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.”

Just to prove that I did eventually learn to write real alliterative meter, we have the following paraphrase of the first Psalm.  Metrical paraphrases of the Psalms is a venerable poetic habit that has attracted talents as diverse as Sternhold and Hopkins or Sir Philip Sidney and the Countess of Pembroke.  I was ambitious enough to conceive this at the time as a project to do the whole Psalter in alliterative meter—but since that form is not terribly useful for modern hymnody, I never got any further with it.  Still, it was a useful exercise.




Happy is he    who has not walked

In godless roads    nor gone to stand

In stile of sinners,    seeking evil.

Sit he hath not    in scorner’s seat

Beguiling the witless.    But his delight

Is in his liege-Lord,    the Law, moreover,

The words of his mouth.    Whatsoever

Words Lord speaketh    will thane heed:

These thoughts he thinketh    than all others more,

By sunlight and moonlight    searching their meanings,

Adding to word-hoard    and to his stature.

A tree shall he be,    towering, strong,

Watered by rivers     of water sweet.

Fruit shall he bring    forth in his season,

Precious produce,    pleasing his master.

His leaf shall be green,    his life shall not wither,

And all that he doeth    ever shall prosper,

Blessed by his Lord.    But the ungodly

So shall not be.    Sifted are they

Like chaff in the wind;    chastisement just

Is then their lot.    Thus in the judgment

Down shall they fall,    nor dare they approach

The chosen people,    church of fair jesu.

The brightness of glory    would blind their eyes,

So long used to darkness.    The Lord doth know

The Way of the righteous,    and walketh himself

Therein with his servants,    than all lords ever

The noblest of noble,    knowing his thanes

As if they were sons.     But in the way

Where tread the ungodly    He turns not his face;

They will not receive him    and thus walk in darkness,

Servants of serpents     and sick to the death,

Forever they perish.    Forsake not these words!

Don’t forget: for more poetry like this, go to https://www.createspace.com/3562314 and order Stars Through the Clouds!

Donald T. Williams, PhD