Category Archives: Theology

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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CCVI 

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.”

Dante

VISION

For what did Dante climb the winding stair?

A burning and a piercing Charity

That flamed with geometric clarity—

Not Beatrice, but what she wished to share.

She was the first, but not the Final Vision;

Although her face was what had fueled his flight,

Her purpose was to help him to prepare

‘Til, in the deepest bosom of the night,

With certain and inexorable precision,

He saw the Point of unrelenting Light,

Infinitely small—and infinitely bright.

Beatrice

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

CLXXXXII

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.”

 Saul’s conversion experience on the Road to Damascus hanged him from a persecutor of the Christian church to its greatest missionary; it changed him from Saul the Pharisee to Paul the Apostle; it eventually changed the church from a Jewish sect to a universal faith; and thus it changed the world.  Let’s try to get inside his head via a villanelle:

ROAD TO DAMASCUS

“I am Jesus whom you persecute.”

“If you’re the Christ, why isn’t Israel free?”

I’d thought it something he could not refute.

He did not argue;   he was almost mute,

His searing radiance just content to be:

“I am Jesus whom you persecute.”

And I was on a journey, resolute

To stamp his sect out once and finally.

Death was an answer that they could not refute!

But how they faced it shook me to the root,

And now this Flame was burning into me,

“I am Jesus whom you persecute.”

Gamaliel had taught me all the fruit

That reason could produce–a Pharisee,

I had traditions no one could refute–

But now it was all burning into soot,

The Fire blinding me so I could see:

I Am Jesus whom you persecute.”

It was a Reason I could not refute.

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

CLXXXXII

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.”

 Plato started a lot of conversations that he couldn’t finish.  He was trying to find the universal and the absolute by looking in the wrong place.  He sought well, but the final answer was beyond his grasp.  But he sets the questions up better than anyone.  What if there was someone who could come into Plato’s Cave from the outside world of the sun?   What then?

Plato

REFLECTIONS FROM PLATO’S CAVE

The fleeting shadows flow across the wall;

That’s all we know.  We think they may arise

Outside our minds, and bring before our eyes

Some glimpse of Truth–but by the time they fall

To us, a faint and hieroglyphic scrawl

Is all that’s left.  We try to analyze,

Deduce from patterns what the shapes disguise–

They’re hard to catch and harder to recall.

 

We think reflections of Reality

Are cast by Sunlight shining–how we crave

To turn and look–but still we strive in vain.

No merely mortal man will ever see

Whether the Door behind us in the Cave

Is there, so firmly Fate has bound our chain.

 

So many years we strove against the chain

That gradually some gave up, and hope was dead.

“There is no Door; there is no Cave,” they said,

“No explanation, nothing to explain.

It’s just a game you play inside your brain:

All the poetry you’ve ever read

Makes chemical reactions in your head;

That’s all that Pleasure is, and also Pain.”

 

What of the Beautiful, the True, the Good?

“They’re all illusions; they are all the same,

Sounds upon the wind, an empty name,

And that is all that can be understood.”

But then the rule that says that nothing’s true

Must be applied to their denial too!

 

So hope could not completely be denied.

Yet still the shadows flicker on the wall,

And we’re not certain what they mean at all

In spite of every theory we have tried.

If only one of us could get outside

Into the Light that fills that vaster hall

And not go blind, but come back and recall

For us the land where the True Shapes abide!

 

If only–but the ancient Grecian knew

No way that it could be.  It seemed absurd

To hope or to despair.  So still the True

Was but in shadows seen, in echoes heard–

Until the birth of a barbaric Jew

Who was in the Beginning; was the Word.

The Word

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

CLXXXIX

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.”

 Jesus loved to answer questions with a question.  All of his together raise one more for us.

COMING

By every dead and risen corn of grain,

By every word of prophecy declared,

By every lamb on every altar slain,

By every scapegoat led away and spared,

He came to people who had been prepared.

 

By all the suffering multitudes he healed,

By all the simple parables he taught,

By lost sheep and the lilies of the field,

By his friendship with Iscariot,

He came to them–and they received him not.

 

By all the prophets and apostles said,

By every thought that ever has been true,

By every drop of blood the martyrs shed,

By every spring when life begins anew,

He comes to us–and now, what will we do?

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