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.”

They say that the Italian sonnet should rise and break like an ocean wave, so I suppose it makes an appropriate form for this poem.  The waves and the shell in question were on the beach of St. Simons Island on the Georgia coast.  The time was 1984, but could have been today or any day.  The poem appeared in Eternity Magazine, Feb. 1986, p. 24.


Time at the Seaside

Sonnet XLII


The beach curves away forever, winding

Its arms around the rear horizon, vast

In reach as is the ocean flowing past.

The waves curve and break, forever finding

The sand, and in their surging ever grinding

To smoothness shell and hull and sunken mast

Until they wear to nothingness at last,

While still the waves roll on—the law is binding.


And I have seen the shell upon the shore

Too often swept away by waves and slammed

Back sandward past all smoothing, ‘til it crumbles

To dust and dullness, is a shell no more.

It’s more than just the vastness here that humbles:

It’s this bright hardness to the same fate damned.


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


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