Poems: On Self and Sanctification

“Writing is easy. You just open up a vein and bleed”

Kind of…then you look up words in the dictionary or thesaurus and then you erase and edit and go backwards to move forward. In pun form, “To write is human, to edit is divine.” I have been groping for some way to express writing as sanctification. This is the best I can do at this time in my life. Writing is a human process…and when married to the divine becomes something eternal, cathartic, and epiphany inducing. Writing can lead you into yourself and then redirect to a place much farther away. William Blake believed in the power of the poem as vision. In many ways so do I. But vision needs to be shaped to fit reality…or, reality transformed to be shaped into the vision. I believe in the power of writing. So, here are two poems tied to these ideas. I hope their ideas aren’t too far off from my vision of writing as a tool to aid us in sanctification–or for God to use to bring us into the fire of sanctification.


I write upon the skin of life—

By Paul Tomes


I extend myself—and celebrate

The way a pen becomes another

Part of the body when pushed

Into paper’s porous skin.


Rip open the arms to their bone

And smell it’s scent, the smooth graphite,

The marrow, the shavings

Of sawdust whittled down

Into a slender focused finger-tip.


Snap a shining pen in two and

hear the fracturing of a limb—of me,

As ink runs out in warm lines

Spreading my life out—I bleed!


I could wax paper with crayons for the blind,

Void of colors that distract their eyes.

They would feel, in tracing the residue

A brail of truth speaking from the sur-face.


I will rub myself raw, down to the sharp medal

Boundary of the eraser until

All I can do is erase—subtract,

Or point to old words, redundant and repeated.


Everything redundant and repeated,

Said and said again

Until my pen can heal,

To scribble never having to kneel.



            By Paul Tomes


Sanctified by winter’s fire,

Trees transform through alchemy.

Green molting into gold

The sunlit shade that fades away

Like slow shooting stars, floating

Down to earth, settling

As nakedness bears itself again,

Nudging the seasons toward re-birth.


The snake’s soul, torn and bruised

And ground abused,

They shed their exoskeletons.

Writhing and rubbing

Their remnants into the dust,

Upon thorns to peel it back,

The crumply white reminders

Of last life’s slow crawl.


Can I discard old skin?

Or brush my dandruff flakes

To the corners of my den?

Whither into white snow

To shed the dead forgotten scars,

And blossom brilliant golden stars

Scaled down to fit inside

Myself something brightly born?


Why the leaf shedding

Or the body—molting?

If I too can’t scratch

At the surface of me

To find a different form

Or face beneath

Without my grieving grin nakedly worn,

Without hope of sprouting leaves?


Before the molten summer

Chars the limbs brown and orange—red,

Or winters hellish breath

Chills me to a living death,

Does upon me spread the faintest gold

Before winter’s hellish cold

Rubs me naked once again?

To bury me alive—in dying piles of grief?


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