King has written about 250 rhymes

Published 12:00 am Friday, July 8, 2005

&uot;On the battlefield, by dawn’s early light

The lives of all those soldiers

Slipped forever from our sight


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Finally the destiny of those men

Had come to an end

They had reached their heavenly Lord

Upon whom they had come to depend.&uot;

Catherine King just wants to encourage.

&uot;I write because the Lord inspired me,&uot; she said. &uot;If I can touch one soul, if I can inspire anyone to take a closer walk with the Lord, my work is not in vain.&uot;

Perhaps she shouldn’t worry – it seems she passed that point long ago.

A former English teacher at Churchland and Forest Glen high schools and Tidewater Academy, King started writing poetry about 10 years ago.

&uot;Right after I got my copyright,&uot; she said. &uot;I got that before I wrote my first word. That’s the first step in publishing anything. You don’t want anyone to steal your work.&uot;

Since the mid-1990s, she’s published roughly 250 works, many of which have run in anthologies in the Library of Congress. She won the Editor’s Choice award from the International Library of Poetry for four consecutive years. In 1998, she published &uot;By the Dawn’s Early Light,&uot; which won her induction into the International Poetry Hall of Fame two years later.

&uot;I got many certificates and a gold medallion,&uot; she said. &uot;We went to the Hall of Fame (which is in Owens, Md.), and I read my work with my peers. I got a standing ovation.

&uot;I write about what I know,&uot; she said. &uot;Sometimes everything rhymes; sometimes nothing rhymes at all. Sometimes thoughts come to me in dreams. I write in the night, and don’t even remember them in the morning. When I’m on a high, I can fill up a file cabinet with notes.&uot;

She’s currently working on &uot;My Miracle Work,&uot; a book of tributes and memories. There are works dedicated to John F. Kennedy, Princess Diana, the people on the Titanic and others.

&uot;For God chose them for their eternal rest

At that particular moment, they felt the Lord’s caress

America – My Country – How sweet the sound

Yes, their eyes have seen the Glory

As Heaven abounds

Their hearts rejoice in victory

Of the coming of the Lord

They sing the heavenly chorus

To the final dying cord.&uot;

Before writing, King was well-acquainted with a different kind of rhyme.

&uot;I always thought that my gift in life was singing,&uot; she said. Aside from performing on the &uot;700 Club&uot; television show back in the 1970s, she’s performed at churches across Suffolk. But for much of the past eight years, the chronic arthritic pain that’s been bothering her for nearly half a century forced her into a wheelchair.

&uot;That was terrible,&uot; she said. &uot;My most painful positions were sitting and standing, so I couldn’t sing in the church choir or even sit in a pew.&uot;

Back in October, double pneumonia sent her to Obici Hospital. One day, she became caught in the bedding and fell to the floor.

&uot;I saw the marble floor rushing toward me, and I put my hands out like this,&uot; she said, holding up her hands in a praying position. The fall knocked her unconscious for three days.

&uot;All I could do was pray,&uot; she said. &uot;I felt like God was with me. They wanted to put me in a nursing home for a while, but I prayed about it, and decided that there was a little old lady somewhere that needed my bed.&uot;

In early November, King left the hospital and moved in with her daughter Ellen in the Magnolia Lakes Mobile Home Park. Over the next few months, she started feeling better.

&uot;I was walking with a walker,&uot; she said. &uot;Then I used a cane, then threw that away. Every day, my strength was increasing.&uot;

By January, she was walking again. Soon after, she went back to signing with the Beach Grove church choir.

&uot;I give the Lord the credit,&uot; she said. &uot;I certainly wasn’t on my own, but I can walk and I can write.&uot;

Nearly every day, she curls up in her bed or on the couch and puts down a few verses.

&uot;I’m going to do this for as long as I live,&uot; she said. &uot;What I don’t publish before I die, I want my daughter to publish, and what I don’t publish, I want to share with my friends and family. It’s such a blessing to be able to do this.&uot;

&uot;Their pain has forever ended

Their suffering has finally ceased

They at last have met their maker

And with Him they have eternal peace!&uot;

— By the Dawn’s Early Light, by Catherine King