XCV

Wordsworth wrote an endless poem in blank verse on” the growth of a poet’s mind.”  I shall attempt a more modest feat for a more distracted age: a blog, “Things which a Lifetime of Trying to Be a Poet has Taught Me.”

John Skelton was an early Sixteenth-Century English poet whose lines are, in some people’s eyes, so bad that they’re good.  He gave his name to the form: iambic dimeter rhyming AAAAA etc. as long as you can keep it up, then switching to B for as long as that will go, etc.  Skeltonics aren’t the right form for many things, but they work well for some kinds of light verse, and also seem strangely appropriate for any phenomenon that just keeps coming back like a Skeltonic rhyme, er, bad penny.

John Skelton

John Skelton

A Skeltonic Upon Sanctification

 

When in did ride

My foolish pride,

I vainly tried

To run and hide;

But God espied

It, mortified

It, so it died,

Until again

It rose.  So men

Do ever sin.

But God, to win

Them to come in

And save their skin

From burning Hell

Doth in them dwell

And sweetly tell

How from the well

Of Jesus’ blood

A crimson flood

Did drown the Tree

At Calvary

To purchase me

That I might be

Forever free

His slave to be.

Then Godly fear

And holy cheer

Did drive out sin

Until again

Straight in did ride

My foolish pride,

I vainly tried

To run and hide;

But God espied

It, mortified

It, so it died,

Until again . . .

(This poem, my friend,

Will never end

‘Til Christ comes back,

And that’s a fact!)

 

Remember: for more poetry like this, go to http://lanternhollow.wordpress.com/store/ and order Stars Through the Clouds! Also look for Inklings of Reality and Reflections from Plato’s Cave, Williams’ newest books from Lantern Hollow Press: Evangelical essays in pursuit of Truth, Goodness, and Beauty.

A book that fights back against the encroaching darkness.

A book that fights back against the encroaching darkness.

 

Donald T. Williams, PhD

XCIV

Wordsworth wrote an endless poem in blank verse on” the growth of a poet’s mind.” I shall attempt a more modest feat for a more distracted age: a blog, “Things which a Lifetime of Trying to Be a Poet has Taught Me.”

Anyone seeing the influence of George Herbert here gets an official brownie point.

George Herbert

George Herbert

The Will

When our Lord chose the Church to be his bride,
He did not chide,
But took her sins as dowry, though it bled
His heart’s blood out to bear them, and he died,
Bequeathing his estate. The will was read
And published throughout all his kingdoms wide.
“I here leave all to her whom I have wed:
Forgiveness, life, myself no longer dead,”
Was what it said.

Stars Through the Clouds

Remember: for more poetry like this, go to http://lanternhollow.wordpress.com/store/ and order Stars Through the Clouds! Also look for Inklings of Reality and Reflections from Plato’s Cave, Williams’ newest books from Lantern Hollow Press: Evangelical essays in pursuit of Truth, Goodness, and Beauty.

XCIII

Wordsworth wrote an endless poem in blank verse on” the growth of a poet’s mind.” I shall attempt a more modest feat for a more distracted age: a blog, “Things which a Lifetime of Trying to Be a Poet has Taught Me.”

The Shakespearean sonnet lends itself to the standard three points and conclusion format of the essay or sermon. By itself that fact might not be too inspiring, but neither is it to be despised. Here I combine it with the rhetorical devices anaphora and epanodos (in other words, each sentence/quatrain begins just the same except different).

The Master of the Sonnet

The Master of the Sonnet

Ascriptions
Sonnet XXX

The son’s a servant; so’s the Lord a king
Who, when a dragon had usurped his lands
And led his people captive, down did fling
The gauntlet, slew the foe with his own hands.
The Lord’s a king, but so’s the Son a lamb
Led out to slaughter as a sacrifice.
See how the bright blood stains his side! One dram
Were richer far than ten Cathays of spice.
The Son’s a lamb, but so’s the Lord a lion;
The church, the tribe of Judah, is his pride.
He leads them by still waters there in Zion,
But their best drink flows from his hands and side.
King, servant, lion, lamb; he who’s adored
By all these names deserves one more: my Lord.

The Master of the Universe

The Master of the Universe

Remember: for more poetry like this, go to http://lanternhollow.wordpress.com/store/ and order Stars Through the Clouds! Also look for Inklings of Reality and Reflections from Plato’s Cave, Williams’ newest books from Lantern Hollow Press: Evangelical essays in pursuit of Truth, Goodness, and Beauty.

Donald T. Williams, PhD

Stars Through the Clouds

XCII

Wordsworth wrote an endless poem in blank verse on” the growth of a poet’s mind.” I shall attempt a more modest feat for a more distracted age: a blog, “Things which a Lifetime of Trying to Be a Poet has Taught Me.”

When everybody else was abandoning iambic pentameter for free verse, Gerard Manley Hopkins dove even deeper into the metrical sea of poetry and came up with creative pearls we still haven’t caught up to. This tribute was in New Oxford Review, May, 1981.

Gerard Manley Hopkins

Gerard Manley Hopkins

To Gerard Manley Hopkins

Daylight’s dauphin, wanwood, diamond delves,
Mountain mind-cliffs, lightning, eyes of elves,
Finches’ wings or falcon’s, wolfsnow, wet
Weeds wildness by the burn-bank lingering yet,
Thoughts of Scotus, music of Purcell
Ring out like stones rim-tumbled in a well.
All are lead-golden echoes, all a view
Of Eden Garden, fresh when it was new
Or cursed and cancerous, fell with Adam’s fall,
Blasted with death’s dread worst despair—Not all
Is this the tale. Christ did for that he came,
Grace graces: thus He flings out broad His Name;
The Spirit boods still; brooded over you.
Your firedint, mark on mind is not yet through:
Still in your lines He flings it forth anew.

Hopkins at his Desk

Hopkins at his Desk

Remember: for more poetry like this, go to http://lanternhollow.wordpress.com/store/ and order Stars Through the Clouds! Also look for Inklings of Reality and Reflections from Plato’s Cave, Williams’ newest books from Lantern Hollow Press: Evangelical essays in pursuit of Truth, Goodness, and Beauty.

Donald T. Williams, PhD

XCI

Wordsworth wrote an endless poem in blank verse on” the growth of a poet’s mind.” I shall attempt a more modest feat for a more distracted age: a blog, “Things which a Lifetime of Trying to Be a Poet has Taught Me.”

It was an absolutely perfect spruce, so well hidden in the mountains that it was safe from ending life as somebody’s Christmas tree.

VanGogh-Cypresses

The Message

The standing tree was all
The meadow had to say.
It was not so very tall.
The wind could barely sway
It, pointing to the sky.
But you could hear it sigh
For something far away.
The standing tree was all
The meadow had to say.

Currahee

Remember: for more poetry like this, go to http://lanternhollow.wordpress.com/store/ and order Stars Through the Clouds! Also look for Inklings of Reality and Reflections from Plato’s Cave, Williams’ newest books from Lantern Hollow Press: Evangelical essays in pursuit of Truth, Goodness, and Beauty!

Donald T. Williams, PhD