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 and order Stars Through the Clouds!

Donald T. Williams, PhD



About gandalf30598

Theologian, philosopher, poet, and critic; minister of the Gospel who makes his living by teaching medieval and renaissance literature; dual citizen of Narnia and Middle Earth.

Posted on August 15, 2011, in Donald Williams, Poetry, Shakespeare. Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.

  1. Wayne the Shrink

    Humm – from a purely human viewpoint, how can one be an heir to an eternal God?

  2. Actually, the poem makes the Son (who is co-eternal with the Father) the heir; but Scripture also speaks of us as join-heirs with Christ. From a purely human standpoint, this is impossible; but of course it is not a purely human thing, but the Gift of God’s grace. Finite mortals do not of course inherit deity–but they do share in “every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places,” according to Ephesians 1:3. We share in all He can give us, to the capacity we have to receive it.

    It is a mystery–but it is useful to remember that biblical metaphors are metaphors. They become problematic when we try to read them literally.

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