Friday, May 28, 2010

Guest Poet Donn Taylor

Today I'd like to introduce you to poet Donn Taylor. Donn is a former college English professor, author, and a regular speaker at Christian writing conferences. He is on a mission to bring poetry back to our culture. I love the way he uses sound and humor in his poems, and I had a hard time choosing one today, but since I spent all last week learning about postmodernism, I chose a powerful poem that really spoke to me. We've come a long way from the Victorian Era, people.

The Lost Ones
Psalm 68:6

Here in the oasis it's hard to visualize
That place the lost ones name Utopia,
Created by their choices day by day,
And by their definitions to become
The optimum of human habitation.
Truth, they say, is not inherited,
A thing already there that needs discovering
Through diligent research and reasoning.
They say that truth is "socially constructed,"
Which means they make it up along the way.
Grant them heroic effort to construct
Reality as they think it ought to be.
Grieving, we watch them wander there outside.
How strange it is to watch them eat the sand
And call it nourishment, or drink their own
Ideas, defining them as water--strange to see
Their search through stones for spirituality.
We didn't make the oasis: we found it here,
Fully created, all its terms defined
Within the boudaries of the Decalogue--
We'd only to discover and enjoy.
We beckon, but they turn their eyes away,
Defining oases as superstition,
Preferring barren paths of sand and stone,
Seeking through alchemy, defining dross as gold,
Circling forever in the deserts of the soul.

Copyright 2008 Dust and Diamond
Donn Taylor led an Infantry rifle platoon in the Korean War, served with Army aviation in Vietnam, and worked with air reconnaissance in Europe and Asia. Afterwards, he completed a PhD degree at The University of Texas and taught English literature at two liberal arts colleges. He and his wife live near Houston, Texas, where he writes fiction, poetry, and articles on current topics.

A collection of well-crafted poems addressing fundamental questions of human experience in today's world--its sadnesses and triumphs, and the humor that tempers them both.

To order Dust and Diamond from click here.
For more information about Donn, his poetry, and his novels click here.

Okay, Dina here, allow me to play college literature teacher for a minute. I'm out of practice, and I miss it. What images do you see in this poem? What do the images bring to mind? What do you think the author is trying to say through the poem? Do you relate in any way?


  1. Hi Dina,
    after you suggested a poem by Donn Taylor, I started to see his name in other places. His life story is interesting.

    I like the line about defining oases as superstition--such a sad truth about those are introduced to the source of perfect peace and yet don't want to believe.

    Well, as this is poetry day at the Inkwell, that means a new month is coming up soon. And we have a long weekend to take us there!

  2. Deb, last week at Blue Ridge, I took a continuing class by Ann Tatlock on the subject of postmodernism. This poem hits the nail right on the head. I like the way he uses the word "oasis," a place of rest and refreshing, contrasted against "utopia," an ideal we all know doesn't really exist.

    Okay, I could go on and on about word choice and imagery, but I'll try to spread it out through the day. And I'll do my best not to be too much of a poetry geek.

  3. You know we love you because of many things, including the fact you ARE the poetry geek!

    I don't understand the whole postmodernism thing myself. Aren't you working on a historical at the same time? I'm sure somehow it all just feeds the brain and the muse!

  4. You know, girls. Poetry has never been my bag, but you all might convince me differently.

    Excellent stuff.

  5. Okay, well then let me go on. The postmodern world is represented by the desert. A broad, empty, dry expanse. In postmodern thought, "truth" does not exist. It is simply a social construct which is different in each society and culture.

    So, I love where he says, "Grant them heroic effort to construct reality as they think it ought to be."

    I also love the way they're eating and drinking sand when there's living water nearby, and they're trying to convince themselves that it's something worthwhile.

    Trying through alchemy to turn lifeless sand and stone into gold.

    Oh, and the last line. Ahh

  6. Thanks for introducing us to Donn, Dina! After a hectic day, this was a lovely respite for body and soul. I love the line about alchemy. Rich.

  7. Thank you, Dina, for including my poem. And thanks to the ladies for their comments. You are all most gracious.


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