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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 was so glad to get back to Georgia after my sojourn in Indiana and Illinois.  I didn’t  so much mind the cold of those winters (OK, I did, sometimes), and I actually enjoyed the snow.  The problem was the way winter refuses to end up there!  When this Georgia boy was ready to see some dogwoods and azaleas blooming, there was still two more months of dreariness to be endured, with nothing green to be seen anywhere!

 

“SPRING” IN THE UPPER MIDWEST

Forty degrees and gray and misting rain,

The sunrise just a lessening of gloom

(You’d hardly call it light) to say that Time

Had not yet wholly failed in its refrain.

Back home the dogwood trees would be in bloom;

Here snowdrifts linger, crusted o’er with grime.

So ends the pure white promise of December:

In April slush and mud it meets its doom–

And we can’t seem to make ourselves remember

Another season or another clime.

We know there once was sunlight; we assume

Somewhere above the clouds, in joy sublime,

It reigns.  But we need faith to fan the embers

Of hope down in this dank and dismal tomb.

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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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 morning in question was May 13, 1978, in case anyone is keeping track.

June2010 074

As Fresh as May Morning

I find myself increasingly in favor of this weather,

Glad that there should be such things as billowing pecan trees,

That every leaf should wildly dance with the wind in gay abandon

While the dark and somber pine trees pretend to take no notice

But the bright, elfin sun-beams dart about and take in everything,

Especially the diamonds bestowed upon the grass

By the largesse of the thunderstorm that lately rumbled past.

 June2010 034

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. 

Sprintummer: How Much We Rely on The Shake of His Mane

Springtime in Virginia!

Springtime in Virginia!

Virginia has endured some incredible, bizarre, and unpredictable weather over the last couple of months.  I have dubbed it The Year of the Sprintummer.  Just as the last of the cold, wet stuff had seeped into the cool earth and the trees had begun to unfurl the first timid buds, the clouds discovered that they had previously unnoticed reservoirs of ice and snow yet to dump on us; the winds, which were becoming almost zephyrous devolved once again into arctic blasts; and the wretched flora (as well as a few unfortunate Virginians like myself) became crystallized in the onslaught.

Long-suffering, we walk shivering in snow or sleet or freezing winds and think that we cannot even remember what this magical thing called warm feels like.  And then, somewhere between a chilly sunset and a gentle sunrise, the weather has changed.  Suddenly, it is warm.  No, it is hot and we are buying ice creams and frolicking in meadows wearing sandals and listening to birds singing and frogs chirring and flowers blossoming.  Yes, you can practically hear the flowers shaking off the cold and spreading their petals once more.

And then you hear them start to wilt as the blazing heat threatens to finish what last week’s chill began.  Flowers can never catch a break.

Sprintummer: when summer and winter engage in a war for supremacy in the middle of spring.

And all we wanted was to be able to go outside without mittens.

flowers in the woodsI think the most frustrating thing about this confusing season is that we are missing the magic of spring.  There is something supremely and subtly dramatic in the casting off of winter and the coming of the new season.  It isn’t supposed to happen all at once and skip straight to summer.  Winter is not supposed to regain its hold all of a sudden.  The perfect spring is a slow progression of cold to cool to mild to warm.  It is a beautiful shift from whites and grays to greens and violets and yellows and pinks.flowering tree old building

What we really want is to see the world resurrect in slow motion, a little bit more every time we wake up, until it has become truly alive again.  The profound change from death to life has been translated into many myths.  Unfortunate Persephone’s forced marriage with Hades sends her down into “death” and back into “life” in an eternal cycle that manifests in the changing of the seasons.

But the more appropriate story, of course, is the coming of Aslan:

Wrong will be right, when Aslan shows his might,

At the sounds of his roar, sorrows will be no more

When he bares his teeth, winter meets its death

And when he shakes his mane, we shall have spring again. (The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe)

springtime in paris

Springtime in Paris

I suppose in Narnia, after that hundred year winter, they deserved the speedily delivered spring.  But it was spring, not summer, not Sprintummer.  It was spring.  We look at the world being renewed and we see life after death: the bare bones of “dead” trees become verdant and green and the hard, brown earth erupts with colors.  If you live somewhere with four seasons, perhaps you share this sense that spring is special.  It promises relief, beauty, and pleasure.

It also represents the end of a very great and dreadful Winter two thousand years ago;  and it promises us a final, glorious spring when the Lion will move with infinite power and shake His mane once more on the winter of this world.

So, in conclusion, there is something seriously wrong with this whole Sprintummer thing.  Aslan would not approve.

Vienna in the spring

Vienna in the spring

LVIII

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.”

 

With Spring comes planting, and then Summer and harvest.

 

ON THE BIRTH OF AN ACORN SQUASH PLANT

 

In hurricane or earthquake, Nature’s power

Is less seen than when newborn leaves uncoil:

A thousand cells dividing every hour,

Their seeming effortlessness cloaking toil—

God’s glory pushes upward through the soil,

 

And pushes on, in ever creeping lines

And swelling gourds with sweetness to be filled

By Time and Rain and Sunlight and the Vine’s

Inscrutable photosynthesizing skill—

The Glory of God spreads out around the hill.

 

Remember: for more poetry like this, go to https://www.createspace.com/3562314 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.  https://www.createspace.com/3767346.

 

Donald T. Williams, PhD

LVII

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.”

 

OK, it’s still February and still technically winter.  But Spring deserves lots of celebration (and anticipation), especially when you have to wait as long for it as I did in the middle seventies when I was living north of Chicago.  The seasons were made to speak to us of spiritual realities.  And so we have:

 

A POEM FOR PENTECOST SUNDAY (1975)

 

There is in Nature a strange ability

Given to the first young leaves in Springtime

To catch and hold the golden, streaming sunlight

And slowly release it back into the morning.

Each then becomes a burning tongue of fire,

Glowing green with oak or elm impatience

To get on with its summer occupation

Of turning into tree the soil and water

Sent up by roots, those ever-stretching branches

That search as far beneath the soil for water

As those above seek in the sky for sunlight.

These flame-tongued leaves are also tongues for speaking.

Are they moved by, or do they more, the breezes

That fan out, gently heralding the Springtime?

At any rate, it’s sure they pass the message.

From South to North, from tree to tree, they whisper,

“Awaken, for the Spring is surely coming!”

And slowly northward, like a swelling sea-wave,

Gently flows the glad rebirth of Nature.

God made her thus; so ‘twas no accident

That first by tongues of fire the message spread

That Man could be reborn—that Death was dead!

 

Remember: for more poetry like this, go to https://www.createspace.com/3562314 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.  https://www.createspace.com/3767346.

 

Donald T. Williams, PhD