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.”

Ooh!  Ooh!  Ooh!  This is a double sonnet—not just two sonnets one after the other, but two sonnets functioning as a single poem.  The first line of the first is the last line of the second, and that last line of the first the first of the second.  You have noticed already that I get off on structural dovetailing like that—especially when I can make it work to support the flow of the thought through the whole piece.  Did I do that here?  Let’s find out.


That the Modern Scientific World-View, In its Euphoria over Learning

How to do Neat Things with Matter, Has Left Something out of the Equation

There was a time when men could see the sky,

A grand cathedral vaulted and ablaze

With myriad candles lifted up on high

By nights for Vespers; in the brighter days,

The great Rose Window eastward shed its rays

For Morning Prayer, and each and every flame

Burned eloquent in litanies of praise,

In fugues and canons to extol the Name.

But now the sky, though larger, is more tame,

And modern man sees what he’s taught to see:

Vast numbers are just numbers all the same,

Though multiplied toward infinity;

And quarks and quasars cannot speak to us

Except as agitated forms of dust.


Except as agitated forms of dust,

We don’t know how to know the thing we are:

The biochemistry of love is lust

As an atomic furnace is a star,

And all that’s known is particles at war.

And yet we do know love, and yet we know

That it and lust are infinitely far

Apart.  We know the stars and how they glow,

Though they know nothing of us here below.

So even while we’re slogging through the mire,

We cannot help ourselves, but as we go

We cock our heads to listen for the choir.

We know that half the truth is half a lie:

There was a time when men could see the sky.

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