“A Newfound Calm (Peace, Be Unto You)”

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I’ve been so long in turmoil, an unsatisfied yearning                                  1
But now, there’s something different; I think the tide is turning
This morning in this place, there’s a calm I can’t explain
A respite from the suffering; relief from all the pain

After discontent, distress, frustration, pain, and tears at length                 5
There is joy on the horizon and a newly found strength
I’d been stuck in the mire, spinning my wheels too long
But I’ve conquered that swamp, and now I sing a new song

“Peace be unto you,” the Master once said                                                    9
The clearest of commandments; feel like I’ve risen from the dead
Searching blindly in the dark when the Lord stretched out His arm
It was deliverance after what Joseph called “the moment of great alarm,

Not saying I won’t hurt again (experience says I will)                                13
But at least for here and now, my soul can finally be still

“When disappointment, grief, and fear are gone…”

Be Still My Soul” -Hymn #124


Just like in this post, the poem above is chock full of some rich scriptural and lyrical allusions, and I just had to explain them a bit!

a. “This morning, there’s a calm I can’t explain” (line 3) is a lyrics from John Mayer’s song “Clarity.” I have always found it fascinating, and I found myself pondering that line as I’ve experienced the sort of peaceful reawakening this poem describes (“calm” is one of my favorite words; read more here).

b. The list of emotionally difficult experiences found in line 5 (“discontent, distress, frustration…”) matches the line of text from “Be Still My Soul” that is found at the end of the poem (“[w]hen disappointment, grief, and fear…”). They are similar grammatically in their use of structural parallelism, and they are thematically alike as well.

c. I played with the “stuck in the mire” idea (line 7) and extended it into the next line, but changed it up a bit  because I wanted to express that I got unstuck. I’ve always really liked the word “conquer,” so I employed it here (line 8). Also, I’m quite certain that the “ox in the mire” Biblical phrase/ idea influenced my wordplay here.

d. “Peace Be Unto You” (line 9) is a direct quote from the Savior. Pretty straightforward 🙂

e. “[R]isen from the dead” (line 10) is another no-brainer reference. But to add just a bit of detail, the picture on the top left is a still from an LDS Bible video in which Jesus raises Jarius’s daughter. Cool!

f.  “The moment of great alarm” (line 12) is a line Joseph Smith used to describe the great darkness and destruction he experienced just prior to being delivered from the adversary and witnessing the First Vision of Jesus Christ and Father in Heaven.

g. My closing couplet (lines 13-14) sort of wraps up the poem (as is customary for the couplet at the end of Elizabethan sonnets) by saying how even though I’ll experience hardship again, this newfound peace is a turning point and still quite valuable. I chose J. Mayer’s quote “No, it won’t all go the way it should; but I know the heart of life is good” as one of my 4 graphics, as I felt is perfectly encapsulated the feeling I desired to convey.

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