Daily Archives: January 17, 2011


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.” 

I’ve skipped a number of poems that were too long to fit into a blog, too juvenile for me to bear to include them, or simply had nothing to contribute to the theme of what I’ve learned from trying to be a poet.  And so we come to 1970-71, my sophomore year at Taylor University in Upland, Indiana, and to various other poems that deserve to be skipped for various reasons.  And then we come to a more ambitious experiment with form, which can be achieved not only by various ways of exploiting meter and rhyme, but also by other kinds of parallelism.


a broken figure                                                a kingly Figure

scrawls obscenities                                          carves his Name

on a blackened sun, and his                            in the heavens and the

hollow laughter is swallowed                         planets bow in

by the void                                                      reverent silence

a burnt-our figure                                            a majestic Figure

spits at the foot                                               sits on the right

of a throne, and his                                         of the throne, and his

spittle falls and dries                                       glance is like the piercing

on his chin                                                       of a sword

a shrouded figure                                            a shining Figure

crawls through the ashes                                 stands amid a crown

of the universe, and his                                   of flaming stars, and his

funeral wail is swallowed                               cry of triumph resounds

by the void                                                      from the ends of infinity

a quenched, spent figure                                 a tall, royal figure

falls ever in the void,                                      receiving the worship

followed by the millions                                 of the universe, sheds a bitter

who have spent their lives                               tear for those whose knees

to buy his image                                              are bowed by force

amen . . .


Donald T. Williams, PhD