Ted Lewis Sonnet Poetry

Devotional and Confessional Sonnets by Ted Lewis (2019 and 2020)

In the winter of 2019, Sister Lois of the Benedictine Monastery in Duluth, MN, loaned me a copy of a book of sonnets by the contemporary British Poet, Malcom Guite titled Sounding the Seasons.  Something new and strong resonated within me as I read his poetry.

Inspired by the way Guite placed biblical references into the sonnet form, I began to write a set of poems during the Lenten season of 2019. Out of this emerged a larger set that I have called Confessional Sonnets. George Herbert is for me a prime model of confessional poetry within the Christian tradition. One of his sonnets can be read further below.

Shakespeare is also known for writing sonnets, but they are mostly on the theme of romantic love; on occasion, though, he wrote a devotional sonnet (such as #146). Soon after him, several English poets, including John Donne and John Milton, made larger use of the sonnet form for devotional purposes. George Herbert is part of this era, and he is associated with the Metaphysical Poets.

The listing below holds about 50 sonnets I wrote in 2019, all of which are devotional (meaning they are God-ward), and most of which are confessional (meaning they are aspirational toward forgiveness, repentance, new inner growth, and so forth.)  Please note the alignment of ‘spiritual’ with ‘aspirational’ — an important connection for me. Also listed are additional sonnet sets written in 2020.

In the same way the sonnet writers of the 17th century used metaphors (for example, a building) to illustrate aspects of the human body and soul, all of my sonnets rely on biblical passages and images in a similar manner. Peter’s denial becomes my denial. The five foolish virgins are my deceptive and foolish behaviors. This placing of myself into the text and being thereby questioned by the text has become a rich practice in my own journey of spiritual formation.

2019:

Lenten/Passion Sonnets

Advent Sonnets

Confessional Sonnets (Older Testament)

Confessional Sonnets (Newer Testament)

Miscellaneous Devotional Sonnets (2019)

Word and Image Sonnets Set A (2019)

2020:

Word and Image Sonnets Set B (2020)

Kenotic God – Sonnet Quartet

Irenic God – Sonnet Septet

Glory Sonnets – a Septet

Nicodemus Sonnet Quartet

Genesis Garden Sonnet Septet

Miscellaneous Devotional Sonnets (2020)

 

To contact Ted Lewis:  tedlewis76@gmail.com

No republication is permitted without permission.

 

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Love (2) 

by George Herbert

Immortal Heat, O let Thy greater flame
Attract the lesser to it; let those fires
Which shall consume the world first make it tame,
And kindle in our hearts such true desires.
As may consume our lusts, and make Thee way:
Then shall our hearts pant Thee, then shall our brain
All her invention on Thine altar lay,
And there in hymns send back Thy fire again.
Our eyes shall see Thee, which before saw dust,
Dust blown by wit, till that they both were blind:
Thou shalt recover all Thy goods in kind,
Who wert disseized by usurping lust:
All knees shall bow to Thee; all wits shall rise,
And praise Him Who did make and mend our eyes.