The Lark Ascends

“The Lark Ascending” is a piece of poetry written by George Meredith sometime in the late 19th century. The poem details a lark simply flying around the countryside and singing aloud for all to hear, and yet Meredith does such a superb job in capturing the image, both succinctly and beautifully. His poem inspired Vaughn Williams, a composer, to write what would become one of the most-loved classical pieces in English early 20th century.

Here’s the link to the poem:

“The Lark Ascending”

Here’s the link to the classical work (on Spotify):

And here’s why I bring all this up: David Crowder wrote a song on his third full-length album A Collision or (3+4=7) in the spirit that both the poem and the classical piece try to capture, and David Crowder does so rather masterfully. He actually records a two song performance, if you will, of a conversation he has with an interviewer, which then fades into a swelling chorus about worship, living a true life, and finding beauty and meaning in it all. I could probably write a whole blog about David Crowder’s song, but that’s not what I’m here to do. Regardless, here’s a link to check that out too:

The song along with the poem, and the classical piece have all inspired me to rise on wings, to take flight heavenward, and to try to see if just maybe I could pull others with me, as the lark is described doing in all three pieces of art.

So what do I mean by all this? Well, for me, it means I have made several stabs at writing poetry. I have always loved writing, and there is something about poetry that draws me in and lifts my eyes up. As a child I would pore over Shel Silverstein’s books, and I’ve always been fascinated with the way words sound and feel on the mouth.

Sometimes I’ll catch myself repeating a phrase or a word someone has just said, solely because I love the way it sounds. I also recognize that this often makes me look like a crazy person muttering under their breath, but it’s something I’ve already come to terms with.

So these stabs at poetry may seem like fumblings in the dark, like when someone is trying to untangle earbuds at night, but they are well-intentioned fumblings nonetheless. And, I would like to share these fumblings with you, dear reader, in the hopes that somehow, in someway, someone might just connect with one of these poems, and consequently, rise above the earth that all-too-often pulls us back down. And if you do rise, please bring me along with you.

After all, it’s not about me. It’s about the one to whom I am pointing in this messy world, and in my messy life, and it’s all about encountering that divine beauty more and more each day.

Thus, without any further needless introduction or apology, “The Lark Ascends: A collection of thoughts, poems, prayers and meditations about, for, to, and on that divine reality that lifts us toward the heavens, even as we pull others with us.”

(As a brief note, many of these poems were written with the intention of being read aloud, but enjoy them all the same!)

Hope

As morning comes
My hope does run
Trying to get far far away

Hearing the birds
I open your word
And suddenly my hope pauses to stay

————————————————————

On Being Startled By an Amber Alert

The sudden burst of noise I hear
reverberation of sound
waves reaching my ear.

I jolt, I bolt, from reverie.
St Augustine’s Confessions
currently capturing my attentions.

An Amber Alert.
In Tulsa Oklahoma, far away,
an hour and a half, maybe 2 in this rain.

Just like the thunder, and the lightning
dancing in the window behind me,
this amber alert jumps into my conscience,
reminding me of the storm going on,
both inside and outside of me.

Yes. This world is torn.
This world is broken.
I live in a place
where a mother can stab a daughter;
set fire to a house,
and cause police to give chase.

Yes, this world is indeed broken.
And what am I doing?
Reading, turning pages, sipping drinks lazily,
and ultimately playing the fool.
All the while Hafza Hailey has gone missing.

In utter despondency, I turn to the only authority, the one who can make me see that everything is going to be ok.

Yes.

Even this.

Even this broken world, where mother’s harm their daughters.

Even this broken world,
where tormented teens
turn on their fellow human beings,
shooting, killing, dividing families
that should not be separated so easily.

Even this broken world,
where the hungry grow hungrier,
and the rich richer
and the poor poorer,
and everyone else that doesn’t deserve the “er” end up getting it.

Even this broken world,
where the church remains silent,
while the world grows violent.

Even this broken world.

I can believe that even this broken world will turn on its head,
right it’s wrongs, and resurrect the dead.

Because there once was an amber alert, many years ago.
Pardon the cheesiness, but the connection is obvious, because
A father lost his son 2000 years ago,

The son who had gone looking for other children who happened to have been lost in the great Amber Alert.
Yes. Even the son had become so desperate in finding the lost, that
he too ended up losing.
He too, lost his life.
He too, disappeared, when all should not have been lost.

But the story there,
does not end
For in the end,
the son wins.

The stone rolls away,
and he, bright as day,
steps forth shining in victory.

Death cannot be the final word. Stabbings cannot be the rule.
Bullets will one day return to the guns from which they came,
and all will stand before the one who can reclaim.

No, for all is not lost,
because the son has found the children
– amber alerts forever turned off.

Because of this extraordinary incident, I can believe that everything is going to be OK.
————————————————————

Life is Meaningless

Meaningless meaningless
Everything, meaningless!
Teacher said

And so it seems that way
But as I roll from bed
Hearing the

Birds tweeting, Grass singing
Body breathing, leaves waving
Wind sighing

I whisper to myself
This is life, and it is
beautiful

————————————————————

Sermon of the Fireflies, Pt. 3

In the throes of intellection
I sit here considering the firefly
As dim points of fixation
Float across my minds eye

Where goes the firefly on a night like this
Why shine here, disappear there
Beholden unto darkness
Yet dancing without seeming cause or care

The firefly disregards nature
The absolute overwhelming superfluity
Of a single chemical reaction
Seemingly wasted

I was told when I was young
Fireflies shine to attract a mate:
Translation: Fireflies shine so they can get it on
I wonder if humans can relate?

What sermon are these fireflies preaching?
To whom is their message reaching?

Beauty escapes the gravity that pulls me down, and the firefly at night rides the winds to reach my weary soul.

The sermon of the fireflies
The choir in the trees
The stillness of black night
Enveloping me.

The fireflies are quiet tonight
Reaching me only through visual sight

Why are you silent o Firefly,
When you could speak
And rid the doubt festering
deep inside of me

Are you truly quiet? Or have I just chosen to plug my ears?
Am I abandoning this beauty I have found?
Dust to dust, I shall return to ground
Ashen face and rough shall I fare
Until I see my savior standing there
With fireflies as backdrop
Dancing before oblivion,
contesting, Surviving chaos
while beauty runs abreast

Firefly, firefly, at night your sermon speaks clearest
When weights, and cages weigh down and enclose,
To you shall I return and encounter beauty in repose

No amount of science seems to explain
No reasoning could make sense
Of the feeling ignited in my chest
When you shine bright again.

I behold, and,
impelled to write
my heart is impaled by rightness
that pierces me through
And reminds me of what in this world be true.

Beauty.

Love.

Goodness.

These can all endure the overwhelming
Waves of

doubt,
fear,
evil and
hate.

Such truths can be recognized
If one but sits still, Opens the eyes
Undoes the ties
closing the heart
Loosens the ears, allowing time
To simply be,
to pass by and by

And especially if one listens to the sermon of the firefly.

————————————————————
Alchemy

I woke to silver fields around
Turned so by seeming alchemy
But looking closer what I found
was beauty layered in beauty

The grass, the dew, the sun, combine
Three elements forming a whole
And if seen in its proper time
Transforms the weary seeker’s soul

Green grass, canvas on which to paint
Standing bold and strong, resolute
No flaw, hindrance or visible taint
Marks the lawn, so seemingly smooth

Shimmering dew, mirrors of light
pallette from which to draw
Colors resplendent, ever bright
Inspire’s ev’n the jaded to awe

The sun, oh bright sun, shining down
On canvas and paint, artist’s stroke
Coronates each blade with silver crown
And within the whole scene evokes

That beautiful sense of fullness;
Things coming alive in their time
Finding my clothes, I start to dress
breathe deep, and contentedly sigh

————————————————————

EGBOK

And the poets once said, “all manner of things shall be well.”
A truth surely capable of undoing personal Hells
Even tho the world be crumbling
And my own heart stumbling
In the end, I believe that all will indeed be well.

————————————————————

FEAR

I’m afraid of becoming the social media contrarian troll.

I’m afraid of dying alone.

I’m afraid the work of my life will not have meant anything to anyone.

I’m afraid that other people see me as an inconvenience and no fun.

I’m afraid of becoming fat.

Yes, even I am afraid of that.

I’m afraid that if I show myself, as I really am, to someone I love, they will reject me.

In other words, I’m afraid of vulnerability.

I’m afraid of presenting my creative efforts to a crowd who does not respond.

I’m afraid of abandoning this beauty I have found.

I’m afraid that what I believe will have been worthless in the end.

And I’m deathly afraid of losing all my friends.

I’m afraid to share with you my fears.

I’m afraid to be before you with naked heart, standing here.

Ascension
Chapel at OCU. Walking in, I was immediately struck with how similar the form and architecture of this building lends itself to an angel ascending to heaven, or perhaps, a lark.

Here’s a playlist I created on Spotify that includes some of my all-time favorite songs that have this innate ability to transcend my daily experience, and to consequently lift me again and again up towards the heavens.

The Lark Ascends

If you have any questions about my poems, please send me a text or an email! I’d love some feedback.

Were they any good? Did any “speak” personally to you? I don’t mind criticism in the slightest, so let me hear it so I can get better at writing poetry.

phone: 405-990-6268

email: swilliambrown.1@gmail.com

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