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 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 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





As we move toward the traditional day for the celebration of our Lord’s birth, let’s follow two lines of questioning that move together to converge on the stable that morning.


                                    From the initial moment of surprise

By piercing light they never had expected,

The Magi mulled the meaning of the skies.

Was the betrayal worse, or were the lies?

What in her swelling belly he’d detected

Joseph couldn’t find in Mary’s eyes,

And that was puzzling.  Puzzling to the Wise

Men were their stumbling thoughts as they reflected

Deeply on the meaning of the skies.

Joseph made them gentle, his good-byes,

Turned sadly from the girl he had selected,

Still haunted by the tears that filled her eyes.

Who knows what led those scholars to surmise

The answer to the problem they’d dissected

And journey toward the meaning of the skies?

An angel and his faith made Joseph prize

The woman he had earlier rejected.

The Magi mulled the meaning of the skies,

But Joseph saw the Star in Mary’s eyes.

For more poetry like this, go to and order STARS THROUGH THE CLOUDS: THE COLLECTED POETRY OF DONALD T. WILLIAMS (Lynchburg: Lantern Hollow Press, 2011).