Category Archives: Poetry

CLXXXVI

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 trick in writing a good villanelle is to make the repeater lines varied without being varied.  Note here how the line “The glory latent in the flesh: a rose” has exactly the same words but is punctuated differently each time it appears.  And then in the last line, the pun in the division of the world arose carries the weight of the entire development.  I was pleased with how this villanelle turned out.  See if you are.

FIRSTFRUITS 2

The saints believe what every lover knows

Who, gazing on one face, can plainly see

The glory latent in the flesh: a rose.

If Love is what leads lovers to compose

Their songs of praise and deeds of charity,

Then saints believe what every lover knows.

The truth the Heavens declare, the Firmament shows,

To starry-eyed and moon-struck is most free:

The glory latent.  In the flesh, a rose

Can shine in cheeks as brightly and disclose

To opened eyes as deep a mystery

Which saints believe and every lover knows.

Yet ash to ash and dust to dust it goes,

An aching void its only legacy,

The glory latent in the flesh.  A rose

Will lose its petals, yet the Spring bestows

New life; but what hope for the flesh can be?

The saints believe what every lover knows:

The Glory latent in the Flesh arose.

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

CLXXXV

 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.”

“Brief and concise utterances fell from [Jesus], for he was no sophist, but his word was the power of God” (Justin Martyr).  Justin was right.  So let us try to emulate our Lord in our own words, especially our words about Him.

IN SHORT

The fullness of ages,

The smell of the hay;

The gifts of the Sages,

The dawning of day.

 

The river of Jordan,

The Voice from above;

The weight of the Burden,

The wing of the Dove.

 

The test of temptation,

The talk on the hill;

The waves’ inundation,

The lake water still.

 

The dough and the leaven,

The one missing sheep;

The treasure in Heaven,

The harvest to reap.

 

The tale for the mind,

The fishes, the bread;

The light of the blind,

The life of the dead.

 

The mountain of Zion,

The statement, “I Am!”

The heart of the Lion,

The blood of the Lamb.

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

CLXXXIV

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.”

There is a reason why certain literary motifs are old enough to have been named in the ancient tongue of Latin, yet still persist today.  It is the nature of our experience in time.  It is life.

Snow Wolf Lodge at Sunset in the Rockies

Snow Wolf Lodge at Sunset in the Rockies

LITERARY MOTIFS

Dusk to dusk and dawn to dawn,

Starlight, sunlight slip away.

Ubi Sunt, where have they gone?

All the sages cannot say.

 

Many things will be restored:

Sanctity in flesh of men;

But hours squandered from the hoard

Never will be seen again.

 

Ubi Sunt, where have they gone?

All the sages cannot say.

Hence the message of the dawn:

Carpe Diem!  Seize the day.

Donald T. Williams, PhD

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!

Book-CSLTheology-Cover

CLXXXIII  

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.”

I am, as those who follow this blog can tell, committed to playing tennis with a net.  I am devoted to meter and rhyme and to bringing traditional form back to life.  Nevertheless, I write one free-verse poem a decade, just to prove that I can.  On rare occasions, that is, free verse is the form (if you will pardon the expression) that is called for.  It is simply what the buzzards below asked of me.

 image-buzzard2

ECCENTRIC

The buzzards circled silently,

Hardly needing to move their wings at all.

There were four of them,

And I stood stone still in their midst.

They were intent on something,

And their circle narrowed;

And I stood stone still,

Hardly daring to breathe

As their many-fingered wings floated motionless,

Not even twenty feet from my face.

And the circle narrowed,

And I stood stone still.

And I was glad

To have beheld their gaunt, ungainly grace

As their circle narrowed

And I stood stone still;

And I rejoiced

To find myself alive and still

Somewhat removed from their center.

And I remembered

How the ancient theologians defined God as a circle

Whose center was everywhere and whose circumference

Was nowhere.

And I understood

That if a man can find his center there,

He need not then concern himself thereafter

With his relationship to any other circle.

And their circle narrowed,

And I stood . . .

Stone . . .

Still.

 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

Book-CSLTheology-Cover

CLXXX

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.”

 

Taliessin in Celtic lore and in Charles Williams’s Arthurian poetry is the bard at Arthur’s court, the king’s minstrel.  Here I use him as a symbol for my own relationship to a King even greater than Arthur.  That Christ should let any of us serve Him at all is a great mystery, a wonder worthy of song.

capture5

TALIESSIN REMINISCES

 

I was a Singer from my youth

In silence wandering;

I was a Seeker after Truth

On nothing pondering.

A student of the stars whose eyes

Were chained unto the earth;

An heir predestined to the Prize

Who could not come to birth.

 

A golden harp upon my back

On which no string was strung;

A scroll unwritten in my pack,

No music on my tongue:

Accoutered thus, through barren lands

I sought I knew not what–

‘Til, following unheard commands,

I came to Camelot.

 

What was it that you saw in me?

It couldn’t have been much:

A minstrel with no melody,

A harp no one could touch.

But I knew what I saw in you;

And all the passing years

Have only proved the vision true

Which first I glimpsed through tears.

 

What did I find in you, my King?

The song that I was born to sing!

And all the passing years

Have only proved the vision true

Which stung me first to tears.

capture9

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

Book-CSLTheology-Cover