Literary Zone

Poetry: Christmas Day: A Child is Born, an Envoy Comes

16 February 2015 at 22:45 | 3663 views

By Professor (Emeritus) Jonathan Peters, Freetown, Sierra Leone.

Preamble:

The Aquarian Age Cycle of 7 Sonnet Songs

I hope you had a Happy Valentine’s Day, readers. This series of songs was not intended for now, but since they are about love, it is not surprising that although the first draft was complete on the eve of the Epiphany and the first sonnet was published in the Patriotic Vanguard soon enough after, they have waited for the pagan-originated feast of St Valentine’s Day to come out in full force.

I have this sense of guidance that, even when I deal with some events as separate, they may turn out to have the hand of God, as it were, guiding and helping to shape them. So it is with the business of what I did over Christmas to avoid fretting over the lockdown and other restrictions that Sierra Leoneans experienced all over the country. We were confined to our immediate neighborhoods because of the Government’s desire to contain the spread of the Ebola virus. For three days we were to stay in our homes to be visited by Ebola trainees checking for people who were ill to take them away. In three days none of them visited my immediate neighborhood. But I stayed at home nonetheless, writing. I was motivated to write what I have called “The Aquarian Age Cycle of Seven Sonnet Songs.”

1) Christmas Day: A Child is Born, An Envoy Comes
2) Why God sends the world a messenger every age
3) Life of Jesus the Christ not a model for New Avatar: no Gethsemane, no Golgotha; no cross, no crown of thorns; no crucifixion, no resurrection, no ascension, no more sin, no devil
4) End of war among nations, hence Love, love, love: Peace, harmony, unity worldwide
5) Spiritual growth and development for individuals and groups: Synergy between science and spiritual
6) Time for a Worldwide Ecumenism: One religion or no religion
7) God’s purpose for the Aquarian Age is fulfilled: God’s love harnessed through the spirit transforms natural abundance in the world to wealth for all.

Because they require such economy and yet address some very pithy subjects, sonnets can be very cryptic and their meanings sometimes hard to fathom. I am availing the reader of some background data especially as regards the element of avatarship that each sonnet is concerned with.

Now the sonnet form is the most demanding form of poetic prosody in European languages that I know of. Sonnets tend to be written on subjects of great moment, typically in formal language and their requirements of rhyme, meter, number of syllables per line, development of ideas within the poem require great skill in the knowledge and use of diction, grammatical structure, introduced other processes than the typical three best known English styles of sonnet—the earliest form or Petrarchan (Sonnets 2, 5 after the Italian sonneteer), the Shakespearean (Sonnets 1, 3, after Shakespeare and the Spenserian (Sonnet 7) that I find challenging to the point of writing the 14-line rhyme scheme as a template on a drafting blank page either before I start to write or when the begins to challenge me and I get the wrong rhyme for a line. In my practice, I have also, for example, stood sonnets on their heads to covey the idea of topsy-turvydom or, infrequently used acrostics or concrete poetry devises to enhance the effect. Sonnet 4 is in a class by itself with no rhyme while Sonnet 6 is in a class by itself with rhyme: a mixed bag, it looks like the 4-4-4-2 quatrain couplet pattern of the Shakespearean inverted to 4-2-(last 6 lines) followed by half of a Petrarchan octave and two heroic couplets. All this goes to show that a sonnet can be structurally complex, but that complexity should not strain the flow of ideas and tropes or make it unwieldy or forced.

1
A Child Is Born, An Envoy Comes

‘Once in royal David’s city,’ ‘a child
Is born,’ redeemer for a world of sin,
Noble, full of power yet meek and mild,
Birthed midst oxen with no room in the inn.
They called him Son of God, a prophet, King
Of all the earth; killed, buried, he arose,
Rose up to heaven. He comes! Today we sing:
‘Joy to the world’; in flesh his radiance glows.
Not Israel now but over the whole earth
Christians expect Yeshua to reign, but then
Every two thousand years or so comes birth
Of Christ for the new age to shout Amen!
We do not know the day or hour coming;
Be ready, God tells earthlings for the homing.

Christmas Day, 25th December, 2014

I began the series of songs after Christmas Day worship service at Ebenezer Methodist Church hoping to complete one or two a day so that all seven would be done by New Year’s Eve, but it was not to be. With no plan of the series to begin with, I was on an uncharted course: one poor beginning and the whole series could be flawed. But I had one important resource and that was meditation. I began meditating in the morning and I put myself in a meditative state so that I did not have to start meditating formally each time I resumed. When I finally began writing, it was to begin with the carol that Kings College Cambridge starts their annual “Festival of 9 Lessons and Carols” with, “Once in Royal David’s city” and continue with “Joy to the World” on his coming back as a conquering hero to rule over all the earth having a single government.

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