No Beauty We Could Desire: Thoughts on Beauty and Faith

“Our Gaze Is Submarine”

I just bought a book of villanelles. I think it’s a fun form, and as I was reading a few I remembered that once, a long time ago, I tried writing one myself.  Here it is  The main image is shamelessly borrowed from T. S. Eliot, but then Eliot said that poets ought to steal, so he shouldn’t object.  It isn’t a finished poem, but I think it’s a good beginning.  

I stopped writing poetry when I came to teach at Calvin.  Make of that what you will.  One of my goals for the next few years is to start writing it again.  Sharing a few efforts here might help me do that.   

 

LIGHT

“Our gaze is submarine, our eyes look upward

And see the light that fractures through unquiet water.

We see the light but see not whence it comes.

O Light Invisible, we glorify Thee!

T. S. Eliot, Choruses from “The Rock”

 

Our gaze is submarine.  Our eyes look up

And see the fractured paths of blue and green.

We see the light but see not whence it comes.

 

We live immersed in evidence of what

Exists beyond this underlit demesne

In which our gaze is submarine.  Look up!

 

No one has seen the Father but the Son,

Our holy periscope to the unseen.

We see the light but see not whence it comes.

 

Light is reflected through all Light has done.

We are distracted by reflections’ sheen.

Our gaze is submarine.  Our eyes look up,

 

As do a puppy’s, hoping for some crumbs

Beneath the table.  We can’t see the feast.

We feed on light but see not whence it comes.

 

We kindle little lights to offer Love

And place them on an altar newly clean.

Our gaze still submarine, our eyes look up

And see the light, though still not whence it comes.

Image