Blessing with Each Verse

Poetry has been a blessing to me since I was a child. I can remember my grandma, an English teacher, and my mom sharing books containing poems that taught me about the pictures that verses can paint. One of my favorite memories is when Jack Prelutsky, a children’s poetry author, came to our library, and I was able to get one of his books autographed.

In seventh grade, my teacher gave us an assignment to create a poetry notebook where we used a wide variety of poems. It opened my eyes to the possibilities of poetry and the beauty they contain. I wrote a sestina, an epic poem, some haiku, limericks, a quatrain, a sonnet, and more. We studied Edgar Allen Poe and other noted poets. These things left an imprint on me that helped me to fall in love with writing poetry.

I didn’t write much poetry for a while once I reached high school, instead choosing to focus on other forms of creativity. Marriage and children quickly followed, depleting my time and energy so that all I wanted was sleep for several years. (Other mothers will understand this feeling) However, once I started homeschooling in 2008, the urge to create using words started gnawing at me again.

My faith had been on the back burner until about the same time, and my husband and I decided that we wanted to go back to church. We found a small non-denominational congregation and jumped right in. This brought up questions and feelings that I had never experienced before, and as 2009 began, I wasn’t quite sure what do with them. Knowing my love for writing, my husband suggested that I write a poem to God, expressing my new emotions. I did, called Love Letter, and everything took off from there.

I published my first book in 2011, showcasing both some of my Christian poetry and my testimony about the road my faith had taken up to that point. I continued writing voraciously, sometimes multiple poems a day, praising and worshipping God.

Everything changed the next year though, with a diagnosis of multiple sclerosis and the challenges that have come along with it. I found that my writing changed to a way to cry out to God and try to understand what and why things were happening. It has also helped me to express my anger about the situation. It again was a blessing to have a form of release for all the emotions that were rising up in me.

Poetry has been with me through the ups and downs of life, leading me to learning and revelation. It has given me a beautiful way to use the creativity I was granted and been a gift for me to pass along to others, especially my family. Even before God was a huge part of my life, He was right there in every word I was writing.

About Holli Swank

Holli Swank has been writing for more than twenty years and finds great joy in sharing her deep faith in God through her poems. She is the mother of three children and has been married for almost 18 years. She also loves spending time with her two cats. Holli was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis in mid-2013, giving her a unique perspective for her poetry.