doesn’t mean I must be lonely;
I admit that I see others,
but in my heart, you’re my one and only.

I received your letter last week
and I didn’t like the tone of your voice;
it seemed as though you were saying
that I must make a choice.

A choice, you say?
Either you or my friends?
That’s not much of a choice;
any mind can comprehend.

Who do you think you are
to tell me what to do?
I know how to live my life
and I need no help from you.

I don’t mean to sound harsh;
I’m just trying to get my point across.
I need to let you know
that when it comes to me, I’m the boss!

This poem was written long before the concept of the “mic drop,” but this certainly feels like one of those moments. 🙂 And oh! It rhymes. I rarely wrote rhyming poems!

Musings from My Younger Self | Troubled

Altered Rose-1Warning: Today’s poem is not so bright and cheerful, but I’m sharing it because it demonstrates the range of topics of the poetry of my youth.

Troubled
Chandra Lynn (Age: 15)

Troubled,
the man killed himself–
not physically.
He stopped living.
He fell out of love with himself.
He fell out of love with life.
No one understood him.
No one cared.

He lived in seclusion,
a place of total isolation
and that is where he died.

No one knows the world he lives in
or how to bring him back.
Those who know him–
They know not what to do.
All they want to do is see him,
hear him,
touch him,
love him.

This poem is a little scary for me. I had planned to post it some time ago, but put it on hold because it felt so dark. But, now it feels “prophetic.” Even though I wrote it many, many, many moons ago, I have a beloved mentor who is in a similar situation. He abruptly and inexplicably cut himself off from all who know and love him. All attempts to draw him out have failed. Considering the “life of the party” he usually is–both socially and intellectually–it is painful to imagine him in this state. Prayers, please.

Musings from My Younger Self | Composed in My Bedroom

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I wrote several collections of poetry in my younger years. The poem I posted yesterday, “Gentle Rage,” comes from a collection entitled On a Sleepless Night. Today’s poem, “Composed in My Bedroom on a Saturday Night, comes from a collection entitled, Looking for the Strength. Denise, one of my high school besties, did the research and found the information to help me get my collections copyrighted through the Library of Congress. (I’ve always had such wonderful, encouraging friends).

Composed in My Bedroom on a Saturday Night
Chandra Lynn (Age: 18)

The walls of concentration
are my prison tonight.
I cannot hear the muffled sounds of the TV
or my daddy’s snoring from the next room.
I’m deep in thought,
lost in a world of my own.

I like the music played softly
in the background:
the peace of mind
that comes with joy
that comes with knowing and accepting myself.

I cherish the memories that crowd my thoughts,
as laughter and tears flood my soul,
happy to be free.

My world is more intriguing and beneficial
than the world going on around me–
So many just hold on to life
while I reach toward a dream.

I confront the loneliness that I’d know
if I were unhappy about being alone.
Loneliness and aloneness
are two different states of mind.
I delight in being alone,
but loneliness will not arrive
unless I desert myself.


Unlike yesterday’s poem, I remember the details of writing this poem. This was written a few months after I graduated from high school, a few days after my 18th birthday. Most of my friends were in college, but going to college didn’t feel right for me at the time. I couldn’t decide whether I wanted to major in music, English, journalism, or psychology, so I took a gap year (and, because it was still all so overwhelming, another). That’s a story for another time, but with everyone gone or busy, I often spent my Saturday nights at home in my room. I wrote this poem in my bedroom one such evening, enjoying the quiet and the time alone. I was typically content with being alone–as long as I had my books, music, journals, stickers, and pens. I don’t think much has changed. 🙂

Musings from My Younger Self | Silent Battle

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Gentle Rage
Chandra Lynn (Age: 15)

There’s a peaceful war
a silent battle,
a gentle raging
taking place;
involved are my mind
and my heart.
I can do nothing to put it to an end.
If it ends, it ends.
Victory will be the conclusion.
Defeat will be the outcome.


This week on the blog, I will be sharing “musings from my younger self,” poetry (and maybe prose) I wrote during my teen years. Sometimes, I will comment, but if today is an indicator of the week ahead, I’ll probably just share the poem. I wrote the poem above when I was 15. If only my memory would allow me to tap into the context of the poem!