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.”

The next poem is reminiscent of Cassandra’s epistle from a few entries ago.  It differs in that this voice comes from the present, not Cassandra’s mythic past.  But it encounters the same problems, inherent in human nature since the Fall of Adam.


A modern Cassandra?

Prophetic Fragment

I have walked the streets of cities and towns, and seen

The empty eyes disguised by endless laughter,

The blanker stares of men intent on business,

And over all the neon wash that drowns

The clean if scanty light of the evening sky,

And a Voice said, “Cry!”

And I though, “What shall I cry?”

And so I read the lines of morning papers

And saw the cold statistics stacked in piles

Like countless bodies of aborted children

On the altars of the goddess Promiscuity,

And the Voice said, “Cry!”

I listened to the sages of the people

On blaring, omnipresent radios,

And also read the words of learned poets,

And they said,

“The frenzied freedom of the one-night stand

Is better than the faithful bonds of marriage,

And by all means don’t get tied down with children.

If you feel that something’s good, it is,

As long as it’s not violent.  Nobody

Is wise enough to tell you how to live,

And tolerance is the only virtue left,

And the only thing that’s real’s the present moment.”

And the Voice said, “Cry!”

I turned and to listen to the saints and preachers,

And they proclaimed that Man is very good

And has a spark of godhood deep within him.

And if somehow we just can fan that flame

With Education and Encounter Groups

And teach him to get over all his hang-ups

And to engage in honest self-expression,

The Evolution, Social Change, and Progress

Will make the world a place of peace and beauty.


J. Gresham Machen–NOT one of the Modernist Preachers portrayed above!

But the Voice said, “Cry!”

            And I said, “What shall I cry?

What word to heal the pain, explain the ‘Why?’

What new solution we have yet to try,

What new direction for the race we run?”

And the Voice said, “None.

You are to tell them that they have to die.


“You are to tell them that they have to die.”

Tell them they cannot walk unless their feet are on the ground

Or know the Truth without rejecting lies.

Say there is no freedom to be found

In throwing away all ties.

Say that we must choose our metaphors

(And mix them) carefully, if we would see

The signs above the doors

And take the right road to eternity.”


Selecting the right road is not always easy.

That road is harder for the man who thinks that he is rich;

The blind inevitably lead the blind into the ditch.

The ditch is deep (it splits the world asunder)

And wider than the space between the stars;

And there it waits for man the way the lightning waits for thunder,

Or wounded flesh for scars.

Remember: for more poetry like this, go to https://lanternhollow.wordpress.com/store/ 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.

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 December 9, 2013, in Christianity, Donald Williams, Meditations, Theology and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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