CHRIS RICE COOPER is a newspaper/fiction writer, poet, photographer, & painter. CRC Blog is an INCLUSIVE & NON-PROFIT BLOG acknowledging ALL voices, ALL individuals, ALL political views, ALL philosophies, and ALL religions including Islamism, Hinduism, Buddhism, Catholicism, Protestantism, Judaism, Agnosticism, Atheism, etc. She has a B.S. in Criminal Justice & completed her workshops required for her Master’s in Creative Writing. She lives in St. Louis.
Sunday, April 21, 2019
#100 Backstory of the Poem "How Do You Know?" by Stephanie
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***This is #100 in a never-ending series called BACKSTORY
OF THE POEM where the Chris Rice Cooper Blog (CRC) focuses on one
specific poem and how the poet wrote that specific poem. All BACKSTORY
OF THE POEM links are at the end of this piece.
****All Images are credited and given copyright permission by Christal Ann Rice Cooper for this CRC Blog Post only unless otherwise noted.
Below Photo - Public Domain
Backstory of the Poem
“How Do You Know?”
Can you go through the step-by-step
process of writing this poem from the moment the idea was first conceived in
your brain until final form?I wrote for a church newsletter and the theme was “how do
you know God loves you?” Immediately, I was mentally transported to the first
time I was asked how do I know God loves me.”
I remembered the question hitting
me like a punch to the gut. I was nine-years-old. I didn’t want my friend to
know that my parents were getting divorced but I didn’t know how to explain
God’s love to her. I just remembered feeling the wind. The wind was like a
kiss. God’s love is like the wind for me.
I wrote this poem, (first time in 1999) the thought entered my mind like a
gentle breeze, and then like a storm I had to write it, the hurt, the anger,
the abandonment. It was three years later (at age 11) before I saw my earthly father again.
This poem is the first time I shared my story.
Where were you when you started to
actually write the poem?And please
describe the place in great detail. I usually write from my couch. The television is always on
at my house rather I’m watching it or not, mostly not. I enjoy reading and
writing. I received the email for the writing assignment which led to the birth
of this poem. Before starting the assignment, the first thing I did was open my
Bible and randomly turned pages and read. Whichever verse resonated me, I wrote
it and then I prayed on it.
There is a curio in the corner of the living room.
I can see my reflection from the couch but it is not what I focus on. I focus
on the imaginary thought bubble I see in my mind’s eye. My feelings appear as
words and then I write. Next to the curio is a window where I look through the
curtain at the neighbor’s willow tree. As strange as it sounds, this is where
my writing begins and ends. The mirrored curio and window are my external
What month and year did you start
writing this poem?This version of
the poem was written in March 2015.
How many drafts of this poem did you
write before going to the final? (And can you share a photograph of your rough
drafts with pen markings on it?)This poem was never meant to be shared. Each and every time
I wrote this poem, I kept it for only a few days. The only reason I still have
this poem is because I typed it directly into the computer and never deleted
Were there any lines in any of your
rough drafts of this poem that were not in the final version?And can you share them with us?I’ve told this story only to myself.
If there is a different version, it lies deep within my mind.
What do you want readers of this poem
to take from this poem?This
poem is written from a nine-year-old perspective going through the separation
of parents. Divorce divides a person’s world from what was to how it could have
been. No matter what the new normal is, people of divorce always reflect to the
what if my parents had stayed together and we always painted it to be rosy and
better than what we have.
I want people to know that children need to have a faith-base.
They need to be able to believe in something. For me, I have God and his Son
Jesus. I was able to get through that terrible time without being destructive.
So many children and teens rebel in one way or another. Whoever reads my poem,
I hope they believe in something or see the strong nine-year-old who knew she
was loved even through the doubts of others.
Which part of the poem was the most
emotional of you to write and why?“I held onto the belief that God loved me so much, He sent
His Son Jesus to die for me. My father did not love me as much as God did. He
was not capable.” This was the first time I realized that there was no one on
earth who could love me as much as God. I cried then because I thought I would
have to die to feel loved. It took a while to accept that God’s love was all I
needed. It was later I learned the difference between God’s love and world
Has this poem been published
before?And if so where?It was published online and then
deleted. It was never submitted to the newsletter
Anything you would like to add?I think finally I can share this
poem with others.
How Do You
The wind blows wherever it pleases. You hear
its sound, but you cannot tell where it comes from or where it is going. So it
is with everyone born of the SpiritJohn 3:8
“How do you
know God loves you?” I was asked this question when I was nine years old. “I
can feel Him like I can feel the wind.” I answered but my friend rolled her
eyes. I held onto my belief because my world had falling apart. My parents
divorced because of my father’s infidelity. When I caught my father cheating,
he lied and told me it was his first only time. When I caught him the second
time, I told my mother. My parents fought and a few weeks later, my father told
me he was moving out. He asked me if I wanted to live with him. I told my dad I
loved him but I did not believe he loved me because if he had, he would have
not done what he did. I ran outside to my swing set. I swung as high as I
could. The wind blew against my face and dried my tears as more continued to
fall. I held onto the belief that God loved me so much, He sent His Son Jesus
to die for me. My father did not love me as much as God did. He was not
capable. I forgave my father by the time I went inside. Days later, I watched
my father leave from the opened door. The wind blew and kiss my face. The kiss
came from God. I knew then as I do now. God loves me and He always will.
works as an occupational therapist by day and a writer at night, weekends and
whenever the bug strikes. Windows and everything in nature provides her with