Thursday, July 5, 2018

#21 Backstory Of The Poem "Wind Chimes" by Marla Shaw O'Neill . . .

Chris Rice Cooper                                   

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***This is the twenty-first 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. 

#21 Backstory Of The Poem
“Wind Chimes”
by Marla Shaw O’Neill

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? It was a windy day and a storm was coming. I sat down at my computer where I do all my writing. But for some reason I just sat there with my fingers on the keyboard and I waited. It is always quiet at my house. I’m retired and my husband was at work. I sat there just waiting. Then I heard the wind chimes on my front porch begin to sing…so I began to write. (The Wind Chimes on Marla's Front porch.  Copyright permission granted by Marla Shaw O'Neill for this CRC Blog Post Only)

Where were you when you started to actually write the poem?  And please describe the place in great detail. I write at my desk which is located in my living room. I sit facing a window but the blinds are always closed. There is a candelabra sitting on my roll top desk with Willow Angels on each side. The room has two large canvases of oil painted angels that sit and watch as I write. My back is to my collection of
books that sit on bookcases. There is much wisdom in those books I cherish them. But I don’t think about those things as I write. My heart and mind is centered on writing "Wind Chimes."  I write and then stop read what I’ve typed and make changes as I go. (Above Left: Marla's writing space.  Copyright permission granted by Marla Shaw O'Neill for this CRC Blog Post Only) 

What month and year did you start writing this poem? November 30, 2017 (Right:  Marla Shaw O'Neil in December 2017.  Copyright permission granted by Marla Shaw O'Neill for this CRC Blog post only) 

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?) I don’t write on paper when I write my poetry I type it on my computer and let the words flow from my heart and mind. So I don’t have a rough draft to share. (Left:  Marla Shaw O'Neil in December 2017.  Copyright permission granted by Marla Shaw O'Neill for this CRC Blog post only) 

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?  When I type the poetry I read and reread as I go and if something doesn’t fit I delete that line and rethink it. So I don’t have a rough draft. It will take me about 30 minutes to an hour to get it the way I think it should be then I post it to my blog along with a picture and scripture that I ask the Holy Spirit to lead me in making so I make the right choice. I want all, the glory to go to the Lord. (Above Right:  Marla writing in her journal.  Copyright permission granted by Marla Shaw O'Neill for this CRC Blog Post Only) 

What do you want readers of this poem to take from this poem?  I believe that the reader should interpret a poem from their perspective. To let it speak to their heart and draw their own conclusion. My desire is that they would see, that like, wind chimes, we all make music. As a Christian, we are to be bound together by the love of Jesus. His Spirit is the wind that blows on each of us so that we will make a beautiful melody with our lives bringing glory and honor to him. And that it takes each one of us touching and caring for each other to make the music heard. We are not islands to ourselves. God makes us a family community, loving him first, then others as we love ourselves. 

Which part of the poem was the most emotional of you to write and why?  This line is extremely emotional for me, “Life’s a journey; we all must go”…My mother loved wind chimes. Every time we would go into a store that had them she had to make them chime. And she’d say, “When I’m gone, and you hear a wind chime, it’s me stopping by to say hello.” As a matter of fact my husband and I bought her the wind chimes that are on our front porch, making this poem all the more treasured to me. My mom  was diagnosed with cancer of the tongue, in 2011. She suffered terribly, but her faith in God kept her strong. She was an Evangelist for more than fifty years and she never stopped witnessing to people. She shared her faith to whomever and wherever she would go. She loved Jesus with all her heart and soul. (Above Right: Pearl Jeannette Holman Copyright permission granted by Marla Shaw O'Neill for this CRC Blog Post only)

Anything you would like to add?  Thank you for the opportunity to have one of my poems with the background story to be posted on your blog. It is an honor. I pray over the things I write that they will encourage and inspire the readers. I believe God gives us all special gifts to be used for His glory. And that is my hearts desire. To see the Lord lifted up and glorified. (Left:  Marla Shaw O'Neill at the Day of Prayer in Hillsborough River in May of 2014.  Copyright permission granted by Marla Shaw O'Neill for this CRC Blog Post Only.) 

Has this poem ben published before?  And if so with who? This poem has only been published on my blog. But I am working on a new poetry book for next year it will be called The Soul Takes Flight Poetry and plan on self publishing it through CreateSpace. (Right:  Marla Shaw O'Neill in March of 2018.  Copyright permission granted by Marla Shaw O'Neill for this CRC Blog Post Only.) 

Can you give me some memories you and your mother shared together when it came to wind chimes.  Perhaps the earliest memory and the most recent? Like I said above, when we’d go into a store my mom would run her fingers over the chimes and say, “When I’m gone and you hear a wind chime, that will be me stopping by to say, hello.”  Every time I hear the wind chimes on my front porch, I say, “Hi mom, I miss you.” The chimes blow in the wind and I know she is near. (The Wind Chimes.  Copyright permission granted by Marla Shaw O'Neill for this CRC Blog Post Only) 

You said you pray over the things you will write.  How did God specifically lead you in writing this particular poem “Wind Chimes?” I was feeling lonely and as I sat down at my keyboard to write. I waited for the Lord to direct me. When I began to hear the wind chimes, I knew it was mom and the Holy Spirit telling me in my spirit, that we are the chimes and he is the wind…that’s how he lead me to write this poem. (Right:  Marla on her keyboard.  Copyright permission granted by Marla Shaw O'Neill for this CRC Blog Post Only). 

I am assuming you learned about God from your mother?  What was one of the God lessons your mother taught you that helped you in writing this poem? I met the Lord when I was about six years old. My mom wasn’t living for the Lord at the time. I would walk to a little Baptist Church around the corner from where we lived, in a rural area. I heard about Jesus from my Sunday school teacher and the pastor. At the altar call, I came forward and accepted Jesus as my personal Lord and Savior. (Above Left:  Marla Shaw O'Neill as a child.  Copyright permission granted by Marla Shaw O'Neill for this CRC Blog Post Only.)
Years later my mom rededicated her life to the Lord and eventually became a woman pastor/evangelist. She prayed every morning and night. Her example of praying and writing her sermons are engraved on my heart and mind. I can see her even now as she would study God’s word. I’d go with her when she’d preach and I even sang solos right before she’d preach. We had joined the Assemblies of God by that time.  
After I self-published Sing Sarah Sing, mom read it and loved it. She said, “Marla, you could write a story about my life.” And so I did. 
I write in the mornings and every time I’d write something for three years before mom passed away. She’d say, “Marla you need to get that published. It’s beautiful." And so I started a blog after she died. I write every day. Knowing that mom is pleased and that it’s for the Lord it keeps me diligent and faithful. I believe it is my calling. It’s not a burden I enjoy the process. God has given me a gift and I want to share it with everyone who will read it. (Above Left:  mother and daughter.  Copyright permission granted by Marla Shaw O'Neill for this CRC Blog Post Only) 

Is your mother living or is she in Heaven? My mom is in heaven. After meeting Jesus, the Holy Spirit and Papa God, I know she's met all the angels and the choir talking to her loved ones and the disciples. Mom never met a stranger. She's having the time of her life!!

Can you give me your mother’s full name? Pearl Jeannette Holman. Mama's daddy was 63 when he died. Mom was only nine months old. He called her his little pearl. You should get the book Pray Pearl Pray...and read it. I think you would like it.

Her birthdate and date that she went to heaven? She was born in April 26, 1932. She didn’t want to die on my brother’s birthday which is July 18. He passed away in 2007. So on July 16, 2015, Mom died. (Mother and Daughter.  Copyright permission granted by Marla Shaw O'Neill for this CRC Blog Post Only) 

Mom comes to visit me many times in dreams. I know she’s in a wonderful place. I believe with every fiber of my being…that heaven is real and the things God has revealed to me is priceless and a treasure that I long to share with others. God bless you. I pray that He will open new ideas and dreams for you on your journey. Without him, I would not have survived. 
I have type one diabetes. I’m sixty-four years old. Physically it’s getting a little harder to maneuver but spiritually I’m about 30 years old. I want to serve Jesus while I can and for as long as I can, Mom died at 83. Dad will be 90 this year. There is longevity in my family. (Right:  Marla Shaw O'Neil in June of 2018.  Copyright permission granted by Marla Shaw O'Neill for the CRC Blog Post Only.) 

But I believe that we are living in eternity right now…and like the caterpillar the metamorphosis won’t be complete until we leave this body and begin our journey in heaven. First we have to complete our journey here. Like the wind chimes...

Wind Chimes

We are like dangling notes touched by the wind
Created for music so let it begin…
Some are metal and some are glass
Some are sea shells; each with a task…
Spinning around suspended in the air
The tune of life is displayed as we share...
While helping each other, our burdens to bear
Tied together in cosmic light
Whispers of music while we dance in the night…
Unaware it’s the wind that gives us flight…
Awakened by the one who holds the strings
We begin to hear the most beautiful things…
Tones of highs and tones of lows
The music of life not everyone knows…
As the wind surrounds us and gently blows…
Life’s a journey; we all must go…
Wind chimes tinkling a melodious sound
Once lost, now we are found…
It takes one, touching one, to cause the music to be heard
Listen, there’s music in every word.
Psalms 149:3 “Let them praise his name in the dance: let them sing praises unto him with the timbrel and harp.” King James Version (KJV)

I was born in Gadsden, Alabama in 1954. I am the middle child, with an older brother and younger sister. My parents divorced when I was 2 ½ years old. We were raised by my mother and grandmother.  (Left:  Marla far right as a child with her mother and siblings.  Copyright permission granted by Marla Shaw O'Neill for this CRC Blog Post Only)

I’ve written poems, and songs for as far back as I can remember. I wrote an inspirational novel called, Sing Sarah Sing, 

and self-published it in 2014. I wrote a biography on my mom’s life called, Pray Pearl Pray,( and self-published it in 2016. Mom gave me notes regarding things that happened to her in her early life. I finished the book after she had died and published it on her birthday.

I’ve also self-published a book of poetry called, God’s Heartbeat Ba-Bump, Ba-Bump, Ba-Bum

and a children’s book, for our grandson’s called, Pengie 
the Penguin and Leo the  Sea Lion.  

Between my husband and me, we have six children and seven grandchildren. When I retired I moved to Lake Worth, Florida. We attend Journey Church of about 3,000 attendees. We are leaders of a small group and we server on the prayer and altar team.  (Right:  Marla and hubby.  Copyright permission granted by Marla Shaw O'Neill for this CRC Blog Post Only) 

I belong to a group called Christian Poets and Writers on Facebook. At the beginning of 2017, we were asked to seek God for a specific word for the year. My word was ‘write’ I wrote 365 posts in my blog which completed my goal for that year. Each day the Holy Spirit would wake me with an idea or a message and I would get up and write. I prayed that God would use me to touch people for His glory.  My prayer is that whoever reads will be blessed and if they don’t know Jesus in a personal way that what I write will help them to see Him as a loving, caring person and not a hard task master. Jesus is the most important person in my life. I pray He will become that to others as well. 


001  December 29, 2017
Margo Berdeshevksy’s “12-24”

002  January 08, 2018
Alexis Rhone Fancher’s “82 Miles From the Beach, We
Order The Lobster At Clear Lake Café”

003 January 12, 2018
Barbara Crooker’s “Orange”

004 January 22, 2018
Sonia Saikaley’s “Modern Matsushima”

005 January 29, 2018
Ellen Foos’s “Side Yard”

006 February 03, 2018
Susan Sundwall’s “The Ringmaster”

007 February 09, 2018
Leslea Newman’s “That Night”

008 February 17, 2018
Alexis Rhone Fancher “June Fairchild Isn’t Dead”

009 February 24, 2018
Charles Clifford Brooks III “The Gift of the Year With Granny”

010 March 03, 2018
Scott Thomas Outlar’s “The Natural Reflection of Your Palms”

011 March 10, 2018
Anya Francesca Jenkins’s “After Diane Beatty’s Photograph “History Abandoned”

012  March 17, 2018
Angela Narciso Torres’s “What I Learned This Week”

013 March 24, 2018
Jan Steckel’s “Holiday On ICE”

014 March 31, 2018
Ibrahim Honjo’s “Colors”

015 April 14, 2018
Marilyn Kallett’s “Ode to Disappointment”

016  April 27, 2018
Beth Copeland’s “Reliquary”

017  May 12, 2018
Marlon L Fick’s “The Swallows of Barcelona”

018  May 25, 2018

019  June 09, 2018
Alexis Rhone Fancher’s “Stiletto Killer. . . A Surmise”

020 June 16, 2018
Charles Rammelkamp’s “At Last I Can Start Suffering”

021  July 05, 2018
Marla Shaw O’Neill’s “Wind Chimes”

022 July 13, 2018
Julia Gordon-Bramer’s “Studying Ariel”

023 July 20, 2018
Bill Yarrow’s “Jesus Zombie”

024  July 27, 2018
Telaina Eriksen’s “Brag 2016”

025  August 01, 2018
Seth Berg’s (It is only Yourself that Bends – so Wake up!”

026  August 07, 2018
David Herrle’s “Devil In the Details”


  1. Nice work on Wind Chimes. Very nice. Enjoyed the history too.
    Thank you for sharing.
    You bless the world.

  2. I really loved your poem about Wind Chimes. I would like to add that 2 years back I lost my mother and i was not in the zone at that time. Then my husband's friend told him about memorial wind chime. And then to cope up with the loss that my husband bought me this wind chime. Everyday when i heard the sound, it's like my mom is talking to me.