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.”
Grad school asks for a step up in maturity. Your peers are more uniformly purposeful and serious, and your professors are the masters of your former masters. Add to that the greater stock of experience of the human condition and empathy in human joy and sorrow that any passing year brings to the attentive. As I look back into the yellowed pages of the old notebook, I hope I am seeing a new level of maturity as an artist start to emerge. At any rate, this is the first sonnet that seems to me to reach a level I might call fully satisfactory. It still has a wee bit of cheating, but it has one well developed central image that flows inexorably toward its climax without any feeling of being contrived. My first mature sonnet? See what you think.
The sky was huddled up next to the ground
As if for mutual warmth against the cold.
But that there was no warmth there to be found
Was plain: the earth looked hoar with frost and old.
The wild wind with great pressure swept the land
As though constricted by the louring sky,
And with many a powerful, grasping, unseen hand
Stripped naked all the trees as it swept by
And laid their twisted inner natures bare.
They bent beneath the wind as if with shame
Or some great lostness or despair
Or even greater burdens with no name.
On a day like that no man should e’er be out;
But out I was, and that I could not doubt.
Doubt is part of faith, and the dark night of the soul a necessary prelude to dawn. Never doubt that, no matter how cold your own winds blow.
Remember: for more poetry like this, go to https://www.createspace.com/3562314 and order Stars Through the Clouds!
Donald T. Williams, PhD