Birnam Wood (Fornyrðislag)

Blade that belies the desirer’s deeps,
Longings that lay within the heart
Cut a corridor through moral marshes
But trap the trekker in mere and bog.

The scarlet spot resists cleansing,
The bloody blotch grips ever tighter.
Garish mind-ghosts cause stumbling
When memory’s receipts are tallied.

The tree-limbed liege, half-parented heir,
Destined to Dunsinane: its conqueror.
Beware the witches’ double-doubtful talk
And trust the truth no matter the cost.

1-25-2019

What is a fornyrðislag?

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Siege (Petrarchan Sonnet)

What good is it to siege a city round,
And conquer it entire, both serf and king?
Is this the kind of glory you should seek?
Is this ambition’s goal to which you’re bound?
The city falls; it’s won. What then is found?
The captives, the loot—the gold and the rings—
Even if every skald and minstrel sings,
And fame and glory to your name redound?
No trebuchet or siege machine compares
With patience and with self-control and grace.
Anger fouls a word or deed with such ease
As no well-planned strategem ever fared.
Forget cities; rather your anger face
And be led instead by the Prince of Peace.

1-21-2019

What is a Petrarchan (or Italian) Sonnet?

The Honey Rule

If you find honey, eat only what you need;
otherwise, you’ll get sick from it and vomit.
Seldom set foot in your neighbor’s house;
otherwise, he’ll get sick of you and hate you.

— Proverbs 25:16-17 HCSB

The book of Proverbs is a book of wisdom, and that in multiple respects. It is a book containing wisdom, one that intends to convey that wisdom to all who hear its call. It is also a book that, as it gives wisdom, requires that wisdom in order to obtain even more treasures of wisdom. John A. Kitchen writes,

A proverb is truth in its most concentrated form, and thus expects us to add Spirit-illuminated reflection to come to full understanding. A proverb is designed to be ‘unpacked’ through much meditation, comparison with life, and with other Scriptures. … Proverbs was written not merely to tell us what to do, but also to make us think. Pure pragmatists may find themselves frustrated, if unwilling to pursue reflective, Spirit-guided meditation” (Proverbs: A Mentor Commentary, 29).

Continue reading “The Honey Rule”