Comments 10

A Terrible Good…

The following is a poem I wrote some time ago, in the style of a Cento; which is a form composed entirely of quotes from other authors. A conglomeration, if you will; a grouping together of lines that moved me in their own individual manners – such that I simply had to put them in touch with each other.

Do not look for meter, or any of the more conventional techniques normally associated with poetry. You’ll not find them here. The only criteria for inclusion was intent and emotional meaning. Rhythm and rhyme were not consulted, nor was metaphorical simultaneity. I had something I needed to get off my chest, and only these lines would do.

And after a while, I set them to music. I assure you – the lines fit quite readily into a standard 4/4 time, with only the most minor of shoe-horning necessary.

All that being said, after I had reaped from the likes of Wordsworth and Shelley, Milton and Williams and Keats, among others, there were still gaps – here and there – where I felt something missing. So I added a line or two of my own.

I agree.
It seems an example of staggering arrogance, to feel that anything I might write could lay side by side with what I had ‘borrowed’ from the Master’s.
I apologize, in advance, for any bruised sensibilities which might result from the following.
Having said that, spot the presumptuous lines, if you can…



I saw eternity the other night, felt in the blood, and felt along the heart.
When I hear the lay that once I saw her hand awake, her form seems palpable, and near.
And I music’s power obey.

Surely the All-Seeing joys to see us with His gifts agreeing.
In truth there is no freeing one’s thoughts from such a beauty;
Since beauty cannot be, unless the mind agrees.

From the passion and the life whose fountains are within, the awful shadow of some unseen Power flowed through;
A Power so-called through sad incompetence of human speech.
Yet sad incompetence might recognize what it can hardly name.
Like an exhalation with the sound of dulcet symphonies, that awful Power rose from the minds’ abyss.

Fear no more the heat.
Ecstasy no more bewilders.
Only those who have not known are afraid.
Disperse these mists which blot my senses, let me hear those voices more than all the winds, with power,
And see those huge and mighty forms, that do not live like living men.

Joy overtake us, as a flood from the Heavenly harmonies,
From which sprang the foundations of the world.
A Heavenly harmony,
A great and terrible Good.


  1. Rosaria Marie says

    Hello, IJT,

    I found your blog via “A Pilgrim in Narnia”. As an amateur poet who often experiments with unorthodox rhythms and free-verse, I really appreciate this piece. The almost mystical nature of it also drew me in.

    As editor of The Fellowship of The King Magazine (www.thefellowshipoftheking.wordpress.com), I was wondering if you might be interested in allowing me to republish “A Terrible Good”, with your bio and link back to your blog.

    You can contact me directly here: campionsbrag@aol.com

    Rosaria Marie, TFOTK Editor

    Liked by 1 person

  2. You know that badge in the right column? The one that says I write like Poe? The one with the link to analyze your own writing? Yeah, it says this poem could have been written by Vladimir Nabokov…
    On behalf of all the Master’s hereby plagiarized, I think I’m gonna have to resent the implication of that characterization…
    Or something like that…

    Liked by 1 person

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