Sunday, June 17, 2007

Duke Altum's Poem of the Week #51

I realize it's been a while since I've posted, what can I say. You've heard all the excuses before anyway. In fact, almost all of them are probably neatly catalogued across the annals of this site!

This blog is never far from my mind, however; and even though it may take me a while to get back to it, I always have new posts planned, and definitely intend to continue the virtual conversation here for as long as I can. Soon I hope to throw up here a second entry into my fledgling UNSHELVED series (see April 2007 archives for the inugural entry on Harper Lee's To Kill A Mockingbird).

For now, another POTW entry, and this one from an unlikely source. Peter Kreeft is certainly one of my favorite authors and Catholic thinkers, but he is not a poet -- at least, is not known as one. Yet I recently came across a very rare poem by the Boston College philosopher, which I thought was both fun and profound. In fact, it reminded me very much of some of the bits of poetry that are found sprinkled liberally throughout the Lord of the Rings book -- not just in style, but also in substance, in a way. Like those poems, which are usually in fact song lyrics, this one has a steady rhythm and cadence to it. And yet, also like those fragments in J. R. R. Tolkien's work, it also contains deep and lasting truths. Kreeft himself I am sure would be honored by the comparion to Tolkien, since he has both written and lectured extensively on the treasure of his language and his imagination.

Come to think of it, another well-known hero of Kreeft's (and, as it happens, of mine), the incomparable C. S. Lewis, was also an academic who dabbled in poetry more or less for fun, but came up with some profound lines from time to time in the process.

At any rate... here is one to both enjoy and, perhaps, meditate upon. When you do, you will discover that like a verbal Trojan Horse, this light verse is sneaking some pretty heady insights into your soul!


The Philosopher's Stone

The care with which he cut the jewel
Was sharper than his cutting tool.
The love with which he shaped the stone
Outweighed, outlasted and outshone
All diamonds and rubies; but
Until a greater Jeweler cut
The diamond mind of darkened man,
None but the mystic ever can
Measure care's weight with fallen mind
Here on this planet of the blind
Unless that greater Jeweler turn
The facets of Mind's jewel to burn
With his reflected fire alone
And thus produce a wisdom stone.

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