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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.”

 Why does anti-intellectualism have such a hold on so many of the American people and so much of the American church?

C. S. Lewis–not an Anti-Intellectual

THE ROOTS OF ANTI-INTELLECTUALISM

Commentary, 1 Cor. 1:26

When I was a young and foolish boy,

I thought intelligence a gift so rare

That all those who were blessed by it would share

The hunger of the mind for thought, the joy

Of battle on the windy plains of Troy,

The Big Bang, Quarks—the search for what is there,

The Saint’s hope, the Post-Modernist’s despair,

Of Hopkins’ call:  “Have, get before it cloy!”

Tolkien–not an Anti-Intellectual

The church especially would love to trace

The Father’s hand in all He had created.

It seems that I had underestimated

How far we’ve let the Enemy deface

In us the image of the One who made

In us the very minds we have betrayed.

Dr. Johnson–not an Anti-Intellectual

A short attention span will pad the purse

Of publishers who ought to be devoted

To seeing Truth pursued and then promoted.

They take the easy way.  And, what is worse,

We justify our treason with a verse:

“Not many wise,” we’ve quoted and we’ve quoted;

“According to the flesh,” we’ve barely noted.

Thus blithely we perpetuate the Curse.

John Milton–not an Anti-Intellectual

Willing to know the Evil as the Good,

We bypassed the Instructions on the Tree.

Not eating from it would have been the key

To all its fruit, if we had only stood.

We plucked it green, and greedily we ate.

Now, gorged with garbage, we push back the plate.

Jesus of Nazareth–not an Anti-Intellectual. “Love the Lord your God with all your mind.”

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) and “An Encouraging Thought”: The Christian Worldview in the Writings of L. R. R. Tolkien (Cambridge, OH: Christian Publishing House, 2018)!

Donald T. Williams, PhD

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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.”

 In the Morte Arthur, Mallory pointedly declines to tell us whether or not Lancelot and Guinnevere actually committed adultery. They were certainly guilty of indiscretion, but whether they were actually guilty of the crime they were accused of remains a mystery.  Whether they were “abed” or not he steadfastly refuses to say, because “love was not in those days as it is today.”  It is a brilliant move, because it cuts off at the kneecaps Ascham’s charge that the Morte is an immoral book in which “the boldest knights are those who commit the foulest adulteries by the subtlest shifts.” And more importantly, it actually raises the moral bar.  You don’t have to be guilty to suffer the consequences of your foolishness.  If I were seeking a Bible verse to list as the moral of the story, it would be “Refrain from even the appearance of evil” (1 Thes. 5:22).  Indiscretion can be enough.  Don’t put yourself in a false position!

Even if Lancelot and Guinnevere refrained from the final act, their dalliance had terrible consequences, destroying the best and most noble and chivalrous earthly kingdom ever created.  It is better that we don’t know.  Here’s my take on the tragedy:

LANCELOT AND GUINNEVERE

A laugh, a word, a careless fling,

An innocent desire to please:

That such a little thing could bring

A kingdom to its knees!

 

The subtle sign, the clicking dice;

A failure to perceive the clue:

Such a small thing will suffice

A kingdom to undo.

 

A lingering look, a heart that aches,

A dainty eyebrow arching, coy:

Such a tiny thing it takes

A kingdom to destroy.

A brother’s trust, a failing nerve,

A knowing smile, a jealous frown:

Such a paltry thing could serve

To bring a kingdom down.

 

The knight his lady must obey;

An interview behind the wall:

Such petty things, to be the way

To make a kingdom fall.

 

A deadly game of blindman’s bluff–

A stroking hand, a tilting chin:

Such minute things, to be enough

To do a kingdom in!

Donald T. Williams, PhD

Look for Williams’ very latest books: Deeper Magic: The Theology behind the Writings of C. S. Lewis (Baltimore: Square Halo Books, 2016) and “An Encouraging Thought”: The Christian Worldview in the Writings of L. R. R. Tolkien (Cambridge, OH: Christian Publishing House, 2018)!

 

 

 

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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.”

 Oh, those Brits.  Or is it oh, those colonials?

ACROSS THE POND

“Whilst” instead of “while”;

For “Excuse me,” “Sorry!”

That’s the British style:

A “truck” becomes a “lorry.”

What we call a “conservative”

In England is a “Tory.”

 

Americans “drop by”

While Brits “pop over to.”

No one knows just why.

A “bathroom” is a “loo.”

Americans have to “stand in line,”

While Englishmen just “queue.”

 

We have a “can” for “trash”;

They have a “bin” for “dust.”

We’re “knocked out” when we’re bashed;

The English get “concussed.”

They stay to leftward when they drive

To keep us all nonplussed.

 

Two nations thus divided

By a common tongue—

The rule by which we’re guided,

However far we’re flung:

One of those things the gods decided

When the world was young.

Donald T. Williams, PhD

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) and “An Encouraging Thought”: The Christian Worldview in the Writings of L. R. R. Tolkien (Cambridge, OH: Christian Publishing House, 2018)!

 

 

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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.”

 The trivium is grammar, logic, and rhetoric.  Why are they the foundation of all learning?  Because grammar is the art of how to say something, logic of how to say something valid, and rhetoric of how to say something well, applied to what Matthew Arnold called “the best that has been thought and done in the world.”  Our own educational system has not improved since we moved it off of that foundation.

THE GOAL OF THE TRIVIUM

Commentary, Proverbs 9:1-6

Old mysteries await fresh revelation.

Such ideas ought of right to be presented

In royal garments, rich and ornamented,

Befitting their high lineage and station.

Heraldic manuscript illumination

In Celtic knotwork swirled and brightly tinted

For metaphors and the meanings they have hinted:

The setting beckons us, an invitation.

 

What now seems quaint and esoteric lore

Was once the simple bedrock of our thought:

First principles and their elucidation.

That’s partly what the wondrous words were for—

Despite our darkness, they can still be caught:

Faint echoes of the ancient Conversation.

This post is highly logical.

Donald T. Williams, PhD

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) and “An Encouraging Thought”: The Christian Worldview in the Writings of L. R. R. Tolkien (Cambridge, OH: Christian Publishing House, 2018)!

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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.”

 Dante meets Piccarda in one of the lower circles of Heaven and wonders how she can be happy knowing that so many saints are higher than she experiencing even greater happiness.  She explains that all the saints in Heaven are filled with joy to their capacity, which will increase forever—and besides, his question misses the point.  The bottom line is profound for anyone who actually loves God above all, and shows us how far we actually are from that place if it does not satisfy us:  “His will is our peace.”

WHAT DANTE LEARNED FROM

PICCARDA DEI DONATI

“How is it you, sequestered from the bliss

Which animates those higher yet above

Who, like the blessed lady Beatrice,

Dwell even closer to the Source of Love—

How can it be that you are not disturbed;

How can you be content to languish here?”

“And have your passions never once been curbed

By the power of a greater love?  I fear

That you will find it hard to comprehend

The elemental lessons of this school:

The grammar of the knee that joys to bend

Before the stronger god who comes to rule.

Our bliss is full, yet ever will increase,

For we are His, and His will is our peace.”

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) and “An Encouraging Thought”: The Christian Worldview in the Writings of L. R. R. Tolkien (Cambridge, OH: Christian Publishing House, 2018)!