The Poets

October 25, 2009

That Amber Sun

I believe in Christianity as I believe that the sun has risen: not only because I see it, but because by it I see everything else.” C.S. Lewis

That Amber Sun

Our sun, that shiny orb our Lord,
That star amongst a billion bright,
Authentic outshines all their horde
And is alone Intrinsic Light.

Though Pollux and Arcturus reign-
Whose massive aspect Rigel mocks-
Their heat extends a hellish bane
That captures only lifeless rocks.

But vaulted there’s our amber sun
Amidst those wretched stars in strife;
He’s mighty and His will is one,
And from His being we have our life.


Of the Poem:

It’s interesting to look back and see all the contributing factors that brought a poem about- from the initial inspiration and first manifestation of its lines, to the fruition of a work whose many-layered meanings are interposed as perfectly as they can be (I say this of poets in general).

There are poets I’ve studied- Yeats comes to mind- who leave with their works commentaries that not only lend a clarifying context to it, but discloses something of the mental process the poet went through to achieve it. Although I don’t depend on these- as they may diminish a poem’s mystique- I do find them helpful at time (especially as they reveal the creative evolution of the poet’s mind).


The above poem is an offshoot of another poem I was working on. That poem, now in a fragments file, began as a representation of change, the four seasons, and the source of these seasons- namely God.

What spawned the endeavor to work on it was the beautiful introductory to Autumn Colorado just had: with all the golden trees and leaves of burgundy blown about the ground, and that crisp transitional air that called for the Winter, but held fast to the Summer ... I felt so thankful to experience it.

But then a new idea heavily held my attention, and so I stored the one I had been working on away- as I have with other incomplete poems- and pursued the current poem this blog pertains to.

For the sake of what follows, here’s that pervious work (untitled):

From Autumn leaves that auburn wear
The Winter’s dreadful cold in chain,
To Spring’s electric, emerald air
Whom Summer amplifies in train …
What marv’lous sights we humans know,
Who knowing hardly come to see
The transcendental light and glow,
The Source through whom these seasons be.

The last two lines are what planted in me a desire to script out something that would be a more direct attitude of thankfulness and, well, praise. The very first stanza that came to mind, bland though it may be, was this one:

The sun- our sun- though small and frail
Amidst the stars and solar strife
Is mighty as the moon is pale
And from its being we have our life.

Feeling this to be too naturalistic, too earthbound, too devoid of the Giver of life (who most certainly isn’t the physical sun), I immediately began to use other bodies and concepts from astronomy to convey the spiritual ideas I had in mind.

Imagination, concentrated symbolism, and time were my tools for about a week- and then it was complete.

I hope this doesn’t seem self-complacent, my posting how this poem emerged, but I thought it would be fun to share how it came about.

I myself am always left wondering: what amount of time did that poet take; who or what influenced this particular work; what was the context; what was the method of composition … and it goes on and on. And so I thought I’d try to answer at least one of those questions here.

That aside, I hope you liked the poem.


Nancy said...

Liked it, loved it, inspired by it, awed by it, enamored by it, breathless from it.... this poem immediately took its place amongst my favorites. THANK YOU for the background and personal commentary. Any reader should be honored to have the curtain drawn aside, even briefly, on this window.

I don't usually use this terminology, but am inspired to say.... namaste. Beautiful!

Doug P. Baker said...


A) Very, very cool poem!

B) I am so glad that you have removed the mystique that pretends that a poem is born fully formed as Athena being born in her full armor with a sword in her hand!

C) Thank you, Thank you, THANK YOU for being so honest and clear in how this poem originated in your mind and on the page. This is invaluable!

As you know I am not a poet. I am a LOVER of poetry. Yet, some twenty years ago I had two booklets of my "poetry" published. I now own neither of them and doubt I could get them. That doesn't matter. What matters is that if I had been as honest as you I might have been a real poet. And that, my friend, "is a consumation devoutly to be wished!"

The more I see your work, and the more I see it grow, the more I know you to be the real deal, the real poet, the real emerging voice. And I am honored just to watch you progress!

Nancy said...

Ditto on Doug, John -- of course minus the poetry published part.

As previously shared elsewhere...

POWERFUL tribute to God on High, the creator of ALL, the authentic light that outshines everything. BEAUTIFUL imagery weaving together the physical attributes of the sun and the life-giving and saving grace of Jesus. LOVE it so much, John. You have blessed my day.

This poem is still resonating in my soul and in all likelihood will continue to bless not only me but all who happen upon it.

Obiterspeak said...

Thank you for your reply John and you are very kind to include Obiterspeak in your list. That Amber Sun is like the scent of morning that renews an ailing soul and a sublime representation of our Lord’s ascent. Your account of how it came to be is, likewise, much appreciated and makes me think of the poem as:

> something like a photograph that snaps up a moment and not just a/one moment but a protracted or series of moments. What is captured, moreover, is the progress or growth of the poetic being.

> something like a craft or practical art that takes raw material and transforms it from something ordinary or mundane into something worthy of regard because it has become more meaningful. The raw materials (other than wood, metal or clay) with which the poet makes or finds are the aspects of language (vocabulary being only one of many), the skills learned/developed over the years, as well as personal experiences (of encounters with countless others) constituting the poet.

> and of something else still… As you say, “a privilege” or a sense being recognised/seen that is related to the poem being evidence of how a poet sees with extraordinary and faithful sight. This faculty cannot be described so easily because when it is spoken of what is said will always seem less than what is meant. Still, Wittgenstein would describe it as thinking “in a different way” but not so different if or to the extent that a picture or an experience of faith is shared.

As of April 9th, 2010