"The Favourite Poet" by Sir Lawrence Alma-Tadema‘Slow Verse’ and Other Poetry by Lionel Willis The Society February 7, 2021 Beauty, Poetry 9 Comments .. . Slow Verse No need to rush: These lines have lots of time. They never face a hanging at first light. They can take pains to whittle a neat rhyme And years to get each subtle cadence right, But they can never take the hero’s part, They can’t shout in the streets what must be said, Convey the words to mend a breaking heart, Brandish the silent challenge of the dead, For those demand another sort of pen, One improvised to staunch a gush of blood, A hasty scrawl that won’t be scanned again, A jagged shriek of warning in a flood: The page that speaks for all the quickly crushed Reads like a wind, but this one won’t be rushed. . . Mother with Child The perfect image of our Paragon! How many times I’ve seen that woman there, The icon of tough love and tender care, Standing into the glory of her son! What do they model forth but artists’ own Compelling dreams? All human genomes share The same necessity’s pruning. The pair Survive because they point to everyone. Survival shapes perfection, I suppose. Those forms have lasted twenty centuries Because they share the beauty all men crave: The bloom of health and hope that richly grows Out of the Earth’s dark mould of miseries Around this garden that was once a grave. . . Lionel Willis was born in Toronto in 1932 and served as Professor of English Literature at Ryerson University in Toronto 1958 to 1992. His publications including The Dreamstone and Other Rhymes (The Plowman 2002), Heartscape, a Book of Bucolic Verse (Eidolon 2019). He currently lives in Toronto. NOTE: 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 firstname.lastname@example.org. 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. 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) 9 Responses Susan Jarvis Bryant February 7, 2021 Lionel, “Slow Verse” is a triumph of a sonnet that needs to be read slowly in order to savor the “neat rhyme” and “subtle cadence”. My poetry leans towards that “jagged shriek of warning in a flood”, and I am now inspired to simmer down, slow down, and “whittle” my shrieking sonnets to silky-smooth, superb success. Thank you! Reply C.B. Anderson February 7, 2021 Indeed, Mr. Willis, the delicacy and precision of expression in these two sonnets are balm to the mind’s ear. In “Slow Verse” (line 10) should not “staunch” be “stanch” instead? Reply Paul Freeman February 7, 2021 ‘Slow Verse’ really did speak to me, as it obviously spoke to Susan, too. Thank you for two fine sonnets, Mr Willis. Reply Joseph S. Salemi February 7, 2021 Both sonnets are beautiful but I like “Slow Verse” the best, because its argument is subtle and needs a few readings to be understood. If we take the poem as a general comment on the sonnet as a genre, it seems to suggest that the sonnet form is to be avoided when you are dealing with intense, energetic, and highly charged subjects. I think this is debatable, but it is one point of view (the laid-back “moment’s monument” school of thought). Reply C.B. Anderson February 10, 2021 I’ve never heard of that school of thought, Joseph. Can you give me one or two examples of what comes out of that school? Reply Cynthia Erlandson February 7, 2021 I especially love “Mother and Child” — particularly the last three lines, which are very moving and exquisite! Reply Iniubong February 9, 2021 ‘mother with child’ Amazing piece Reply C.B. Anderson February 10, 2021 I’ve never heard of that school of thought, Joseph. Can you give me one or two examples of what comes out of that school? Reply David Watt February 10, 2021 Lionel, your sonnets are thoughtful, and a pleasure to read. I especially enjoyed ‘Slow Verse’ because it is a sonnet which, as the title suggests, benefits from slowly savoring each line. Reply Leave a Reply 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.