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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.”

What is poetry?  Why does it matter? Listen to the king’s bard:

SOME REAL MAGIC

Taliessin Lectureth in the School of the Poets

Within the cadences of human speech

Attentive listeners can sometimes hear

The rhythm of the wave upon the beach

Or listen to the music of the spheres.

Within the small sphere of the human eye

The watcher who knows how to look can see

A spirit that’s as lofty as the sky

Or humble as the lover on his knee.

When in the alembic of the human mind

Imagination boils with memory,

Such vision with such sound can be combined,

Far more mysterious than alchemy!

The Philosopher’s Stone we vainly sought of old

Could never have made such rare and costly gold.

For more about Taliessin, order Stars Through the Clouds!

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 books: Deeper Magic: The Theology behind the Writings of C. S. Lewis (Baltimore: Square Halo Books, 2016), An Encouraging Thought: The Christian Worldview in the Writings of L. R. R. Tolkien (Cambridge, OH: Christian Publishing House, 2018), and The Young Christian’s Survival Guide: Common Questions Young Christians Are Asked about God, the Bible, and the Christian Faith Answered (Cambridge, OH: Christian Publishing House, 2019)!  Order from the publisher or Amazon.

294

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 STAKES:

A Small but Neglected Part

We flash through time and hardly leave a trace.

If one could somehow capture in a jar

The final photon of a dying star

That traveled for millennia through space

To end its pilgrimage in such a place,

And watch it flicker out, alone and far

From home:  a fleeting glimpse of what we are?

Say what we would be were it not for grace.

 

The lovely things that pass before our eyes

Would fade as if they’d never even been

As quickly as the mind that holds them dies,

And we would know that darkness as the end

We travel to.  If Christ did not arise,

We’re truly the most miserable of men.

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 books: Deeper Magic: The Theology behind the Writings of C. S. Lewis (Baltimore: Square Halo Books, 2016), An Encouraging Thought: The Christian Worldview in the Writings of L. R. R. Tolkien (Cambridge, OH: Christian Publishing House, 2018), and The Young Christian’s Survival Guide: Common Questions Young Christians Are Asked about God, the Bible, and the Christian Faith Answered (Cambridge, OH: Christian Publishing House, 2019)!  Order from the publisher or Amazon.

293

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 original Fundamentalists were so known for their defense of the “Fundamentals” of the Christian faith.  They needed defending (and still do).  Some of their defenders even embodied them.  Others sadly defended the truth about Christ in a decidedly un-Christlike manner, and they bequeathed their reputation to the movement and the the connotations attaching to its name.  If only we could recapture what was right about fundamentalism without bringing along the unfortunate baggage they added!  Could this sonnet be a start?

J. Gresham Machen–a Fundamentalist who avoided the movement’s pitfalls

THE RISE AND FALL OF PROTESTANT FUNDAMENTALISM

Christ’s virgin birth, His deity, His cross,

His Word, His resurrection, His return:

Could these be given up without the loss

Of Christian faith itself?  was the concern

Of those first known as “Fundamentalist.”

If their descendants’ words have proved uncouth

As if their mind had closed up like a fist,

At least they started caring for the Truth.

It’s one of mankind’s greatest tragedies

Beyond the power of the tongue to tell,

This hardening of mental arteries

Within a movement that began so well.

What they forgot should be like hand in glove:

Truth is not Truth unless we speak in love.

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 books: Deeper Magic: The Theology behind the Writings of C. S. Lewis (Baltimore: Square Halo Books, 2016), An Encouraging Thought: The Christian Worldview in the Writings of L. R. R. Tolkien (Cambridge, OH: Christian Publishing House, 2018), and The Young Christian’s Survival Guide: Common Questions Young Christians Are Asked about God, the Bible, and the Christian Faith Answered (Cambridge, OH: Christian Publishing House, 2019)!  Order from the publisher or Amazon.

292

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.”

BOXING DAY:  Some of us will not put away the tinsel until after New Year’s Day, but the day after Christmas threatens to be a let-down after all the buildup.  But we should be just as grateful for our friends and family and their gifts (the ones we haven’t taken back to the store), and above all for the Gift of our Savior.  It’s easy to feel such things on the day itself.  Most of life presents us with the challenge that Boxing Day brings into focus, so it is a day we should make good use of.  For some, that challenge is especially intense.  For Dante in exile from Florence, life as a whole must have seemed like a huge let-down.  Yet no one accomplished more poetically than he did.  Hmmm.

Dante 

EXILE

Dante knew how salt could be the bread,

How steep the stair,

How hard the bed

Within the stranger’s house to which he’d fled,

Despite how well-intentioned, kind, and fair

The welcome there.

And I myself have seen, a time or two,

That puzzled stare,

Uncomprehending,

Condescending,

From one you would have thought would have a clue

Why I pursue

The things for which I seem compelled to care.

But Dante knew:

We who are Pilgrims must be Strangers here,

Where kindred minds are far between and few.

That much is clear.

Beatrice, Symbol for Dante of Divine Beauty and Grace

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 books: Deeper Magic: The Theology behind the Writings of C. S. Lewis (Baltimore: Square Halo Books, 2016), An Encouraging Thought: The Christian Worldview in the Writings of L. R. R. Tolkien (Cambridge, OH: Christian Publishing House, 2018), and The Young Christian’s Survival Guide: Common Questions Young Christians Are Asked about God, the Bible, and the Christian Faith Answered (Cambridge, OH: Christian Publishing House, 2019)!  Order from the publisher or Amazon.

Advent, 2019

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.”

We interrupt this poetic history to celebrate the coming of Christ, which we commemorate next week.  Let’s see if we can put ourselves back into the scene of the old story so that its full impact hits us again, despite our familiarity with its details.  Naturally, a Petrarchan Sonnet is just the way to do that.

Star which marks the traditional site of the manger

THE IRONY

The shepherds had no word for paradox

(A learned term), but scratching of the head

Was something that they knew, and as they sped

Toward Bethlehem, abandoning their flocks,

And stumbling in their haste upon the rocks,

They did some over what the angel’d said:

Messiah in a manger for a bed?

A king whose courtiers were ass and ox?

 

Perhaps the biggest part of the surprise

Was that they were the ones who should be told:

This savior did not seem to fit the mold

Constructed by the Mighty and the Wise.

To stable smells and angels’ caroling,

Condemned and incognito came the King.

The Shepherds’ Field, from 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.  And look for Williams’ very latest books, Deeper Magic: The Theology behind the Writings of C. S. Lewis (Baltimore: Square Halo Books, 2016), An Encouraging Thought: The Christian Worldview in the Writings of J. R. R. Tolkien (Cambridge, OH: Christian Publishing House, 2018), and The Young Christian’s Survival Guide: Common Questions Young Christians are Asked about God, the Bible, and the Christian Faith Answered (Cambridge, OH: Christian Publishing House, 2019).