Category Archives: Christianity

CCVIII

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.”

Bach’s Philosophy of Composition

Jesu, juva.

“Jesu, joy of man’s desiring,”

Both the words and music say;

Notes and syllables conspiring

Stir the spirit in the clay.

 

“Come, sweet death!”  How so?  Inspiring

Men and women thus to pray?

Jesu, joy of man’s desiring,”

Both the words and music say.

 

“Sheep may safely graze,” retiring,

Learn the Shepherd to obey.

Notes and syllables conspiring

Stir the spirit in the clay.

 

Musicologists inquiring

Cannot brush the thought away:

“Jesu, joy of man’s desiring,”

Both the words and music say.

 

“Jesus, help!” he’d write, requiring

Aid on every page.  Today,

Notes and syllables conspiring

Stir the spirit in the clay.

 

Every page he wrote, aspiring,

“God’s alone the glory!  May

Jesu, joy of man’s desiring,

Be what words and music say.”

 

Just aesthetically admiring

Misses what he would convey:

Jesu, joy of man’s desiring,

Stirs the spirit in the clay.

 

“Jesu, joy of man’s desiring,”

Both the words and music say;

Notes and syllables conspiring

Stir the spirit in the clay–

Drive the dark of doubt away.

Soli Deo gloria.

Remember: for more poetry like this, go to https://lanternhollow.wordpress.com/store/ and order Stars Through the Clouds! Also look for Inklings of Reality and Reflections from Plato’s Cave, Williams’ newest books from Lantern Hollow Press: Evangelical essays in pursuit of Truth, Goodness, and Beauty.  And look for Williams’ very latest book, Deeper Magic: The Theology behind the Writings of C. S. Lewis, from Square Halo Books!

Donald T. Williams, PhD

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CCVII

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.”

Gerard Manley Hopkins

THEODICY

Hopkins knew the Lord was just, yet pled

The justice of his own request for rain.

ThePsalmist’s echoed accents make it plain,

It wasn’t the first time such words were said.

Even Jesus wondered as he bled

Why God had turned His back upon the pain.

The Spirit’s calculus of loss and gain

Cannot be quickly figured in your head.

 

So when like Job we groan and question why

And plead our case, but seem to plead in vain,

We might remember that the Lord’s reply

Was simply a refusal to explain,

And then a pure, white Lamb who lived to die.

It is enough:  We follow in His train.

Remember: for more poetry like this, go to https://lanternhollow.wordpress.com/store/ and order Stars Through the Clouds! Also look for Inklings of Reality and Reflections from Plato’s Cave, Williams’ newest books from Lantern Hollow Press: Evangelical essays in pursuit of Truth, Goodness, and Beauty.  And look for Williams’ very latest book, Deeper Magic: The Theology behind the Writings of C. S. Lewis, from Square Halo Books!

Donald T. Williams, PhD

CCIII

 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.”

What actually happened on the Day of Pentecost?  And how does it relate to modern phenomena that go by the same name?  Not exactly what you might expect.

PENTECOST

(Compared with Later Imitations)

 

Stronger than a hawk, the Dove

Swept by, and in the eddies of

His passing, tongues of flame were fanned

And men fell to the ground unmanned.

They stuttered as their wits were lost

And thought it a new Pentecost:

The merely inarticulate sigh

Of His furious passing by.

 

But when He stopped to build His nest

First in the Apostolic breast,

A different language was expressed

In fit words, honed and well disposed;

Those were not drunk as men supposed,

But spoke real tongues they had not learned:

Thus the true tongues of fire burned.

Men heard about their sins and grieved;

They heard the Gospel and believed,

For each one heard of Jesus’ blood

In his own tongue—and understood.

 

Does that Dove’s nesting in the heart

Drive it and the mind apart?

Never!  Rather, say He brings

The two together ‘neath His wings.

The mind alert was not the cost

Of the primal Pentecost,

Where true wit was not lost, but gained

When the showers of blessing rained.

Remember: for more poetry like this, go to https://lanternhollow.wordpress.com/store/ and order Stars Through the Clouds! Also look for Inklings of Reality and Reflections from Plato’s Cave, Williams’ newest books from Lantern Hollow Press: Evangelical essays in pursuit of Truth, Goodness, and Beauty.  And look for Williams’ very latest book, Deeper Magic: The Theology behind the Writings of C. S. Lewis, from Square Halo Books!

Donald T. Williams, PhD

CC

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.”

This poem is what is known as a curtal (or curtailed) sonnet—six and five lines instead the standard of eight and six of the Petrarchan form.  Hopkins used it for “Pied Beauty.”  But I’ve gone one step further and scrunched it some more: trimeter and dimeter instead of iambic pentameter.  One hopes that from compression comes power.  Let’s see.

DESTINY

(Commentary, Eph. 1:3, etc.)

 

As basic as breath,

As lucid as love,

A lyrical light;

Despoiler of Death,

He derives from the Dove

Celebration of sight.

 

The grain in the board,

The hand in the glove,

The star in the night:

The saint in the Lord

Shining bright.

Remember: for more poetry like this, go to https://lanternhollow.wordpress.com/store/ and order Stars Through the Clouds! Also look for Inklings of Reality and Reflections from Plato’s Cave, Williams’ newest books from Lantern Hollow Press: Evangelical essays in pursuit of Truth, Goodness, and Beauty.  And look for Williams’ very latest book, Deeper Magic: The Theology behind the Writings of C. S. Lewis, from Square Halo Books!

Donald T. Williams, PhD

CLXXXXVIII

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 biggest group of Jesus’ twelve disciples were professional fishermen before they signed up to follow Him.  Professional fishermen.  They knew the way storms and waves behaved on the Sea of Galilee.  They knew whether or not the fish were biting.  (OK, technically that’s not the right phrase because they were using nets—but you get the idea.)  They knew the Man they were dealing with was not just another lay rabbi.  That is one reason why we can still trust their testimony today.

THE PROFESSIONALS

(Commentary, Luke 5:5)

“We’ve toiled all night and caught no fish as yet;

Our eyes are drooping and our muscles ache.

But at your bidding, we’ll let down the net.”

(Though, just ‘twixt you and me, I doubt we’ll get

A single tug at this end of the lake.

We’ve toiled all night and caught no fish as yet.)

“A better preacher we have never met,

But teaching us to fish?  That takes the cake!

Still, at your bidding we’ll let down the net.”

(I don’t know why we’re doing this.  I’ll bet

He’s never fought this hard to stay awake.

We’ve toiled all night and caught no fish as yet.)

And yet, somehow I don’t think we’ll regret

Obeying him, though seaweed’s all we’ll take.

So, “At your bidding we’ll let down the net.”

Then, without warning, every line was set

So taut we were afraid the line would break:

We’d toiled all night and caught no fish as yet,

But, at his bidding, we let down the net.

Remember: for more poetry like this, go to https://lanternhollow.wordpress.com/store/ and order Stars Through the Clouds! Also look for Inklings of Reality and Reflections from Plato’s Cave, Williams’ newest books from Lantern Hollow Press: Evangelical essays in pursuit of Truth, Goodness, and Beauty.  And look for Williams’ very latest book, Deeper Magic: The Theology behind the Writings of C. S. Lewis, from Square Halo Books!

Donald T. Williams, PhD