A Mourning Lament Outline

So you want to write a lament poem to mourn someone you loved? You can just follow your heart, but if you don’t know where to start…then start with this outline derived from David’s lament for Saul and Jonathon (2 Samuel 1:19-27).

I. Introduce your loved one as a symbol using two lines. Here is the example from 2 Samuel 1:19. (The gazelle symbolizes an important figure.) 
    “A gazelle lies slain on your heights, Israel.
    How the mighty have fallen!”

II. Use four lines to explain how his or her death will affect the world. In the case of Saul and Jonathon, their death would cause their enemies to rejoice. See 2 Samuel 1:20 below.
“Tell it not in Gath,
    proclaim it not in the streets of Ashkelon,
lest the daughters of the Philistines be glad,
    lest the daughters of the uncircumcised rejoice.

III. Use four lines to give details of the death. In 2 Samuel 1:21, David curses the place that the death occurred.
“Mountains of Gilboa,
    may you have neither dew nor rain,
    may no showers fall on your terraced fields.
For there the shield of the mighty was despised,
    the shield of Saul—no longer rubbed with oil.

IV. Use eight lines to describe your loved one’s character. David describes their fierceness, skill, and bravery in battle (2 Samuel 1:22-23).
“From the blood of the slain,
    from the flesh of the mighty,
the bow of Jonathan did not turn back,
    the sword of Saul did not return unsatisfied.
Saul and Jonathan—
    in life they were loved and admired,
    and in death they were not parted.
They were swifter than eagles,
    they were stronger than lions.

V. Use four lines to describe the good he or she did in their lifetime. David recalls the riches that Israel enjoyed while Saul was king (2 Samuel 1:24).
“Daughters of Israel,
    weep for Saul,
who clothed you in scarlet and finery,
    who adorned your garments with ornaments of gold.

VI. Use four lines to describe how you loved the person. David and Jonathon were close friends, and this becomes evident as we read 2 Samuel 1:25-26.
“How the mighty have fallen in battle!
    Jonathan lies slain on your heights.
26 I grieve for you, Jonathan my brother;
    you were very dear to me.
Your love for me was wonderful,
    more wonderful than that of women.

V. Using the last two lines, repeat one of the lines in the first stanza. For the first line of his last stanza, David repeats the 2nd line of the first stanza. Then he adds another short line to close out this last stanza (2 Samuel 1:27).
“How the mighty have fallen!
    The weapons of war have perished!”

This versatile outline can be used to write laments for any event that caused you to feel abandoned such as a breakup or divorce. There is no better place to get inspired than God’s own Word. If you wrote a masterpiece and would like to have a chance at getting it published, see Draw Near’s guidelines.

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Psalm 42 as a Lament

Writers, here is some inspiration for the upcoming publication. Let’s consider Psalm 42 as a lament. In the first verse, note the author’s utter desperation.

As the deer pants for streams of water,
so my soul pants for you, my God.
My soul thirsts for God, for the living God.
When can I go and meet with God?
My tears have been my food day and night,
while people say to me all day long,
“Where is your God?”
These things I remember
as I pour out my soul:
how I used to go to the house of God
under the protection of the Mighty One d
with shouts of joy and praise
among the festive throng.

Here is his encouraging self-talk as he reminds himself to trust in God.

Why, my soul, are you downcast?
Why so disturbed within me?
Put your hope in God,
for I will yet praise him,
my Savior and my God.

My soul is downcast within me;
therefore I will remember you
from the land of the Jordan,
the heights of Hermon—from Mount Mizar.
Deep calls to deep
in the roar of your waterfalls;
all your waves and breakers
have swept over me.

By day the Lord directs his love,
at night his song is with me—
a prayer to the God of my life.

Then the author pours out his problems and honest emotions because God can handle it (and He already knows our heart anyway).

I say to God my Rock,
“Why have you forgotten me?
Why must I go about mourning,
oppressed by the enemy?”
My bones suffer mortal agony
as my foes taunt me,
saying to me all day long,
“Where is your God?”

Why, my soul, are you downcast?
Why so disturbed within me?
Put your hope in God,
for I will yet praise him,
my Savior and my God.

How desperate are you for deliverance from your situation? Will you trust Jesus to take you out of it? Be completely honest about your problems and emotions. Write several laments as poems. Then write them as essays. Then write them as prayers. Write letters to those who have sinned against you. Then submit your most powerful piece of writing to Draw Near. Make sure it follows all of the guidelines for Draw Near’s next publication. (Please participate in this writing exercise even if you never plan to submit. This cathartic artistic expression of your negative emotions can be healing.)

Call for Submissions (Themed)

Draw Near is currently accepting nonfiction submissions for a new free ebook. This publication will consist of themed short writings and poetry. Writings can consist of poems, prayers, essays, letters, or other forms under 1,000 words. Please keep in mind that Draw Near is a Christian publisher. Do not submit inappropriate writing. Everyone is welcome to submit. Only quality writings that relate to the theme will be accepted.

THEME: Laments A lament is an expression of sorrow or regret. Lament your broken heart, broken dreams, prodigal children, habitual sins, injustice in the world, abuse, death of a loved one, or whatever else you deeply feel. Please include one verse of Biblical lament that corresponds to your writing in the New International Version format. (Biblical laments can be found in Job, Psalms, Lamentations, Habakkuk, Micah, Malachi, and more.) The purpose of this publication is threefold. 1) Encourage readers to freely open their hearts to God. 2) Inform readers they are not alone in their grief. 3) Express negative emotions in a healthy way. Please end your writing on a hopeful note that God will (or has) brought you out of this dark period of your life. (Many thanks to Molly woundresser for sharing her inspiration for the theme.)

Carefully read the following guidelines before submitting.

  1. Email your essay, poem, or other writing to songofsolomon8@outlook.com. Submit in the body of the email or as an attachment (.doc, .docx, .pdf). Avoid using special fonts and formats (such as centering, italics, etc). Include the title and “by” line in the email. (A pen name is okay.)
  2. You may include a short biography (optional). If your work is selected, Draw Near will share your bio in a blog. The bio must be in third person and consist of no more than three sentences. One link to your personal website or social media is acceptable. (The name that appears in your “by” line should be identical to the name in your bio.)
  3. New or old writings will be accepted. Draw Near will accept work that you have published on the internet (on your website or a public forum). However, we are not interested in manuscripts that have already been accepted for publication by other publishers. Simultaneous submissions are accepted. Please notify us immediately if your writing is accepted elsewhere.
  4. You are welcome to submit multiple writings; however, it is unlikely that more than one writing will be selected.
  5. The deadline is December 15, 2019.
  6. Unfortunately, you will not be paid for your submission. Please submit only if you wish to glorify God and help others draw near to Christ. All submissions will be considered and acknowledged. However, Draw Near will only accept quality writing that adheres to these guidelines for publication.
  7. PLEASE READ THIS IMPORTANT INFORMATION ABOUT RIGHTS!!! By submitting a creative work:
  • you certify you are the author of the creative work.
  • you agree to give the publisher rights to publish your creative work in a single publication.
  • you authorize the publisher to make this publication available in print and electronic formats.
  • you agree to allow the publisher to post this publication on this website and other websites designed for hosting print and electronic formats.
  • you retain the copyright to your work.
  • you will be credited for your creative work (either as your real or pen name).

Still interested? Send in your writing to songofsolomon8@outlook.com today!

New Release! Childhood Remembrances (Free Ebook)

Childhood Remembrances CoverNEW RELEASE! Childhood Remembrances is an anthology of brief memoirs. Experience someone’s best day, worst day, or somewhere in-between and gain wisdom from the lessons they learned. Authors include Ben Fine, Deborah Hansen, J. Ross Archer, Judy K. Haught, Leslie Anne Wood, M. Liebchen, Rebecca D. Bruner, Sandra L. Hickman, Sandy Loam, Saranya Sridharan, Sumeet Manohare, and Wanda J. Burnside.

Click this link Childhood Remembrances to read this free ebook online right now or download it to read later. Learn more about the authors who contributed their work to this publication by clicking right HERE. Childhood Remembrances is coming soon in print.

Meet the Author

Childhood Remembrances CoverI am pleased to introduce the contributing authors from Draw Near’s upcoming free ebook entitled Childhood Remembrances. In it, each talented author listed below has shared a meaningful lesson from his or her youth for the glory of God and your reading pleasure.

Ben Fine is a mathematician and professor at Fairfield University in Connecticut in the United States. He is a graduate of the MFA program at Fairfield University and is the author of thirteen books (eleven in mathematics, one on chess, one a political thriller) as well over 130 research articles, twelve short stories and a novella about Pirates. His story August 18, 1969 published in the Green Silk Journal was nominated for a Pushcart prize. His latest novel Out of Granada was released in July. His author website is https://benfineauthor.com.

Deborah Hansen has been published in The Teacher Magazine, Florida Times-Union, First Coast Parent Magazine and most recently, Breathe Free Press, Runcible Spoon, and Burning House Press. She is the author of Character in Everything, a curriculum for school-aged children, and the author of two books: Broken Strings: Wisdom for Divorced and Separated Families and Nothing to Complain About: My 125-Day Journey to Become Complaint Free. Her third book, in progress, is a collection of her Haiku.

J. Ross Archer is a retired Colonel from the US Army where he served 23 years. He is an active Rotarian and a Gideon. He and his wife reside in Thomasville, Georgia and share five children, six grandchildren, and four great-grandchildren.

Judy K. Haught, Christian 48 years. She began with short stories, and poetry. She discovered her writings were always ending with Christ as Victorious, showing Him as the “Great I Am.”

Leslie Anne Wood is a Christian motivational speaker and writer from the west Michigan area. Her ministry, Transforming Faith, helps non-believers to develop a personal relationship with Christ as their Savior and encourages believers to deepen their spiritual walk with the Lord. Learn more about her at www.TransformingFaithMinistries.com.

M. Liebchen grew up with dogs and cats, chickens and cows, and knows how they can impact our lives. She remembers her affection for them and theirs in return. Now she writes middle-grade novels that feature challenged characters and unusual animals, and short essays with a Christian slant.

Molly ~ wound dresser These are desperate days and people are losing hope in record numbers. “People need the LORD” just like the old Steve Green song said. My desire is to bring the gifts God has given me, of encouragement and teaching, to a world dying for hope and searching for the healing, I believe, only Jesus Christ can bring to the wounded heart.

Rebecca D. Bruner is an inspirational speaker and the author of six books. The longing of her heart is to see people fall deeply in love with Jesus. Connect with her online at www.rebeccabrunerauthor.com.

Sandra Hickman is an Australian writer, poet and songwriter. A contributing author to five Christian publications, and The Lamp Newsletter located in Michigan USA. An Intercessory Prayer and Ministry Leader, Evangelist, Missionary and Bible School graduate, residing in Western Australia.

Sandy Loam is the pen name of a wife and mother from Los Baños and Bay, Laguna, Philippines. A researcher at heart, she occasionally writes as the Lord leads. She also loves to sing and play some instruments, making melody in her heart, as well as gardening and sketching for the Lord.

Saranya Sridharan is an Indian Software Engineer by profession and a passionate author by choice. She has been blogging for around 6 years and has recently published a book titled Poetic Medley. She believes in motivating other people, inspiring them to be positive in their life. Her personal blog can be found here https://ani1dotme.wordpress.com/.

Sumeet Manohare writes a self-improvement blog with some photography and music. Visit the “Accidental Blogger” at www.writingmyheartout25.wordpress.com.

Wanda J. Burnside is an author, poet, teacher and publisher/founder of The Lamp Newsletter. She is the founder and president of Write the Vision Ministries and Media Productions, Int’l. She has been married to Simmie Lee Burnside, Jr. since 1972. They reside in Detroit, MI.

Be sure to follow this blog to be notified of Draw Near’s future calls for submissions and new releases.

Call for Submissions

Draw Near is currently accepting submissions for a new free ebook. This publication will consist of personal essays. All essay submissions should be under 1,000 words. The theme is childhood. The essay should capture a single day or event that happened during your childhood. The situation or event could be good or bad, but please close your essay with a positive message on how it helped you in life. Some possible themes for your essay could be living in the country/city, growing up with two parents or only one parent, being raised in a Christian/non-Christian household, living in a rich/poor family, being popular/unpopular in school, etc. Simply give the reader an idea of what it was like to be you as a child and a sliver of wisdom from your experience. Need help? Do not hesitate to request free assistance from Draw Near’s editor.

Carefully read the following guidelines before submitting.

  1. Email your personal essay to songofsolomon8@outlook.com. Submit in the body of the email or as an attachment (.doc, .docx, .pdf). Avoid using special fonts and formats (such as centering, italics, etc). Include the title and “by” line in the email. (A pen name is okay.)
  2. You may include a short biography (optional). If your work is selected, Draw Near will share your bio in a blog. The bio must be in third person and consist of no more than three sentences. One link to your personal website or social media is acceptable.
  3. Draw Near will accept work that you have published on the internet (on your website or a public forum). However, we are not interested in manuscripts that have already been accepted for publication by other publishers. Simultaneous submissions are accepted. Please notify us immediately if your writing is accepted elsewhere.
  4. Submit only one personal essay. Submissions with indecent words or subjects will be rejected without consideration.
  5. The deadline is when full. Please submit as soon as possible.
  6. Unfortunately, you will not be paid for your submission. Please submit only if you wish to glorify God and help others draw near to Christ. All submissions will be considered and acknowledged. However, Draw Near will only accept quality writing that adheres to these guidelines for publication.
  7. PLEASE READ THIS IMPORTANT INFORMATION ABOUT RIGHTS!!! By submitting a creative work:
  • you certify you are the author of the creative work.
  • you agree to give the publisher rights to publish your creative work in a single publication.
  • you authorize the publisher to make this publication available in print and electronic formats.
  • you agree to allow the publisher to post this publication on this website and other websites designed for hosting print and electronic formats.
  • you retain the copyright to your work.
  • you will be credited for your creative work (either as your real or pen name).

Still interested? Send your personal essay to songofsolomon8@outlook.com today!

On Writing Poetry (by me)

I have not written many poems lately because I am currently reviewing poetry submissions for a new project called Blessed Creation: A Christian Poetry Collection. This publication will provide writers the opportunity to spotlight an aspect of God’s creation with their poetry. If interested, please visit the Call for Submissions page. In today’s blog, I want to share my process for writing poetry.

I usually start my poetry writing process with a memory. If I am not inspired by a memory, it could be a dream, a beloved animal or flower, an art piece, a sermon, or someone I saw on the street… Really the possibilities for inspiration are endless! From this inspiring idea, I develop and jot down one or two lines for the poem.

Next, I try to decide if what form the poem should take. (See http://www.shadowpoetry.com to learn more about poetry forms.) If my primary purpose is to communicate a concrete message, I will often choose free verse. Mangling a message to fit into a rhyming or syllable form simply will not do. However, I love expressing flexible ideas through rhyming poetry forms like a sonnet or rhyme royal. Rhyming poems can be fun, beautiful, and complex. I personally prefer to use near rhymes instead of obvious rhymes to make it sound more sophisticated. (Visit http://www.rhymezone.com to access near rhyme suggestions for your own poetry.) Syllable poetry forms like haiku and sijo are useful to capture the short attention span of new readers. (Visit http://www.wordcalc.com if you don’t like counting syllables by hand.) When no poetry form seems suitable, I simply invent my own poetry form! Creative people create. We can’t help it. Once the form is selected, I can add more lines to the poem until it is complete.

Once the poem is finished, I reflect on the message of the poem. For me, there is always a balance to be struck. I review and ask myself questions like:

  • Does the poem honor God?
  • Is it original?
  • Was I transparent and “for real” about my true emotions?
  • Would it be considered offensive or judgmental?
  • Does it reveal God’s heart for His people?
  • Is it too syrupy sweet?
  • Does it glorify sinful practices in any way?
  • Does it speak truth according to the Word of God?

If I don’t like my answers, it is time to rewrite the poem to ensure the integrity of my work as a Christian writer. In obedience to what God has called me to do, one thing is certain—I keep writing. My readers here on this site really encourage me to fulfill my calling as a writer. I could not continue day in and day out with your supportive likes and comments (which I can read although they do not publicly post). (If you seek an encouraging poetry community, you can find one at http://www.poetrysoup.com.)

That’s it! I hope the review of my writing process helps you in some way. If you landed here because of your interest in writing but do not consider yourself a Christian, please visit Draw Near’s About God page. Additionally, I am happy to read and reply to emails if you simply have questions or concerns about the Christian faith. (See the Contact page.) Maybe there is a more significant reason you landed on this page. Thanks for reading and God bless!