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Poem

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  • #2475

    A critique would be appreciated as well as input as to whether this is a style of poem which works for a church music setting or not.

    If the sailor should have no star for his guide,

    Nor compass; did nothing abide.

    He’d drift on the ocean’s far billows.

    Alone, on the measureless tide.

    If the traveler should have no map for his way,

    The Unknown, outspread to the eye.

    Alone, in the desert he’d wander.

    Alone, twixt the earth and the sky.

    If the climber should find on the mountain’s peak,

    No pathway, no track for his feet.

    He’d stumble, be lost in the shadows.

    Alone, ‘midst the crag and the steep.

    If the king should posses no couns’lor beside,

    Once crowned, were he left all alone.

    Then strength would depart from the scepter

    For wisdom must gird up the throne.

    And should the foundations of truth be destroyed,

    Then wherewith would man guide his steps?

    Alone, in a vast trackless desert.

    Adrift, on the uncharted depths.

    All alone, as a sailor with no compass.

    Alone, upon life’s mountain height.

    Alone, with no Guide for his footsteps.

    Alone, bereft,doomed, without sight.

    But see now; Wisdom is robed in bright glory.

    The omniscient God’s on the throne.

    The Truth built the pathway to knowledge

    That by faith man should not walk alone.

  • #2499

    Lynn Martin
    Administrator

    You use some really good images, Rachel, which makes a big difference to whether a poem works or not. In general, this has a flowing rhythm, and I think it’s got a predictable enough rhythm that it could be sung easily. It’s not your typical hymn subject, but it’s devotional and thought-provoking, so I think it would work well as a church song.

    Two things. I would suggest shortening the poem. You could make the same point using only three or four stanzas rather than seven. Too much repetition of the same idea can cheapen a poem, and just having two or three examples of the need for truth would get the idea across well–and perhaps significantly more powerfully. You could choose your best stanzas and get rid of the rest. Of course, that’s hard to do!

    Also, there are a few lines that don’t flow well, like “That by faith man should not walk alone.” The rhythm is a bit bumpy, and I would suggest making it more predictable. Here’s a tip. If you find it hard to spot the bumpy lines in your own poetry, have a friend read the poem aloud, and see what they stumble over or find hard to say. If they find something hard to say the first time, that might not be a problem. But if they find something hard to say after two or three times of reading through, that line should be fixed.

  • #2506

    Ok. Thanks for the pointers!

    I agree that it is overly long for a song as it stands. Reading long poems is one thing, singing them quite another.

  • #3148

    I second what’s been said about it’s length. However, as a reassurance, I can hear the tune of a not-very-common Christmas hymn (that I can’t remember the title of) fitting with these words which suggests they are quite singable.

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