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OH SIGHT BEYOND ALL SEEING

The wrapping paper is burnt, the toys assembled, and the turkey or ham just about digested, as life starts returning to normal.  But after the first Christmas, life has never returned to normal.  Let’s think about what it means one more time before turning to the New Year.

OH SIGHT BEYOND ALL SEEING

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.

 

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.

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, 2016, from Square Halo Books!

Donald T. Williams, PhD

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CLXXXII

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 sufferings of Christ on the Cross at that singular moment of space-time history were sufficient to pay for all our sins forever.  But they strangely do not end, not yet.  For He suffers continually along with His persecuted people, asking Saul why he was persecuting Him—and He feels acutely also the wounds they inflict upon themselves.  What the ultimate purpose of these additional sufferings is we do not know.  But they certainly serve to highlight the depths of Christ’s identification with His people.

Crucifixion-Glass 

COMMENTARY, HEB. 6:6

 

Behold it, battered beyond recognition:

It gazes, hardly human, through the thorns.

Weeping tears of shame, yet still it scorns

To call down angels and abort the mission.

Wonder, then, how long in this condition

It can endure to be so bruised and torn,

To bear fresh wounds on those already born

And still remain strung up on exhibition.

 

The world looks on and thinks it comprehends:

“Another Promise failed, a Name besmirched;

So must all false Messiahs make amends.”

You recognize, impaled upon its perch,

The Body of our Savior?  Oh, my friends—

This is the other Body of Christ:  the Church.

 

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

CLX

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.”

What might the Centurion in charge of the Crucifixion of Jesus have been thinking?  What got him to say, “Surely this man was the Son of God!”

"Gordon's Calvary"

“Gordon’s Calvary”

THE CENTURION SPEAKS

Sonnet XLIX

 

No question but it was a dirty job.

The scourging by itself was bad enough;

To drive the spikes, though, really takes a tough

And calloused character.  The women sob,

The victim screams, and even as the mob

Cries out for more, men wince.  The really rough

Part comes when all four soldiers huff and puff

To raise upright the heavy wooden stob,

 

For then the man’s own weight begins to work:

The tendons crack, the flesh begins to tear—

And when he thinks it’s more than he can bear,

They drop him in the socket with a jerk.

And after we did that, he said (It’s true!),

“Forgive them, for they know not what they do.”

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.  And look for Williams’ very latest book, Deeper Magic: The Theology behind the Writings of C. S. Lewis, due out Sept. 30, 2016, from Square Halo Books!

Donald T. Williams, PhD

Book-CSLTheology-Cover

CXLVII

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 all kinds of ways to generate poetic structure and content.  Some of them count more than others.

Crucifixion-Glass

COUNTING POEM

One Person, two natures, three Persons, one God;

Four Gospels, four portraits, one Person—it’s odd.

Five wounds on one body; six days and then one,

Morning and night since the world was begun.

The stars of the sky and the sands of the sea:

Twelve tribes, one people, redeemed and set free.

Sixty-six books, forty men, many ages,

But only one message in all of its pages:

One Lord, one Faith, one Baptism, one

Way to the Father in Heaven: the Son.

ResurrectionJesus-998x665

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, due out Sept. 1, 2016, from Square Halo Books!

Donald T. Williams

CXXXVI

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.”

A seldom seen form utilized by Gerard Manley Hopkins in “Pied Beauty” is the “curtal sonnet.” It’s a shorter, more compact version of the Italian sonnet, with groups of six and five lines instead of the traditional octave and sextet.  So you have eleven lines of iambic pentameter rhyming ABCABC, then DBCDC, with the last line cut off to only one or two feet.

Hopkins

Hopkins

One of the effects to which the curtal sonnet lends itself is the powerful concentration of meaning you can get in that last, short line, if you set it up properly.  Let’s see if I did it here.

 

“SURELY, THIS MAN WAS . . .”

THE CENTURION SPEAKS

Curtal Sonnet # 4

 

Things are not always what they seem:  We drove

The spikes through wrist and ankle bones to bind

The criminals upon the cross.  We spliced

Their flesh to wood with iron; thus we strove

To make secure what fates the gods had twined—

And generally that view of things sufficed.

 

But that last Jew clean put me at a loss

To tell what held up what.  Have I gone blind?

No!  I would swear that, when he paid the price,

I saw the world suspended by the cross

From Christ.

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.