"The Baptism of Christ" by Nicolas Poussin‘The Water of Life’ and Other Poetry by C.B. Anderson The Society April 5, 2019 Beauty, Culture, Poetry 10 Comments The Water of Life To die Of thirst Is nigh The worst And saddest way A life may end, Since quickened clay Cannot transcend Its fundamental need For fluid that’s designed To irrigate and feed The body and the mind. We’ve been assured our souls are safe And everything we’ve counted dear Continues. Though our shoes might chafe As we fare forth to face our fear, There is a well that never disappoints The expectations which inform our toil And tribulation. Saving grace anoints Both saint and sinner with the selfsame oil. Inner Sabbaths The One from Whom no secrets can be kept, Who knows each detail of forgotten dreams, Watched over me benignly while I slept; And He from Whom no end of blessings streams Forgave me for a multitude of slights And graver improprieties before I even asked. He lets me sleep my nights Away serenely, helping me restore My better nature. Such a friend is rare, A diamond in a coal-dust universe, An entity exceedingly aware, A golden coin inside an empty purse. And having said that, I am at a loss To know how I can possibly repay Such loving kindness, other than to cross My heart, get down upon my knees, and pray. Our thankfulness has never been coerced, And surely this has always been His plan: To let us choose when we will slake our thirst. The sabbath, Jesus said, was made for man. C.B. Anderson was the longtime gardener for the PBS television series, The Victory Garden. Hundreds of his poems have appeared in scores of print and electronic journals out of North America, Great Britain, Ireland, Austria, Australia and India. His collection, Mortal Soup and the Blue Yonder was published in 2013 by White Violet Press. Views expressed by individual poets and writers on this website and by commenters do not represent the views of the entire Society. The comments section on regular posts is meant to be a place for civil and fruitful discussion. Pseudonyms are discouraged. The individual poet or writer featured in a post has the ability to remove any or all comments by emailing submissions@ classicalpoets.org with the details and under the subject title “Remove Comment.” Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on WhatsApp (Opens in new window)Click to email this to a friend (Opens in new window)Click to share on Pinterest (Opens in new window) 10 Responses Sally Cook April 5, 2019 Inner Sabbath is, to me, one of your best in every way. My congratulations ! This poem deserves a wide exposure. It shines a light on so many aspects of mercy, and of prayer. I am not comfortable with the meter of Water Of Life. – while I understand your motive in doing it, to me it seems contrived. Reply Joseph S. Salemi April 5, 2019 “Inner Sabbath” is quite beautiful, and also moving. The pyramidal structure of “The Water of Life” is jarring at first, but the careful construction that moves from a one-stress line to a standard five-stress line is admirable, and reminds me of the shaped devotional poems from the seventeenth century. Reply J. Simon Harris April 5, 2019 I second everything Joseph Salemi says here. I too was reminded of 17th century “shaped devotional poems”, George Herbert’s “Easter Wings” perhaps being the most iconic. Wonderful work on both of these. Reply C.B. Anderson April 5, 2019 J. Simon, I’m glad you liked them. C.B. Anderson April 5, 2019 Joe, I didn’t think of it as a shape poem, but if I had, I suppose it would have been the shape of a cascade with ever-widening spillways. Reply C.B. Anderson April 5, 2019 Sally, I didn’t do this to make you uncomfortable, I just started with a stanza in monometer, which is nearly impossible to maintain, and moved on through dimeter, trimeter, quadrameter and pentameter. And what do you understand my motive to be? Of course it was contrived — what poem is not? Reply David Watt April 5, 2019 “Inner Sabbaths” is a poem of substance and beauty. The steadily increasing metrical flow evident in successive stanzas of “Water of Life” rather suits both the title, and recurrent theme. Reply Monty April 8, 2019 Although I bear no affinity with the subject-matter of ‘Inner Sabbaths’, CB, that doesn’t prevent me from seeing its sheer quality. It’s immaculately written; contains exemplary grammar throughout; and effortlessly clear diction. I also admire some of the imaginative rhymes (kept/slept: coerced/thirst); not for you the undemanding task of rhyming to/do, we/me, so/go, etc. But it must be said: Given your previous offerings to SCP, I wouldn’t really expect anything less from your hand. Needless to say: all of the above can equally be attributed to ‘The Water . . .’, but with the added compliment of how simply and conceptually clever the Form is (hitherto unknown to me; is there a name for it?). After several readings of the words: I found myself just staring at the shape of the piece; and counting the incremental increase in beats stanza by stanza . . I was somehow held in fascination for a few moments. Comparatively, I wouldn’t call it a ‘shape’ poem. I’ve seen a few of those before, and I’ve generally found them to be a bit of a gimmick: with the actual poem taking second-fiddle to the shape. ‘The Water . . .’ does no such thing; and I find the shape of the piece to be neat and elegant . . and in no way impinging upon the merits of the poem. One wonders how a poem containing such an intricate Form as ‘The Water . .’ could be anything else BUT “contrived”? Is one to think that such a form could just naturally fall into place by itself? p.s. Until the end of the 3rd stanza in ‘The Water . .’ I couldn’t help thinking that the words could equally apply to a severely-neglected house-plant! Reply C.B. Anderson April 8, 2019 Monty, there is no name for this nonce form, just a description of its structure. Because of the difficulty of coming up a plausible monometer stanza, I will probably never write anything like it again. A “house-plant!” That’s funny. Reply Monty April 14, 2019 Well, if there’s no name for such a Form . . then I’m gonna suggest one: Ascendance (as in the incrementally ascending beats stanza by stanza. I must say that I didn’t get the feeling that you found it “difficult” to find a “plausible” monometer stanza. Leave a Reply to Joseph S. Salemi Cancel ReplyYour email address will not be published.CommentName* Email* Website Notify me of follow-up comments by email. Notify me of new posts by email. This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.