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.”
Growth in skill as a poet is like any other growth. It often proceeds in fits and starts, and sees three steps forward followed by two steps back. If the previous poem was my first fully mature sonnet artistically, the next one shows some reversions to the old bad habits. Various kinds of cheating—using archaic language and inversions to make meter and rhyme work out, for example—reappear. They did not seem like cheating to that young writer because, of course, the Shakespearean sonnet was, after all, Shakespearean. But you have not fully learned your master’s lessons as long as you still look like you are imitating him, rather than using the skills he has given you to make something that speaks with your own voice to your own contemporaries—who, unlike me, are not at home in Early Modern English.
Nevertheless, the poem was worth writing and preserving, because imitation is part of the process of learning those lessons. And it does use the sonnet form to structure thoughts that I still believe are true and worth saying. They are worth saying better. And the young man would still keep trying to do that. You must judge whether and how often he succeeded.
Our God reveals himself in Persons three;
His Son incarnate is with natures twain.
From them comes Oneness in diversity
The which hath Holy Spirit for its name.
The Father is the Center and the Head;
The Son, begot before all time, the Heir;
The Spirit doth regenerate the dead
Because the Son hath loosed them from Death’s snare
By being born a man, of humble birth
And living a lowly life of servanthood
And spilling his pure blood upon the earth
When Pilate nailed him to the rough, crossed wood.
He died and rose; his death and life afford
New life to those who bow and call him Lord.
Remember: for more poetry like this, go to https://www.createspace.com/3562314 and order Stars Through the Clouds!
Donald T. Williams, PhD