Yesterday morning, while reading the day’s lesson, Lesson 329, I have already chosen what you will, I found the prayer to be particularly poetic and began wondering if this were a sonnet by Jesus, hidden in the prose, one of several I have found sprinkled throughout the Text and Workbook.
Father, I thought I wandered from Your Will, defied it, broke its laws, and interposed a second will more powerful than Yours. Yet what I am in truth is but Your Will, extended and extending. This am I, and this will never change. As You are One, so am I one with You. And this I chose in my creation, where my will became forever one with Yours. That choice was made for all eternity. It cannot change, and be in opposition to itself. Father, my will is Yours. And I am safe, untroubled and serene, in endless joy, because it is Your Will that it be so.
Curiously, I started at the beginning of the prayer, counting ten syllables, then starting a new line, Et Voila! fourteen lines emerged from the prose, a sonnet marching stately across the page in a gentle cadence.
FATH er, i THOUGHT i WAN dered FROM your WILL,
de FIED it, BROKE its LAWS, and IN ter POSED
a second will more powerful than Yours.
Yet what I am in truth is but Your Will,
extended and extending. This am I,
and this will never change. As You are One,
so am I one with You. And this I chose
in my creation, where my will became
forever one with Yours. That choice was made
for all eternity. It cannot change,
and be in opposition to itself.
Father, my will is Yours. And I am safe,
untroubled and serene, in endless joy,
because it is Your Will that it be so.
This rhythm is iambic pentameter, five sets of iambs, slack STRESS. The one exception is FATH er, which is a trochee, STRESS slack.
Trust your ear to find the stresses, five per line, and then read it slowly aloud, finding a soft, stately cadence, and soon your heartbeat, ta DUM, ta DUM, will align with Jesus’ slack STRESS, slack STRESS, and you will discover:
My heart is beating in the peace of God. (Lesson 267)
Notice how Jesus uses the convention to blend the rhythm and the sense in this sentence:
As YOU are ONE,
so AM i ONE with YOU.
In the first clause, YOU and ONE receive the stress, emphasizing Oneness, and in the second clause, ONE is stressed, but not the i. If the i were stressed, it would prevent the blending into Oneness:
so I am ONE with YOU.
This particular sonnet is divided into three parts. In part one, the separation is emphasized. In part two, the Oneness is expressed, and in part three, the consequence of Oneness is emphasized: safety, serenity, and joy.
Now, I will contrast Jesus’ sonnet with a sonnet by Shakespeare, selecting one of my favorites, Sonnet 55.
Not MAR ble, NOR the GILD ed MON u MENTS
of PRIN ces, SHALL out LIVE this POWR’ ful RHYME;
But you shall shine more bright in these contents
Than unswept stone, besmear'd with sluttish time.
When wasteful war shall statues overturn,
And broils root out the work of masonry,
Nor Mars his sword, nor war's quick fire shall burn
The living record of your memory.
'Gainst death, and all oblivious enmity
Shall you pace forth; your praise shall still find room
Even in the eyes of all posterity
That wear this world out to the ending doom.
So, till the judgment that yourself arise,
You live in this, and dwell in lovers' eyes.
The Shakespearian sonnet, and it is hard to believe that he wrote 154 of them, is divided into three 4 line stanzas, and a rhyming couplet. The rhythm is iambic pentameter.
If you have a keen eye, you may have seen the irregularity of the iambic pattern in line 11:
Even in the eyes of all posterity
It scans like this:
E ven /in the EYES /of ALL /pos TER /i TY
Sometimes, Shakespeare varies the rhythm. In this case the first foot (E ven) is a trochee, STRESS slack, like FATH er, and the second (in the EYES) is an anapest, slack slack STRESS, and the last three are iambs.
Notice that the end rhymes of each stanza follow a certain pattern: the first and third rhyme
(-ments. –tents), and second and fourth (rhyme, time).
As far as content, this sonnet is a testament to the power of the sonnet form, whether Jesus’ or Shakespeare’s. This powerful form will outlive monuments in space and time. Wars will not wipe it out. As long as there are readers, the sonnet lives, and his beloved lives as well. She attains immortality in these lines. She lives again as we read it, now.
In fact, Shakespeare uses the word “live”, or a form of it, four times:
line 2, outlive; line 8, living; line 9, oblivious; and line 14, live
In Jesus’ sonnet, the lines live in us as we read them, hearing Him speak to us from within, His voice as rhythmic as our beating heart, and we hear Him speaking not about immortality, but of resurrection. Each moment we experience Oneness, we resurrect, relinquishing the crucifixion of wandering from God’s will.
THANK you, FATH er.