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.”

Wordsworth thought Nature could teach us positive wisdom.  “One impulse from a vernal wood” could teach us more of “moral evil and of good” than all the sages.  I’ve never been able to derive that kind of positive propositional content from her (see entries XXIX and XLVI), but our observations of Nature can at times lead us to questions that are better perhaps than answers themselves.

Forest edge in summer. Wind Cave National Park, South Dakota, USA.
Forest edge in summer. Wind Cave National Park, South Dakota, USA.

A Question for Modern Men

Sonnet XXXIX

Every year the forest rains its leaves

And sleeps, and then starts over on a new

Springtime wardrobe.  Every day the dew

Catches sunlight, cufflinks on the sleeves

Of green along the arms that hold the eaves

Of the wood aloft.  Every hour the hue,

Leaf green, brown trunk, or shadowed depths of blue,

Reblends and shifts with light that each receives.


And whence is all this growth and all this change

Within such stubborn permanence of place?

Where every seed and leaf alights by chance,

What Virtue has the potence to arrange

The whole with such inevitable grace

And cadence Chaos into such a dance?


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.

Donald T. Williams, PhD

Stars Through the Clouds


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