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.”

One of my projects in that first year of PhD study was to reread that heartbreakingly poignant book Don Quixote.  Was it making fun of the hopelessly romantic Don, or of the modern world coming into existence where chivalry was merely quaint and the Don could never be more than an anachronism?  It is hard to tell, but I know which side of the question I’m on!

Sonnet XXI

Clouds of knowing, cloven by a sword

Whose rust gleamed gold with fierce imagination,

Part before the tall Manchegan lord

And recombine in threads of contemplation

Of what is and what ought to be.  Conflation

Of all the ancient chroniclers had said

Of knights and their heroic occupation

Danced a poignant dance inside his head.

All the virtue about which he’d read

Must be fleshed out right here beneath the sun.

If chivalry could die, the world was dead!

No nobler, sadder deeds were ever done

For any maid in any olden story

Than those done for La Dulcinea’s glory.

Remember: for more poetry like this, go to https://www.createspace.com/3562314 and order Stars Through the Clouds!  Also look for Reflections from Plato’s Cave, Williams’ newest book from Lantern Hollow Press: Evangelical essays in pursuit of Truth, Goodness, and Beauty.  https://www.createspace.com/3767346.

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 2, 2012, in Donald Williams, Poetry and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.

  1. I thoroughly enjoyed this poem. And it made me think of all the pictures and knights I saw in Toledo, Spain. Don Quixote is such a sad strange figure and even the tourist are sure whether they find him quaint or ridiculous. But if you wish there is a map that you can follow so that you too can tread in the steps of Don Quixote.
    Be he the romantic or the fool, the world still wonders…

  2. Thanks, Rachel. It’s a hard question, how to read the Don . . . but, like I said: I know which side I’m on!

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