Category Archives: Poetry

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.

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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.

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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

CLXXIX

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.”

TAKEOFF FROM LAGUARDIA

April, 1988

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The contrast: nothing could be more alluring

Than New York City shining in the last

Light of evening; nothing less enduring,

That vision off the wing-tip sliding past.

Her own lights are emerging like the slow

Stars above, but eyes are mainly drawn

To buildings like great tongues of flame that glow

Awhile in gathering darkness, and are gone.

At twilight, Manhattan resembles a vast living organism with ribbons of energy pulsing through its streets and up into its hundred thousand buildings.

At twilight, Manhattan resembles a vast living organism with ribbons of energy pulsing through its streets and up into its hundred thousand buildings.

We all have strained for visions in the embers—

They augur something, but who had the codes?

The eyes enjoy the sight; the mind remembers,

Below, the litter blowing in the roads.

The Light, then, and the Dark: but as we flew,

The vision slipped away; the darkness grew.

image-ny-air3

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

CLXXVIII  

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 great period of English hymnody was the Eighteenth Century during the First Great Awakening.  The four greatest hymn writers were Isaac Watts, John Newton, William Cowper, and Charles Wesley.  The people trying to write worship music today could learn a few things from those guys.  Think about the fact that Watts was also the author of a widely used logic textbook and Cowper an accomplished poet who would show up in English literature even if he had not written a single hymn.  That might tell you something about our current difficulties.

Isaac Watts

Isaac Watts

QUARTET

Newton, Cowper, Wesley, Watts

Worked within their garden plots;

Domesticated by their toil

Exotic plants in English soil:

Pungent spices, soothing balms,

Cadences of David’s psalms;

Parsley, sage, rosemary, thyme,

Words of God in English rhyme.

Charles Wesley

Charles Wesley

Weeded, hoed, the Garden bears

But few of thistles, thorns, or tares–

Rather, carrots, beans, and maize,

Solid sustenance of praise;

Waving grain and curling vine,

Wheat for bread and grapes for wine;

‘Most every plant beneath the sun–

But leeks and garlic grew they none.

John Newton

John Newton

Much sand now through the glass has spilled;

They lie beneath the ground they tilled.

But still the seeds they sowed abide

And thrive, transplanted far and wide:

Where e’er a congregation sings,

Anew from earth their produce springs.

Such honor still their Lord allots

To Newton, Cowper, Wesley, Watts.

William Cowper

William Cowper

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

CLXXVII

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 are no true paradoxes in Christianity because the God of the Bible is a God who cannot lie.  Therefore, no real contradiction can be so about Him (or anything He made).  But the richness and the depths of Christian truth are shown by the number of seemingly incompatible realities it manages to pull together into a harmony greater than the sum of its parts.

 

CONJUNCTION

At the fulcrum of the Cross

A host of concepts meet:

The Profit hidden in the Loss,

The Victory in Defeat.

Christ's Entry into Jerusalem by Hippolyte Flandrin c. 1842

The Acceptance, the Rejection;

The Worship and the Jeers;

The Freedom in Election,

The Ecstasy in Tears.

Crucifixion-Glass

The Mercy and the Justice;

The Human, the Divine;

Pilate;  Judas;  Jesus–

The broken Bread, the Wine.

LambVictor

 

The Maker of Orion,

The Victim of the Scam;

The Meekness of the Lion,

The glory of the Lamb.

aslan narnia snow winter

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