Jonathan – A Poem Written for Utmost Christian Writers

Hi everyone! I’m so excited to add this section to my website – my published writings!

This first selection is one of my favorites. I went through a season of intense poetry writing and I submitted my poetry to as many places as I could find. Writers are rejected over and over again… just waiting for that letter (or email) or acceptance! I am trying to track down all those places that accepted my work (thank you editors!) so I can share them with you.

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The bio below is still up on the website Utmost Christian Writers.

You’ll notice a few things:

1. I was only married for 3 years at the time (now it’s almost 13).

2. I only have one child (now I have 3).

3. The two year old mentioned turns 11 in a month!

4. We no longer live in Wyoming (we moved back to our home state of Minnesota 4 years ago).

Time. It’s a crazy thing.

I wrote this poem while visiting an art museum with a friend who was taking masters classes in English. She had an interesting assignment: visit an art museum and find a painting to write a poem about. We headed to our favorite gallery at the Minneapolis Institute of Arts. Along one wall in the room there were two paintings that struck me. And the way they were aligned really struck me.

One painting entitled “Jonathan’s Token to David” by Lord Frederic Leighton depicted Jonathan and his arrow boy as he was about to shoot arrows as a signal to his best friend David. Jonathan is looking off to the left of the painting. An incredible painting hung three frames down to the left “Journey of the Magi” by James Tissot made me feel as though Jonathan was given eyes to see 2,000 years into the future when another King, a better King, a king NOT from his own lineage, come to live, serve and die for all mankind. (Images of the paintings are at the bottom of this post.)

So read on to learn about a man more selfless that you could ever imagine, more faithful than any friend that’s ever lived and more honest and raw than any man you’ll read in any piece of fiction or history. And he was a REAL person in a REAL place and time. (And yes, I mean to say that he trumps Mr. Darcy (gasp!), Mr. Rochester (say it ain’t so!), Gabriel Oak (no way!) and Mr. Knightly (say what?) COMBINED.)

Abbey Swanson

About this Christian Poet:
Abbey Swanson resides in Casper, Wyoming with her husband of three years and their two year old son. She dedicated her life to the Lord when she was seven years old. Both reading and writing were an important part of her childhood and that love has grown into a desire to serve the Lord by writing. She earned a degree in Liberal Arts at Crown College in St. Bonifacious, MN where her work first appeared in print in the college’s literary magazine, The Rivulet.

Jonathan (1 Samuel 20)*

Trumpet blasts welcome the New Moon Festival
Sacrifice atones for bloated sin
Full Moon wanes to nothing
Night-sky void of its shining orb
Soul void of guilt

Anger and anxiety swirl in Jonathan’s empty
Stomach amidst feasting royalty
Cascades of kingly-color awkwardly
Pool at his feet
A warrior-prince does not chase Philistines
While draped in cloth

An arrow-boy awaits his prince in a field
Gray and dull before first light
Unaware this morn he will not aim for sport
Who hides behind the stone Ezel?

Hand reaches for an arrow
Eyes narrow, muscles tense
Sinews stretch between wood and flesh
One, two, three tokens
Soar to tell his beloved friend
Beloved king of death

Jonathan’s father
The king’s murderous heart:
As long as the son of Jesse lives
You will never be king.

Truth tells the boy to keep running
Lie says the arrow is near
Side with King-Eternal
Or king of his own flesh

Eyes drawn eastward

Does he see the Magi?
Men clad in brilliant yellow slowly rise
Over sandy dunes

They who hear heaven’s glistening stones
Heed Heaven-Creator’s voice
For a moment His shining guide commands
Camel caravans relentlessly ride
Westward bearing gifts

Baby-King hides inside
Beloved king hides beside
Ezel merely an arrow’s flight away

The warrior-prince sees the Magi
The cosmic battle relents
Anger and anxiety
Washed away by first light

King Eternal’s victory:
“Isn’t the arrow beyond you, boy?
Keep running…”

Copyright ©2010 by Abbey Swanson

*after the paintings, “Jonathan’s Token to David” by Lord Frederic Leighton and “Journey of the Magi” by James Tissot

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