Artists hearken; seek Poesy for inspiration!

Melodramatic title for this post aside, I really would love to see an artist’s interpretation of this poem by Donald T. Williams. I’m finally near the end of his book of theological and fantastical poetry entitled Stars Through the Clouds, published by Lantern Hollow Press, which I will indeed review in whole, but I wanted to share this one poem right now. It’s quite good, I think, and conjures a powerful, striking image that is just waiting for a visual interpretation.

A Parable for Demythologizers: To Rudolf Bultmann

Donald T. Williams

“We come with rusty hatchets to chop down
Old Yggdrasil, the mightiest of trees;
We come with buckets full of air to drown
Old Triton, ruler of the seven seas.

For we are Modern Men, the heirs of Time,
And won’t be ruled by anything that’s gone
Before. So if we think it more sublime
To exorcise Aurora from the dawn,

Then who is there who dares to say us nay?”
And so the desert wind swept through their minds
And found no obstacle placed in its way
To stop the stinging dust, the sand that blinds.

Blistered, parched, and withered, one by one,
They fell  beneath the branches of the Tree,
Succumbing to the unrelenting Sun
In cool, green shade beside the roaring sea.


Author: David

I’m a young Christian American reader writer dreamer wanderer walker flier listener talker scholar adventurer musician word-magician romantic critic religious idealist optipessimist man.

6 thoughts on “Artists hearken; seek Poesy for inspiration!”

  1. Beautiful and powerful. The only thing that distracted me was the sudden, unexplained shift in tense. I can see what you mean about wanting to see it in artwork.

    1. Well, the present tense is dialogue spoken by the self-proclaimed Modern Men, and the past tense is the narrator telling what happens to them, so I think it holds together. I imagine a painting of this in an older, epic style, lush with symbolism.

      1. It makes sense, but it still breaks the flow a little, in my opinion. Maybe it is meant to break the flow, to separate the sections more than the changing pronouns.

        Lush and epic like Rubens? It calls for a mural, I would think. Something you could walk down to see the progression.

  2. It is, in my mind, reminiscent of JRR Tolkien’s “Mythopoeia,” his response to early cs Lewis’s comment that myths were “lies, though breathed through silver.” The poem is much longer, but shows the march of modern men to dethrone the mystique of nature, which also dethrones humanity. Tolkien’s poem ends with the brash declaration that he will not bow before the “Iron sceptre” of modernity which names seen things, but take up again his feeble crown as a little god, who hopes to name unseen things. Powerful point.
    To strip us of myth, is, I think, to strip us of any narrative. As it turns out, it is the lull of modern life, the cyclical hum of the suburban symbols, and not the march of armies that have done the job. We are story-less.

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