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.”
Part of a poet’s ongoing quest is to match form to mood and content. The Sonnet is good for certain things, Ballad Stanza for others, etc. Those who have only one form at their disposal—whether it be Free Verse or the Royal Couplet or the Sonnet—must perforce have a limited range of thought or sentiment, however good they might be within that range. I was learning the pensive, meditative nature poem from the Romantics, and found this form congenial to that mood. The way the repetition of the A rhyme sets up the return of the B rhyme in the shortened trimeter last line of the stanza seems to echo the feel of a tentative thought meandering slowly toward its conclusion.
I wandered by a restless sea
As western lights were going out,
And mingled with the deep my tears,
And let the salt spray soothe my fears
And wash away my doubt.
For few things cleanse a mind so well
From shreds of hanging gloomy dark
As the spray that’s blown from the ocean’s swell
And the rhythm of surf and the rough sea-bell:
Such, Nature’s healing art.
But though she washes fresh and clean,
She will not leave you light or gay,
But melancholy, though serene,
With a pensive peace that’s deep, unseen,
And lasts perhaps a day.
But there’s a peace that’s deeper still
And will not flee with coming night.
It warms the heart amidst the chill
Of winter’s death, when all is still
And covered with deadly white.
It comes when captive earthly lives
Are joined to the one Life that transcends
The earth and all that in her lies:
Her oceans, continents, and skies,
Her beginning and her end.
For the door is opened to him who knocks;
The seeker is the one who finds
The deepest down, most solid Rock
And roots his soul firm in the Rock
And finds true peace of mind.
Yet all who seek won’t walk the Way.
Not finding but accepting Light
Is that which turns the night to day
And brings the deep, calm joy that stays
Forever pure and bright.
Remember: for more poetry like this, go to https://www.createspace.com/3562314 and order Stars Through the Clouds!
Donald T. Williams, PhD