From the newly released audio of Sonnets for Christ the King




The self’s religion, bound by narrow ways,
Behind joy’s mask disguises its despair,
Adoreth man, but stinteth God His praise,
And blindly seeks the blind to cure a care.

Its highest doctrine rests on feral dreams
Of base indulgence, passions uncontrolled,
A self-ruled jungle that no God redeems,
Sans truth, sans beauty, an abyss of cold.

Its creed-packed articles exclude desire
For things transcending what the eye can see,
Content to dwell on nature’s mere attire,
To higher kingdoms it discards the key.

If crass creation be thine only bread,
And thou thy self’s own king—’tis thou art dead.


© Joseph Charles MacKenzie, all rights reserved

Joseph Charles MacKenzie is the first and last American to win First Place in the Long Poem Section of the Scottish International Poetry Competition, Henry M. Austin Poetry Prize.


NOTE TO READERS: If you enjoyed this poem or other content, please consider making a donation to the Society of Classical Poets.

NOTE TO POETS: The Society considers this page, where your poetry resides, to be your residence as well, where you may invite family, friends, and others to visit. Feel free to treat this page as your home and remove anyone here who disrespects you. Simply send an email to Put “Remove Comment” in the subject line and list which comments you would like removed. The Society does not endorse any views expressed in individual poems or comments and reserves the right to remove any comments to maintain the decorum of this website and the integrity of the Society. Please see our Comments Policy here.


3 Responses

    • Joseph Charles MacKenzie

      Thank you, Carol. Everyone, please click on Carol’s name which links to her website where you will find perfect portraits in the watercolor medium as well as architectural images. We should all hope that our poems are as well put together as your watercolors, Carol! If I were in any way pecunious, I would definitely commission you for a portrait. If you should purchase the 2-CD set of the Sonnets for Christ the King (now only $14.99 and the perfect Eastertide gift), you might find an additional source of inspiration for your art—if you would consider visually interpreting some of my sonnets. Wouldn’t that be much more interesting than my google images? Happy Easter to all at the Trinitykeep Studio in beautiful North Carolina, not too terribly far from gorgeous and stunning Biltmore which I once had the great pleasure of visiting!


        Joseph Charles, Thank you for your kind comments on my watercolor paintings and your referral to my website. I have ordered 2 CDs of your “Sonnets,” and was pleased hearing some of them read . Your CD was recommended by Fr. Francis Miller earlier and I meant to do as he said—order a disc. They’re beautiful, and full of the kind of images I appreciate in poetry. Yes, I’d consider visually interpreting some of your sonnets. Coincidentally, I’ve given a painting project to my students for years: “Painting Poetry,” in which I offer examples mostly of American Imagist poems, or the Psalms, for them to “see” word-pictures, and interpret them in paint.
        A blessed Eastertide to you.
        Carol Ann

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

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