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CLXXXVIII

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 last line of the sonnet from last week was too good to be used just once, so naturally I made it one of the repeater lines of a villanelle.

 

THE PARADOX

The irony: the angels came to sing

To shepherds, while the scribes slept through the night

Condemned, and incognito came the king.

The Magi came from far away to bring

Gold, frankincense, and myrrh, and learn by sight

The irony the angels came to sing.

Herod found no humor in the thing,

And Joseph woke from sleep to sudden flight,

Condemned and incognito, from the king.

Mary found it food for pondering,

And often in her heart she would recite

The irony the angels came to sing.

But there would be no final reckoning

Of what it meant, ‘til up Golgotha’s height,

Condemned and incognito, came the king.

And now it’s left for us by faith to cling

To him whose empty tomb brought full to light

The irony the angels came to sing:

Condemned and incognito came the King.

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

 

 

CLXXXVII

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.”

Let’s see if we can put ourselves back into the scene of the old story so that its full impact hits us again, despite our familiarity with its details.  Naturally, a Petrarchan Sonnet is just the way to do that.

 

THE IRONY

The shepherds had no word for paradox

(A learned term), but scratching of the head

Was something that they knew, and as they sped

Toward Bethlehem, abandoning their flocks,

And stumbling in their haste upon the rocks,

They did some over what the angel’d said:

Messiah in a manger for a bed?

A king whose courtiers were ass and ox?

 

Perhaps the biggest part of the surprise

Was that they were the ones who should be told:

This savior did not seem to fit the mold

Constructed by the Mighty and the Wise.

To stable smells and angels’ caroling,

Condemned and incognito came the King.

A Cave in Bethlehem, like the one where Jesus was born

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

Merry Christmas!

Oh Sight beyond all Seeing

BethlehemStar2

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Oh Sight beyond all seeing,

Light in the dark of the sun,

Fact behind the face of Being,

Second of Three in the One:

What motive could have moved you hither thus?

The Life that was ever begotten, never begun,

Began to be born, to mourn.  For us

The daring deed was done.

Traditional Site of the Manger, marked by a Star in Bethlehem's Church of the Nativity

Traditional Site of the Manger, marked by a Star in Bethlehem’s Church of the Nativity

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Burned by angel-light,

The shepherds’ eyes were blind

To everything except the sight

That they went forth to find.

It was a Baby wrapped in swaddling clothes,

Laid in a manger: such had been the sign.

The sign they saw by then still shows

The perilous paths that wind

 

Between the Tree and the Tree

This much the sign makes clear:

The Light invisible we see,

The silent Word we hear.

What motive could have moved Him hither thus?

We hear pegs pounded, see the thrusted spear,

We hear, “Forgive them!”  Now for us

The day of doom draws near.

Crucifixion-Glass

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

Cartoon-BethStar

XCIX (Christmas Post 2014)

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 was a fairly early sonnet, but I still think it’s one of my best.  It stems from the fact that Bethlehem in Hebrew (Beth Lechem) means “House of Bread.”  And so, some two millennia ago, it came to be.  The poem was in New Oxford Review, Jan.-Feb., 1982, p. 31.

A Cave in Bethlehem, like the one where Jesus was born

A Cave in Bethlehem, like the one where Jesus was born

Bethlehem

Sonnet XXXII

 

Bethlehem, Beth Lechem, House of Bread:

Your white stones waited silent in the sun

For long years (long as people feel them run).

The prophets wrote no more; the Rabbis read

The old words and unraveled every thread

And found your secret out:  You were the one.

Yet when the time can and the thing was done,

They spent the night at home asleep in bed.

 

Oh, they could put their fingers on the pages

That told the old fox Herod it was you.

But those uncircumcised, stargazing sages

Came first, and shepherds, wet with evening dew

Had long since been there, and had all been fed

In Bethlehem, Beth Lechem, House of Bread.

The Shepherd's Field, seen from modern Bethlehem

The Shepherd’s Field, seen from modern Bethlehem

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.

InklingsofReality5c

Donald T. Williams, PhD

Bethlehem

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 was a fairly early sonnet, but I still think it’s one of my best.  It stems from the fact that Bethlehem in Hebrew (Beth Lechem) means “House of Bread.”  And so, some two millennia ago, it came to be.  The poem was in New Oxford Review, Jan.-Feb., 1982, p. 31.

 BethlehemStar2

Bethlehem

Sonnet XXXII

Bethlehem, Beth Lechem, House of Bread:

Your white stones waited silent in the sun

For long years (long as people feel them run).

The prophets wrote no more; the Rabbis read

The old words and unraveled every thread

And found your secret out:  You were the one.

Yet when the time can and the thing was done,

They spent the night at home asleep in bed.

Oh, they could put their fingers on the pages

That told the old fox Herod it was you.

But those uncircumcised, stargazing sages

Came first, and shepherds, wet with evening dew,

Had long since been there, and had all been fed

In Bethlehem, Beth Lechem, House of Bread.

Cartoon-BethStar

Remember: for more poetry like this, go to https://lanternhollow.wordpress.com/store/ 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.

Donald T. Williams, PhD