Light of the World, Parts One and Two

This verse is a two-part rondeau, a lyrical poem form made famous by John McCrae’s “In Flanders Fields.”  The rondeau’s most defining feature is the rentrement: a phrase that begins the poem and then serves as a refrain in the second and third stanza.  The form is AABBA  AABR (rentrement)  AABBAR.  I have written this one in iambic pentameter: x/x/x/x/x/.

Part One of “Light of the World” is a study of Jesus’ words, “I am the Light of the World.” Part Two examines his seemingly incompatible words, “Ye are the Light of the World.”  The rentrement in each poem is “Illuminate this night,” yet there is a shift in perspective  from Part One to Part Two.

Light of the World: Part One

Then spake Jesus again unto them, saying, I am the light of the world: he that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life. (John 8:12)

Illuminate this night, Oh, Lord, we pray,

To stop us stumbling on our narrow way.

Well-lit, all murky shadows apprehend,

Each marker seen by us before the bend

A path made manifest by light of day.


Expose our wrongs, our defects with Your ray

Of clarity and Truth that gleam today.

Permit the darkness here to comprehend.

Illuminate this night.


And if we, lovers of the gloom would stray

To dismal passage, cheerless alleyway,

Then touch our eyes with brilliance, now transcend

Our inner twilight; Holy God descend

And bring Your radiance to our hearts to stay.

Illuminate this night.

Light of the World: Part Two

[The words of Jesus to His followers in His sermon on the Mount of Olives:]  “Ye are the light of the world.” (Matthew 5:14)

Illuminate this night, You say we will,

But only if our chambers get a fill

Of Spirit-oil, our eyes be single, true,

And holy light of God infuse us through,

Despite our darkness, doubt, our lack of skill.


We cannot force this sunshine to distil,

To brighten gloaming, take away the chill.

So Heaven orders Light to dark imbue.

Illuminate this night.


Now Treasure stocking up this earthen till,

You gut our rubbish, old-man mercy-kill.

Our new-man vital, Holy revenue

Eternal, shining, paying out our due

And then some; overflow of Life now spill:

Illuminate this night.


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