for my two-year-old grandson, Exander

“There’s no tale in the world I can’t believe.” I said.
“If you have learned belief, you have learned something.”

—Rudyard Kipling, “Bimi”


We meant to journey to the park;
earth did not hold us as it ought,
to Neverland we did embark—
not the excursion we had sought.

A cookie from the baker, hark!
He and the butcher have been brought
to sea upon a leaky barque—
the candle man is quite distraught.

Pied piper’s pipe sings like a lark
the thousand tales¹; and we were caught
as childish wonder lights the spark
so man may venture forth, dreadnaught.

Strange lands and creatures we did mark,
fantastic flights of faery thought;
thus out of poor made-matter stark
the Maker’s mind to us is taught.

Imagination births the quark:
a miracle which God hath wrought.
For if the mind and soul were dark,
how then would such things be bethought?


¹Dr. John Senior included in his book, The Death of Christian Culture, a compilation of The Thousand Good Books of imaginative literature that prepare the cultural soil of a young mind, prerequisite to a study of the Great Books curriculum and, as well, to an understanding and appreciation of Western Civilization.



Denise Sobilo’s work has previously been published by the St. Austin Review; The Imaginative Conservative; Jesus the Imagination; and The Antioch Review.

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4 Responses

  1. Margaret Coats

    A lovely reflection on imaginative literature, in image, rhythm, and rhyme. I am particularly struck by the line, “Imagination births the quark,” because the quark concept in particle physics did take its name from fantasy literature. And as quarks have been studied by physicists, they are considered not to be “dark,” but have “color” as a differentiating property. Of course this “color” has nothing to do with the ordinary use of the term, which depends on light even in the “ordinary” science of optics! A splendid image–and splendid work in using only two rhyme sounds for this 20-line poem.

  2. C.B. Anderson

    Always in your poems, Denise, there is something hidden from the normal channels of perception. I now apologize for our previous misadventure. I see now that you are genuinely god-struck, and I had only wished that you should not proclaim it. You are the very quark, the quintessence of the poetic ideal, who can write poetry, whereas I can only find it in myself to write poems of limited scope.

  3. Cynthia Erlandson

    “thus out of poor made-matter stark / the Maker’s mind to us is taught.” That is my favorite line — another very poetic way of bringing to mind that we create, and our imagination creates, because we reflect the mind of the Creator. I also love the way that, in the second verse, you alluded to and brought together the butcher, the baker, and the candlestick maker!


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