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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.”

BOXING DAY:  Some of us will not put away the tinsel until after New Year’s Day, but the day after Christmas threatens to be a let-down after all the buildup.  But we should be just as grateful for our friends and family and their gifts (the ones we haven’t taken back to the store), and above all for the Gift of our Savior.  It’s easy to feel such things on the day itself.  Most of life presents us with the challenge that Boxing Day brings into focus, so it is a day we should make good use of.  For some, that challenge is especially intense.  For Dante in exile from Florence, life as a whole must have seemed like a huge let-down.  Yet no one accomplished more poetically than he did.  Hmmm.

Dante 

EXILE

Dante knew how salt could be the bread,

How steep the stair,

How hard the bed

Within the stranger’s house to which he’d fled,

Despite how well-intentioned, kind, and fair

The welcome there.

And I myself have seen, a time or two,

That puzzled stare,

Uncomprehending,

Condescending,

From one you would have thought would have a clue

Why I pursue

The things for which I seem compelled to care.

But Dante knew:

We who are Pilgrims must be Strangers here,

Where kindred minds are far between and few.

That much is clear.

Beatrice, Symbol for Dante of Divine Beauty and Grace

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), An Encouraging Thought: The Christian Worldview in the Writings of L. R. R. Tolkien (Cambridge, OH: Christian Publishing House, 2018), and The Young Christian’s Survival Guide: Common Questions Young Christians Are Asked about God, the Bible, and the Christian Faith Answered (Cambridge, OH: Christian Publishing House, 2019)!  Order from the publisher or Amazon.

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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 GOD IS TO BE WORSHIPPED

God is a Circle whose center is everywhere and whose circumference is nowhere.” – Traditional Definition

I am like the center of a circle equidistant from all points on the circumference, but you are not.” – Love, in Dante’s Vita Nuova

Dante Alighiere

He is pure Light without a hint of turning

Or shadowed spot.

He is pure Vision, perfectly discerning

Which from what.

He is pure Holiness, forever spurning

Stain or blot.

He is pure Love.  Our story from His yearning

Derives its plot.

He is pure Might, whose will cannot be hindered

By rebel plot.

He is a Sphere whose every point is centered,

And we are not.

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)!  Order from the publisher or Amazon.

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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 great thing about villanelles (see last week’s blogpost) is the focus they can give to a topic if you can manage to keep the repeater lines from sounding too repetitious.  They help keep us on track when trying to describe a very intense emotional experience, like the death of Dylan Thomas’s father in perhaps the most well-known example of the form—or Dante’s first encounter with the smile of Beatrice, as re-imagined here.

Beatrice

BEATRICE

In her smile I knew that I could see

All the bliss that Heaven keeps in store:

The stronger God that ruleth over me.

I was but nine years old the day that she

First dawned on me, unlearned in lover’s lore,

But in her smile I knew that I could see

The beauty that resides in sanctity,

The joy of the Creator’s skill, and more:

The stronger God who ruleth over me.

When on the street she gave her greeting, free,

There was no greater boon I could implore

Than in her smile I knew that I could see.

When I was slandered by an enemy

And she withheld it, oh, my heart was sore,

For still the stronger God ruled over me.

And when she died and I was lost, her plea

For grace retaught me what I should adore.

For in her smile I knew that I could see

The stronger God who ruleth over me.

Donald T. Williams, PhD

Dante

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)! Order from the publisher or Amazon.

 

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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)!

Donald T. Williams, PhD

241

 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)!