Xulon Press Successful Author Spotlight: Poet Arthur Harris

Filed in Successful Author Spotlight by on July 19, 2013 1 Comment

The Rainbow at Midnight, poetryThis is our first Xulon Press Successful Author Spotlight featuring a published poet, showcasing the beautiful and inspiring work of Arthur Harris, The Rainbow at Midnight, along with several published poems in the NY Times, and his soon to be published second book “Devotions In All Seasons”. Arthur’s poetry is both inspirational and motivating, as his words are complimented by pictures he has taken. As you read his poetry, there is a calm that comes over you, a serenity that surrounds you and a presence that engulfs you as you are taken in by this poet’s simple yet powerful presentation of praise and worship. Those who read have their heart touched and their spirit renewed.

As Arthur and I began our conversation, I sensed his gentle spirit and his attitude of gratitude for what God has done in his life. When I asked him “What one past experience changed the course of your life?” he responded. “Back in 1995, my youngest daughter and I had just come by the Seattle library and the Seattle market. I like to expose her to different things. In that area, near the market, there are a lot of homeless and transients that live there. While going to the car with my daughter, three transients came up, guys, asking for money. It was inconvenient for me. I didn’t have any money to give the guy. I didn’t want to open my wallet. One guy got pretty aggressive, and they were intoxicated. I had my three and a half year old daughter. They hassled me. I got slugged in the nose–nose was bleeding. I called the cops. Seeing her in the back of the car, crying and upset– that really jarred me. I hadn’t been going to church at the time. I grew up in the church. My parents were both deacons in the church at Mt. Zion Baptist Church in Seattle. I hadn’t completely humbled myself before God, but that event humbled me. When I thought about what could have happened to my young daughter, she could have been really hurt. Caused some deep thoughts within me. I humbled myself before God. I knew I had to make a life change. Something could have happened to us. Even though I grew up in the church and moved away in my teenage years. I had kicked it away. That’s my prodigal son story. It made me come back to the realization that life is not about my pleasure or obtaining some worldly possession for myself. It was about humbling myself and remembering my upbringing– I started looking to their faith. I came to realize that something bad could have really happened and someone stopped that from happening. God’s grace kept us safe.”

Because Arthur is the first poet we have interviewed, I was interested to find out if his writing method for writing poetry was any different than our other authors. Arthur reflected “I always ask God “what do you want me to write?” I just want to be your scribe, Lord. What do you want me to write Lord? I tend to go into a quiet place. I love the tranquility and peace. In Seattle, it rains a lot so we appreciate the sunshine when it appears. I never force anything. I want to be a conduit of God’s love and compassion and what I am feeling at the moment. It might be a sonnet. It’s called “Pondering”. I took off on that one word and elaborate on it. Sometimes, when I go walking, and I see something beautiful, like a cherry blossom, it reminds me of the beauty of God’s creation. One of my old poems, I was writing about cherry blossoms, and it caused me to write about God in comparison to the cherry blossoms blooming. Sometimes, I can smell the lilacs and write a poem about that. Just slow down. You can get so much out of life when you take time to slow down. Looking at the big picture, from becoming ill, it forced me to really, really slow down and appreciate every breath, every heartbeat. You can see a lot of things that you really did not see.”

He continued. “I can talk to God in that secret place, but sometimes, just to listen, to be still and know that He says “I am God”. In the stillness. In that quiet serenity with the Lord.”

Arthur then shared how God had healed him. “I was diagnosed with multiple melanomas—it’s a cancer. I was a registered nurse for 33 years. I was a wound care specialist. I could heal wounds that no one could heal. Great reputation for being able to heal the wound. I would testify to my patients that “God used me to heal your wound”. I started noticing tingling in lower extremities and in my hands. No one could figure it out. Months later, they figured out– Poems Syndrome.  I started getting chemo for that. I almost died from the first chemo due to a bad reaction. They took my stem cells and froze them, in case I need them. Get tested every three months. We don’t know what God has in store.”

Arthur shared how he handled the experience. “I asked for healing and God gave me an inner peace. God knew what I needed. I had a peace within me. I asked for healing, and God gave me peace. That’s when I started writing. Others want to see a sense of peace in you to know that there is something different… you have to feel it — for them to see it in you. I knew that God had my back. I had confidence. My new Xulon book is called “Devotions in all Seasons”. It’s about devotions, consecrations and meditations. I’m working on it right now. Writing as I feel inspired.”

He was compelled to share a second health crisis where God stepped in and healed him. “I had a heart attack in June 2012. Doctor said it was the LAD (lower arterial descending artery), called the Widow Maker. But there was no heart damage. I was released from CCU to go straight home. I didn’t have to go to a regular room for a few days’ of observation. They said that hadn’t happened in Seattle in years. Went straight home and no heart damage. God healed my heart!”

I was inspired by his testimonies of healing. His quiet demeanor had a calming effect on me. I asked Arthur “What message do you want shared by the story of your life?” He shared from his heart. “Humility– having a humble heart. You can’t truly experience the blessings of God without humility. It’s the source of my strength. Sense of humility before God and be an example to others. Holy Spirit can’t work with you if you don’t have a humble spirit. Be still and wait on God. Trust God to give those burdens to Jesus. Matt 12:28 says “Come unto me all ye who are heavy laden, and I will give you rest”. I give to God the things that I cannot control. Certain things beyond our control, give those to God. Stay in continuous prayer as much as possible. Give God the glory and the gratitude. After almost dying twice, I’m just grateful– To pause even more to give Him the glory. I think it’s important to bless others. Just being a conduit of God’s blessings to share with others. That’s what I want shared.”

I reached that place in the conversation that has become legendary with the responses from other authors. I quietly asked “What will they write on your gravestone that will sum up your life?”

I could hear his smile and sense his countenance beaming as he simply stated…

“Endured to the end. Forever in the peace of God.”

I asked this poet, who writes so many inspirational passages for others, “What inspires you?”

Arthur responded. “I am inspired- that is a poem in my book Rainbows at Midnight. I know that God is with me. Without a doubt, you have to live it. The hope and trust to feel the presence of God in me. That inspires me. Knowing God is with me inspires me. You may be walking through the valley of the shadow of death, but you have this peace, this inner peace. I know that I can bless someone, touch someone. “If I can just love someone, then my living– will not be in vain” (Martin Luther King). I don’t want my living to be in vain. The crops that I sowed– That it will be in love. Extending that love to others. Exuding the goodness of God. Not living it in vanity. We are here for a season. I pray that it was pleasing unto God.”

So much of this poet’s writing centers around the Scripture, I had to ask “What is your theme scripture and why?” Arthur started to recite. “Psalm 27 and Psalm 33:20-22 … We wait and hope of the Lord. He is our help and shield. For we trust in His holy name. May your unfailing love rest upon us oh Lord, even as we hope in you. The Lord is our light and salvation, of whom shall I fear? I put my hope and trust in God. Firmly rooted. One thing I ask when I seek, that I may dwell in the house of the Lord and hear my voice oh Lord, and be merciful and answer me. I am confident. I will see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living. Be of good courage. Wait for the lord.”

I felt like I had been in the presence of the psalmist David as Arthur spoke of his love for his Savior.

I ended our conversation by asking him, when this life is over… “When you get to heaven, and walk through the gates…what do you want to hear the Lord say to you?”

He broke into song and I heard his spirit sing as Arthur the Author, as his friends call him, responded joyfully “Well done, my good and faithful servant, well done. Welcome to my glory!”

As I reflected on our time together, I could sense the calm of his spirit, the passion of his heart, the love of his life. All of it led me to believe…  I had been in the presence of a modern day David.

I had heard the poetry of a psalmist reflecting his love for his Savior.

And I had met a man who reflected a man after God’s own heart!

You can find “The Rainbow at Midnight” from poet Arthur Harris at the Xulon Press Bookstore.

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About the Author ()

Alan P. Scaglione is a writer who reflects on the simple contradictions and complexities to living this ”gift from God” called life. He believes that Life is a journey that, with compassion, a little levity and perspective, we help each other get through. His greatest compliment was being told “you draw pictures with your words!” He has devoted his life to “drawing”…in his poetry, his songs, his weekly “Reflections of Life” blog entries, his monthly SAS articles, his short stories and now, his novels! Alan is an everyday guy who refuses to let circumstances dictate his view to life; he lives an attitude of gratitude and spreads his positive outlook everywhere he goes. His BEST day is a day shared making a memory that will last a lifetime! Please check out Alan’s books “One Unexpected Event – How Would Your Life Change?” and its sequel “One Unexpected Event – Aftermath!” in the Xulon Press bookstore.

Comments (1)

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  1. avatar Ethel Cummings says:

    Hello cousin Arthur, I truly enjoyed reading your inspiring interview. I have read: The Rainbow At Midnight. I’m anxious to read your next book: Devotions In All Seasons.

    Your cousin from Shreveport, LA.
    Ethel Harris Cummings

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