“God showers our world”

On Fridays I post my poetry, until my archive runs out.

God showers the entire world with beauty bright
And fills our souls thereby with heavenly light,
Still also thus endearing him to us,
Working in us the first great part of grace,
Inspiring in us the love that we’d not felt
Until epiphany awoke in us.

This is a rather early poem, which I probably wrote the fall of my freshman year of college at the latest. It is essentially unchanged since then, other than cleaning up some minor syntax issues in preparation for posting it. As always, I welcome your comments, critique, suggestions, or any other feedback on this poem or any other part of my work.

Crossposted to my wiki.

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3 thoughts on ““God showers our world”

  1. That’s a nice poem. I certainly enjoy it’s content and theme. Thank you for sharing it!

    Since you ask for critique, I’ll say that not every word has a clear purpose. (In my mind, the definition of finished poetry as opposed to prose is that every word has a clear purpose, so that changing any word diminishes the poem.)

    Consider the first two lines:

    God showers the entire world with beauty bright
    And fills our souls thereby with heavenly light,

    The first has either 11 or 12 syllables, depending upon whether “showers” is read as one syllable or two. The second line has 11 syllables. But the natural pause after “world” either matches “with” or “heav-“, neither of which flows off the tongue nicely. So I get the sense this poem was composed on paper more than aloud, and enter my reading aloud with some clunkiness on my tongue.

    Should these two lines more balanced? Removing two words without apparent purpose yields nice iambic tetrameter:

    God showers the world with beauty bright
    And fills our souls with heavenly light,

    This, of course, rolls of the tongue quite nicely. But it does not match the subsequent lines that all have 10 syllables, and it’s an obvious alteration that was not used by the poet, so it’s clearly not what the poet intended. What could have been the purpose of an initial couplet with extra syllables? The ambiguity of syllables in “showers” and the inclusion of words that add no meaning do not give me any clues.

    Perhaps avoiding iambic tetrameter was done to emphasize the word “God” that starts the poem by encouraging stressing that syllable? A reasonable guess, but that would be more clear with a stressed third syllable and/or a pause early in that first line:

    God showers beauty, making this world bright,
    Filling souls thereby with heavenly light,

    Perhaps there was some other intention for the impact and rhythm of the first two lines? I don’t know–and the curiosity distracts me from the poetry, the confusion dampens what could be pure admiration and appreciation that is transferred from the poem to God. It is certainly a nice poem, but it does not seem to be a finished poem.

  2. Thank you for your critique!

    I’ll have to agree that this poem isn’t nearly as finished or polished as it could be; I’ve been posting a poem a week since December (and on the order of three poems a week for a month before that), which has pretty much exhausted my supply of “finished” poems; each week I search my archive for a poem I can fix up into something merely presentable.

    But your reading of the first two lines doesn’t match mine. To my ear, both are fairly strict iambic pentameter–da-DUM, da-DUM, da-DUM, da-DUM, da-DUM—provided “showers” is one syllable and “heavenly” two. (The “minor syntax issues” I mentioned “fix”ing in preparation for posting included removing the apostrophes that had made those elisions explicit. Since the latter is an elision rather than an alternate pronunciation, “heaven’s” might be better than “heavenly.”) In fact, those two lines are to my eye far better iambic pentameter than the last three.

    I can think of a purpose or reason for every word in this poem, but not all of them fit those purposes very well. In the first line, “entire” is there partly to make the line a full five feet but also partly to emphasize that (to expand it beyond what the word itself can say) God’s glory isn’t just revealed through the unspoiled wildernesses, but also through, for example, snow blanketing a parking lot. In the penultimate line “inspiring” has, and serves well, a semantic and perhaps didactic purpose, but it doesn’t fit the meter at all; “epiphany” in the last line isn’t quite as bad (as the occasional foot of inverted meter is acceptable in blank verse) but is an uncommon enough word that it most likely detracts from the message of the poem for at least some readers.

    Again, thank you for your thought-provoking critique; the line of thought you described in your comment has been very helpful in improving this poem.

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