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CXXII

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.”

NOVEMBER

Underfoot, the leaves are damp and cold

Which yesterday were dancing with the breeze

In flashing pirouettes of red and gold

Set loose from still abundant canopies.

But now the bare-boned outlines of the trees

Are etched in black across a slate-gray sky.

The wind feels like a prelude to a freeze;

It may bring sleet when next it passes by.

It’s not the first time leaves have had to die:

The wind has sung their funeral dirge before,

But now it seems like every year that cry

Comes sooner and we seem to feel it more;

For every cycle has a single thrust:

What’s born of earth must soon return to dust.

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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CXXXIII

 

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.”

Observation of nature concretely portrayed and mediated through metaphor in lyrical language:  If you can put all of that together you might almost verge on myth.  What I just wrote sounds pretentious, doesn’t it?  Let us then emphasize the word verge.

leafburning3

Autumn Ritual

Sonnet XLIII

A ceaseless motion, hub and rim and spoke:

The colors turn in endless cycles ‘round

From gold, to green, to yellow or red, to brown

On birch and chestnut, maple, elm, and oak.

Although the mists of time their movements cloak,

They do not rest for long upon the ground:

From earth, to roots, to branches; then back down

They dance in air , or up again in smoke.

leafburning1

So what becomes of those we pile and burn?

Trees owe the gods a tithe of what they make;

We send the offering up for them with rake

And match, ensuring that the wheel will turn

Once more from gold, to green, to red, to brown,

From earth, to roots, to branches, then back down.

Autumn3

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.

Donald T. Williams, PhD

CXXI

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.”

As I said, any excuse will do for a pun.  This time you have to wait for it to the last line.

Autumn1

Reds

Sonnet XXXVIII

 

Red: flash of cardinal, barely seen;

Red: leaves of Maple, flecked with flame;

Red: Dogwood berries (leaves still green);

Red: other leaves without a name.

Red:  mountain apples, cheap to buy;

Red: candy apples at the fair;

Red: clouds across the evening sky;

Red: children’s cheeks in frosty air.

Autumn3

Red: Sumac’s many-fingered hand;

Red:  as always, by the road, the clay;

Red: flannel pajamas, sooner than planned;

Red: flames on hearth at close of day.

Red: different shades and hues, but all

Read: glory of a Georgia fall.

Autumn2

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.

Donald T. Williams, PhD

InklingsofReality5c

High Trinity: Now I lay me down to sleep

“But these are all dead, and I am alive!” I objected, shuddering.

“Not much,” rejoined the sexton with a smile, “—not nearly enough! Blessed be the true life that the pauses between its throbs are not death!”

“The place is too cold to let one sleep!” I said.

“Do these find it so?” he returned. “They sleep well—or will soon. Of cold they feel not a breath: it heals their wounds.—Do not be a coward, Mr. Vane. Turn your back on fear, and your face to whatever may come. Give yourself up to the night, and you will rest indeed. Harm will not come to you, but a good you cannot foreknow.”

George MacDonald, Lilith ch. vii (1895).

The other night I fell asleep with my windows open. A refreshing chill awakened me. Summer’s days were numbered. Autumn was literally in the air.

Vigorously as I maintain that spring is the joy and crown of the seasons, I have come to appreciate the retreat of summer before the advance of autumn.  There are obvious reasons for this: crisp air, golden afternoons, brilliant leaves. Thautumn washout gqpere are, however, less obvious reasons: lengthening shadows, shortening days, death. If spring’s motif is resurrection, autumn’s motif is death. What is the succession of changing leaves but a vivid death march, with the brilliant maples in the vanguard and the subdued crimson of the stately oaks holding the rearguard? And, when the last of the oak leaves has given up the ghost, what remains on the branches? Thousands of magnificent little death monuments, the bronzed beech leaves.

For the conclusion of last year’s Trinity season, I wrote a paean to maturity under the sun.  Under the sun, though, what follows maturity? Death. In embracing the former, we cannot help but receive the latter — to lay down in the cold, not knowing when we will rise.

In the merciful providence of God we need not flee the brilliance or the cold of advancing death.  This thing, which once was our dread enemy, has been conquered by a Man. It is now His instrument for cleansing the old earth’s palate for the new earth, and our palate for the resurrection. Just as sleep has ever been His instrument for cleansing our palates for the new day, and autumn His instrument for cleansing the world’s palate for the freshness of spring.

LXIX

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.”

One of the fringe benefits of being back in Georgia was that Autumn could now be properly enjoyed—and properly anticipated—again.

A PREMONITION

The first fain hint that Fall is coming soon

(It’s in the evening that you mostly feel it,

Or early morning, for the sun by noon

Will be reminding you that it’s still summer)

Is not the leaves.  Much as they were in June,

You still can see them in their best green raiment.

A barely perceptible sharpness in the moon,

An unexplained desire to breathe more deeply,

An unheard modulation in the tune

The wind sings on its way down from the mountains:

Not singly, but yet somehow in their blending,

They whisper of another summer’s ending.

Remember: for more poetry like this, go to https://www.createspace.com/3562314 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.  https://www.createspace.com/3767346.

Donald T. Williams, PhD