While strolling around an illustrious lair,
I was caught by a breeze of regret in the air,

For gazing I was on old buildings of stone,
All graced with such courage and dignity their own,

With worthy exploits and a mind once refined,
These guardians of masses, once seeking the divine,

With wisdom of conquest and grace in the storm,
Equipping the brightest, the strongest in form,

But regret overshadowed those buildings of stone
Hung like a phantom, a gloom all its own.

What caused such regret? I now thought and did ponder.
How did these buildings lose glory and wonder?

Where is the glory? Who took it away,
Leaving the buildings to rot and decay?

The smell of the mold hit my brain with a start;
It wasn’t each building that had lost a heart,

Twas the scholars who walked through those once noble doors,
Those who studied all life in its myriad forms;

They neglected one truth, and lost sight of their goal:
They forgot that men are endowed with a soul,

And a soul needs great care, it needs purity and truth;
It needs someone greater who’s worth the pursuit.

At one time, these buildings contained teachers who
Espoused the Creator and taught others to;

They studied the God who gave wisdom of mind,
To those who seek guidance, inerrant, divine.

However, in time, for their soul, they lost care,
Rejected God’s teachings, that they couldn’t bear.

They boasted so pompous, “Our souls are intact!
We don’t need a God, as a matter of fact!”

So they blazed a new path for the ancient held truth,
And traditional teachings were deemed quite uncouth;

Thick knowledge of man and of earth and the stars
Were taught by new scholars who came from afar,

Replacing their morals with knowledge instead,
Not seeing the forest for trees up ahead.

With the passing of years, students marched through each hall,
Seeking solutions, but none came at all.

So, regret lingered, blew through leaves of time;
Those truths once considered, so pure and sublime

Were thrown all away, and tossed into the sea
Of men’s own ideas of how life should be.

The breeze that I fathomed while strolling that day
Was of the lost souls who were seeking their way;

Their weary weak eyes had lost sight of the goal;
Without any God, men are lost without soul.

 

Jennifer Hinders lives outside Washington, DC. She’s an instructional assistant and part time freelance writer.  To see her publications, view  her website at jhinders.com

Related Post

‘A Folded Note Beneath the Door’ by Shannon Rose... Painted, woody there it stands, this door behind which kingdom fans. Bright with order, calm with ease, a wooden plank with hidden seas. A pli...

14 Responses

  1. C.B. Anderson

    Jennifer,

    Wherever you thought you were going with this poem, you didn’t quite get there. The metrics were strained, to the point where one could not even quite understand what your intention was, unless your intention was to have no rules at all. But the poem was ambitious; I’ll give you that. Go and read some Milton, and learn from the English master.

    Reply
  2. Joan Erickson

    I just love this poem! The truth of it rings true. If it’s not perfectly crafted I wouln’t know – the most important thing is the message and it comes through on the first reading. Good work!

    Reply
  3. Joseph Tessitore

    Bravo Jennifer!
    Bravo Amy!
    Bravo Evan, for pairing these two exceptional works of art!

    Reply
  4. E. V.

    Good morning, SCP! Jennifer, thank you for sharing your poem, which I did enjoy reading. Although C.B., has a very distinct, tell-it-like-it-is approach to comments, he is also a very skilled poet. If you choose to heed his advice, it’ll put you on the path of becoming an even stronger poet than you already are. YOU were able to do something that is a requirement for being a great poet; specifically, you were able to transfer your inspiration to the reader. As I read through your poem, I didn’t merely understand your message, I felt it, too. Bravo! With learning and practice, many people can master the mechanics of form and meter. What distinguishes GOOD poets from GREAT ones is the ability to create compositions that transfer the poets’ perspectives, feelings, moods, passions, etc. onto their readers. When your readers not only understand your poem, but also feel it, you’ve written a winner. The Breeze of Regret has this poetic soul. Your powerful 2nd to last stanza is an indication that you are on your way to becoming a poetic force! Keep writing and sharing!

    Reply
  5. David B. Gosselin

    Hi Jenifer,

    I think your poem is pretty decent. I can’t agree with certain things said above so I’ll put forward a different take on your poem and approach g poetry. While one can take issue with things like meter and all, I would say your poem actually has soul. You can easily fix the other issues, you can’t fix a soulless poem. While some will have the mechanics down and obsess about perfect meter and such, one often finds these same people write poetry with hardly any soul, and none of the inspiration which you were able to get across. While one cannot learn soul, everything else can and should be – and that’s good news. So I would say you succeeded in the most important aspect, which is actually being inspired and communicating the “spirit” of the idea, which is also what EV above seemed to be getting at. Most poems seldom succeed in that most important part. The last thing one wants to do is write contrived verses where all the numbers tally, you’ve followed all the “rules” and yet, for some strange reason, your poem sounds like “clanging symbol”. I’ve often seen this, where people can’t seem to recognize the glaring lack of authenticity in their English, the heaviness of their lines because of contrived rhymes and meter, despite all the “rules” having been followed – they’ll insert double adjectives, use poor rhyme-words and vocabulary choices and insert inversions all over the place, all for the sake of “meter”. It’s much better to have an imperfect poem with a soul than a perfect soulless poem, and to then just work on developing those instincts to write qualitively better with each new poem.

    Some quick points I would point out:

    While strolling around an illustrious lair,
    I was caught by a breeze of regret in the air, ———— why not “a breeze of regret lingered in the air”? This keeps things iambic.

    Their weary weak eyes had lost sight of the goal;
    Without any God, men are lost without soul. ———— why not

    “But their tired eyes had lost sight of their goal;
    Without a God, man walks without a soul.” or “wanders without soul” – there are many options, but it’s just to give an idea of how all the mechanics can be fixed with a critical eye, and then you have a pretty good poem. Then you can let folks argue about its truth or lack of and stir some healthy debate!

    Also, things like “weary weak eyes” does not sound like authentic English. Placing two adjectives next to each other like that, you’ll find double adjectives are not really something you find in English, and more importantly the impression one gets is that it was worded like that in order to arrive at a certain metrical value. To violate that is in a very real sense to violate the soul of one’s poem, so you can easily avoid that stuff.

    Things like “thick knowledge”, imagine using that in a sentence when you’re speaking, “that person had very thick knowledge” – it doesn’t really ring as something spoken by a native English speaker in any imaginable situation. So one should be able to go over the poem with that kind of eye. It doesn’t mean poetry has to use only images which make perfect logical sense, metaphors and such are the lifeblood of poetry, but here you’re simply trying to say something like “deep knowledge” or “great knowledge” or “true knowledge”, thick does not do anything there, it ends up just making the line sound awkward and contrived – a cardinal sin in poetry, much more so than lack of meter. So you can easily keep an eye out and fix things like that.

    The idea that the metrics were so strained that “one could not even understand what your intention was”, that sounds more like someone being obsessive, more concerned about adherence to rules than the actual reading and discovery of ideas. Read Longfellow’s “The Day is Done”, it has no constant meter throughout, and yet it is a great poem. So I can’t really agree with some of the things said above. Meter should be improved, Shakespeare, Schiller, Keats and Dante are the standard, but the idea that good poetry cannot be created before one has attained those immortal heights, I can’t agree. Keats has some irregularities even in his greatest Odes. Read the Ode to a Nightingale or Ode to Melancholy. These are literally some of the greatest poems ever written, yet they still don’t have perfect meter.

    I recommend this article on Keats battle vs. the philistine poetry critics and the Augustan age of poetry. Remember, all the major establishment poetry journals hated Keats, his was “cockney drivel” and “pagan”.

    https://www.schillerinstitute.org/fid_91-96/963_keats.html

    If you’re interested, thechainedmuse.com gives feedback and can review your poem if you’d like to submit it for more thorough feedback.

    Best,

    David

    Reply
  6. Charles Southerland

    Not to pick, Mr. Gosselin, but all poems are contrived. Some are contrived better than others…

    Reply
    • C.B. Anderson

      Charlie,

      Exactly right. Or as our friend Joe Salemi would put it: poems are fictive artifacts. I agree with much of what E.V. & David G. have written above, but I would still suggest to budding poets: learn first the craft, and only then master the art. No editor, after around 700 acceptances, has ever complained that my diction or meter was too regular.

      Reply
  7. Michael Dashiell

    It would be just if other poetry publications were more open to poems concerning God. It seems most poetry editors are atheists or feel that a God based poem is old fashioned and irrelevant to the tastes of contemporary society and literature.

    Reply
    • C.B. Anderson

      Michael,

      Don’t hold your breath waiting for justice. My forthcoming book from White Violet Press, however, is full of devotional verse, even though many of the poems contained therein express a measure of doubt & defiance. Sometimes “God” is used as a metaphor relating to the old standard traditions, but sometimes the usage of the word is heartfelt. And sometimes this is an issue that can only be resolved by the reader. Nietzsche said that God is dead, but God said, “Nietzsche is dead.”

      Reply

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.