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CCXI

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.”

Dr. Samuel Johnson, trying to read a Little Magazine

THE POETRY IN LITTLE MAGAZINES

(On the Limits of Imagism and Free Verse)

It struggles haphazardly across the page

In images unconnected by sound or sense.

At intervals, a gleam of freshness glints,

An accuracy of sight which could engage—

But it connects with nothing, does not lead

To anything which can be understood.

The Types—the True, the Beautiful, the Good—

Live not in the bare image; it must breed

With Mind until a Vision is engendered:

A Mediator, not a verbal trick,

To bridge the distance to the Ding an sich,

For only so can sanity be rendered—

When such a Child is born alive and quick.

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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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

XCII

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.”

When everybody else was abandoning iambic pentameter for free verse, Gerard Manley Hopkins dove even deeper into the metrical sea of poetry and came up with creative pearls we still haven’t caught up to. This tribute was in New Oxford Review, May, 1981.

Gerard Manley Hopkins

Gerard Manley Hopkins

To Gerard Manley Hopkins

Daylight’s dauphin, wanwood, diamond delves,
Mountain mind-cliffs, lightning, eyes of elves,
Finches’ wings or falcon’s, wolfsnow, wet
Weeds wildness by the burn-bank lingering yet,
Thoughts of Scotus, music of Purcell
Ring out like stones rim-tumbled in a well.
All are lead-golden echoes, all a view
Of Eden Garden, fresh when it was new
Or cursed and cancerous, fell with Adam’s fall,
Blasted with death’s dread worst despair—Not all
Is this the tale. Christ did for that he came,
Grace graces: thus He flings out broad His Name;
The Spirit boods still; brooded over you.
Your firedint, mark on mind is not yet through:
Still in your lines He flings it forth anew.

Hopkins at his Desk

Hopkins at his Desk

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

XXXI

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.”

To pursue the calling of a poet of any kind in today’s debased world is to tread a lonely path.  To attempt real poetry as opposed to the fractured prose known as free verse is to ask for automatic rejection by the literary establishment.  One has to get used to discouragement in order to persevere at all.  Yet an audience still exists, if only the editors and publishers (or their even more cynical financial and marketing departments) could find the faith to believe it.  My work has never overcome the dynamics of the age to be popular or even well known.  But I find just enough appreciative readers to keep me going in spite of the ever present cloud of near despair.

I don’t think that is what I was thinking about when I wrote this; but it is what I’m thinking about now.

SOLILOQUY

(Aragorn Speaks)

Hello, dog—you back again?

Well, come along; I need a friend.

Wish you could tell me where you’ve been

Or where’s your home.

I’ve been around and back again,

Mostly alone.

The paths I’ve taken have all been long;

My back is straight; my legs are strong;

But though I’ve battled all that’s wrong,

I have not won—

Except to save, here and there, a song

Or sight of the sun.

Remember: for more poetry like this, go to https://www.createspace.com/3562314 and order Stars Through the Clouds!

Donald T. Williams, PhD

X

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.”

 

O.K.  This next one shows I was still in the cummings period.  But I still think it has interesting imagery, and I still get the chill from it that I got that night.  The form of a poem is a receptacle for experience, a locket in which can be preserved both personal and cultural memory.  Even free verse can rise to that sometimes.

Night in Imladris

Tree . . .

wearing stars for rings on branching fingers,

misty cloud for shawl,

we stand and grow

together

for a moment

Donald T. Williams, PhD