Negative Capability

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.”

“Negative Capability” is a phrase Keats used for the ability of a poet to get himself out of the way and be absorbed completely in the  natural scene he is experiencing, and which he will eventually try to describe in his poem.  If you let yourself be absorbed in Scripture in the same way at the same time, the results could be life-changing.




Go to the ancient forest,

And there you will find your heart

Enthroned in a shrine of darkness

From which it can’t depart.


Go to the barren desert

Beneath the blazing sky;

You’ll find your heart is burning

With a flame that will not die.


Go to the trackless ocean,

And there beneath the waves

You’ll find your heart is drowning

In hollow emerald caves.


But go to Mount Golgotha,

Beneath the looming Cross,

And there your heart will fail you,

Born down by grief and loss.


And if Another’s pain there

Seems strangely like your own

And your heart cries, “Here I should

Have died, and I alone!”


Then go to the lonely Garden

Beside the graven Tomb,

And wait there in the silence

To abide your doom.


It will come as sharp and sudden

As the whistling of a knife:

To know the Tomb is empty

And your heart is full of life.


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.  And look for Williams’ very latest book, Deeper Magic: The Theology behind the Writings of C. S. Lewis, due out Sept. 1, 2016, from Square Halo Books!


Donald T. Williams, PhD


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