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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

 

 

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CXXXII

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.”

See how long it takes you to discover what this poem is about.

Portrait-VirginMary1

The Moment

The seed had slept some fourteen years, but now

There was more than silent darkness:  something new,

A gentle motion, growing warmth.  Somehow

The tiny cell knew what it had to do:

Glide on and be receptive to its fate,

Either a greater change or death.  The girl

Felt nothing whatsoever when the weight

That counterpoises all the blazing swirl

Of suns we call the universe was pressed

To needle concentration down and driven

Into her belly.  She could not have guessed

The power of the gift so softly given;

The egg would never be the same again.

Painting-annunciation-Anon

It would have been annihilated by

The impact if the same force had not been

Within, sustaining.  Men who watched the sky

Were startled by a star they did not know;

The demons trembled and did not know why;

In Mary’s womb, the seed began to grow.

Painting-Annunciation-FraAngelico

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

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

Reflections

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.

REFLECTIONS

                                    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 https://lanternhollow.wordpress.com/store/ and order STARS THROUGH THE CLOUDS: THE COLLECTED POETRY OF DONALD T. WILLIAMS (Lynchburg: Lantern Hollow Press, 2011).