November 22, 2017

Damaris Zehner: The Undeserved Grace of a New Beginning

14719654564_780d5189d1_z

The Undeserved Grace of a New Beginning
A Villanelle
by Damaris Zehner

God blesses me with gifts of time and space
To feel the rising warmth of one more day
And from the darkness see the dawn of grace.

Each spring green growth and birdsong will replace
The gloom and bitter cold that once held sway.
God blesses me with gifts of time and space

To work anew, and by that work erase
Omissions and mistakes of yesterday,
And in my darkness see the dawn of grace.

Redemption heals the wounds of my disgrace
And, though I stumble, leads me on the way.
God blesses me with gifts of time and space.

I glimpse unearned forgiveness in the face
Of someone I would thoughtlessly betray,
And through my darkness shines a dawning grace.

When space and time are through and I must brace
For dying and four narrow walls of clay,
I bless God for this fleeting time and space
And rise from darkness to eternal grace.

Comments

  1. David Cornwell says:

    Amen. And thank you Damaris.

  2. The villanelle is my favorite poetry form. Nicely done!

  3. Christiane says:

    this is an exquisite poem, DAMARIS . . . thank you for sharing it with us

  4. Thank you for the kind comments. The title was actually a phrase I wrote in a comment defending New Year’s resolutions; Chaplain Mike suggested it should become an essay, but it turned into a poem instead.

  5. Lovely!

  6. Beautiful. And meaningful to me. Thank you.

  7. Amen!

  8. Daniel Jepsen says:

    I love this, Damaris, especially the last verse. Thank you for sharing it with us.

  9. Damaris, this old English major had to look up villanelle. Don’t know if I lost it along the way or maybe it never got entered. I can tell just by looking that it would be difficult to do, especially if you picked “orange” as one of your rhymes. I can see that a person with a rhyming dictionary could churn out something technically correct with some work, but you have given us classic grace and beauty in a form that satisfies inner sensibility. Very impressive, hats off!

    • Dylan Thomas’ “Do not go gentle into that good night” is probably the most well-known of all villanelles:

      Do not go gentle into that good night
      Dylan Thomas, 1914 – 1953

      Do not go gentle into that good night,
      Old age should burn and rave at close of day;
      Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

      Though wise men at their end know dark is right,
      Because their words had forked no lightning they
      Do not go gentle into that good night.

      Good men, the last wave by, crying how bright
      Their frail deeds might have danced in a green bay,
      Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

      Wild men who caught and sang the sun in flight,
      And learn, too late, they grieved it on its way,
      Do not go gentle into that good night.

      Grave men, near death, who see with blinding sight
      Blind eyes could blaze like meteors and be gay,
      Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

      And you, my father, there on the sad height,
      Curse, bless, me now with your fierce tears, I pray.
      Do not go gentle into that good night.
      Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

      • A somewhat less orthodox one is Elizabeth Bishop’s “The Art of Losing Isn’t Hard to Master” — a brilliant poem.

  10. Damaris, this is lovely! Sometimes you just need something beautiful. I needed this today. Thank you.

  11. Thanks, Rick, I’ve been familiar with the poem from long ago, never realized it was in such a disciplined form. Been a long time since I’ve read it. Still overwhelmed with his way with words, but the sentiment no longer rings true for me as it did fifty years ago. He certainly lived it out tho.

  12. Beautiful, Damaris. Thank you.

  13. The wholesale source for physical body oils, perfume oils, fragrance
    oils, bathroom and also physical body products, items and containers.
    Discount rate fragrance comes in outstanding internet shops and for that most sensible rate.