Cellphone Prayer

I tumble through this doorway in my hand

Into the tangled webbing of a Mind,

Into a new and devastating land

Where eyes that once could see are nearly blind.

I long for quiet boredom and the bland.

I long for hide and seek until I find.

Oh may I have the power to cut this strand

Before I lose all that I’ve left behind.

I’ve had enough of words to last a life – 

Enough of images to burn a sun.

Oh let me see the early morning light,

And lay my head down when the day is done.

And may my restless spirit turn to sleep.

And may the shallows turn again to deep.


It was February 2020, the second half of my first year at Eastern, and I was thoroughly enjoying my Studies in Poetry class with Professor Luke Stromberg.  Professor Stromberg led my young classmates and I in free-ranging discussions on the meaning of various poems, teaching us their different structures in the process.  Having grown up Mennonite, cradled in the four-part harmonies of comfortably knit hymns, I was especially drawn to poems with specific meter and rhyme—the sonnets, sestinas, and villanelles.  Professor Stromberg encouraged us to reject the notion in American poetry, held over from the last part of the twentieth century,  that traditional forms are inferior to “free verse,” and told us of West Chester University’s Annual Poetry Conference, of which he had been a part, where they had become a recent and deliberate focus.  He offered us the challenge of writing in traditional form and I quickly jumped at the chance!  After deciding on the sonnet and trying to start, I soon made myself a chart with fourteen lines and the indicated rhyme scheme, leaving plenty of space to jot down ideas as the poem unfolded.  But, what to write about?  Instinctively I grabbed for the cell phone sitting beside me on the desk.  Since purchasing one a few years back, despite best intentions I had found myself sucked into its powerfully addictive maw, using its ever-present diversions to fill any blank spaces or anxious moments in my life.  But, as a creative person in my 50’s who had been writing music for the past three decades, I had noticed a most distressing change.  Filling up the quiet places had dampened my creativity!  As I sat staring at this unavoidable post-modern tool of immense potential, the seeds of the Cell Phone Prayer were born.

About the Author

Lynelle is hoping to prove it’s never too late to follow your dreams! She is here at Eastern finishing a degree in English after having successfully supported her two daughters through college. She is so grateful for all her professors and fellow students, and is loving every minute! Life is indeed a precious gift!

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