Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Poem 033

from Paradise Lost

(V, 822-824, and 836-848)

Shalt thou give law to God, shalt thou dispute
With him the points of liberty, who made
Thee what thou art, and formed the pow'rs of heav'n...
As by his Word the mighty Father made
All things, ev'n thee, and all the Spirits of heav'n
By him created in their bright degrees,
Crowned them with glory, and to their glory named
Thrones, Dominions, Princedoms, Virtues, Powers,
Essential Powers, nor by his reign obscured,
But more illustrious made, since he the head
One of our numbers thus reduced becomes,
His laws our laws, all honour to him done
Returns our own. Cease then this impious rage,
And tempt not these; but hasten to appease
Th' incensèd Father and th' incensèd Son,
While pardon may be found in time besought.

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John Milton of London, England is best known for his great epic Paradise Lost (1667). Visit Kingdom Poets to find out more.The selection above is in the voice of a Seraph named Abdiel, who is rebuking Lucifer for his "impious rage". The final line quoted reflects Isaiah 55:6.

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Poem 032

The Poet Reflects on Isaiah, Chapter 55

A public-service announcement that begins
with the word Ho! I like that.
And free groceries—no food stamps, even.

Also the soundtrack: hills that sing,
myrtle and cypress that applaud
while I down my milk and bread and wine.

But the glorified truth of it all
is I don’t quite trust it—not as national policy.
Soon everyone else will be showing up

and wanting some, and that gets thorny.
(We’ve been over this!) My thought, anyway.
Forgive me if I’ve worded things incorrectly.

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Paul Willis of Santa Barbara, California is the author of three poetry collections, the most recent being Say This Prayer Into The Past (Poiema Poetry Series/Cascade Books). He is the former Poet Laureate of Santa Barbara, and is Professor of English at Westmount College. Visit Kingdom Poets to find out more about him.