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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.”

When we think of the Arthurian legend, we are reminded that a love affair can go horribly wrong: Lancelot and Guinnevere.  But it also shows us what it looks like when one goes very right.

CLIGES TO PHENICE

Beloved, gaze in thine own cloistered heart.

A secret Garden has been planted there

Of Nature’s growth refined by subtle Art

Where nothing thrives but what is sweet and fair.

 

And yet the sweetest and most wondrous places

Are buried deep.  Thick hedges and high walls

Protect them from the coarse, intruding faces,

Far from the mocking laughter that appalls.

 

Yet once a lonely knight came wandering there,

Let in by some mysterious Grace, to roam

The most secluded paths.  And in its air,

He breathed the long forgotten scent of Home.

 

So, Lady, seek in thine own cloistered heart

The secret Garden thou hast tended.  There

Now dwells the Knight who lives to take thy part,

Who never more will leave that land most fair.

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.

277

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.”

This poem is the prelude to my retelling of the King Arthur story, “Tales of Taliessin.”  Taliessin was the king’s poet.  If this prelude whets your appetite, you can read the whole cycle of poems in Stars through the Clouds: The Collected Poetry of Donald T. Williams (Lantern Hollow Press, 2019).

Prelude:

TALIESSIN AT GLASTONBURY

“The starveling hermit praying in this cell
Was once the mighty knight Sir Lancelot.
Pass quietly, but look upon him well.
The path from many-towered Camelot
Has many twists and turns, but to this spot
It leads. Might you have leisure for the tale?
Well, rest we then beneath yon spreading oak.”
He sat and twitched aside his hooded cloak,
Resting a small harp upon his knee.
“I was King Arthur’s minstrel,” then he said,
“My job: to keep the Great Hall filled with glee.
And all those golden days, so quickly fled,
Passed in all their sorrow and their glory
Before my hungry ears and watching eyes.
And so, if otherwise
You’ve heard in legend or in allegory
Some version of the deeds that there were done,
Allow one who was party to the story
To speak. No greater honor e’er was won–
Or lost–in any land beneath the sun.”
He bowed his head in memory of the king,
And then began to sing.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.

269

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.”

Arthur’s kingdom fell because Lancelot and Guinnevere did not make the choices I imagine for them in this poem. We can choose integrity over passion, faithfulness over desire. Will we? They tragically did not.

LANCELOT AND GUINNEVERE: HOW IT OUGHT TO HAVE BEEN
(Taliessin Indulgeth in Wishful Thinking)

Two minds and hearts amazingly akin:
Begot by Chastity upon Desire,
They burned with both divine and earthly fire.
Matured already e’er it could begin,
It seemed their love had simply always been.
But it had not. They found themselves with prior
Loyalties that asked to be held higher,
But loved each other as they hated sin.

Nothing could turn their fire into ice;
Their sacred vows they’d not consent to break.
“I will not rate thee at a lower price,”
He said, “Nor thee nor virtue will forsake,
And this must be my costly sacrifice.”
There really was no other choice to make.

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.