Runner up in the English Language and Literature Division Creative Writing Competition - Poetry

I gazed upon the burden of my flesh

That clung about my soul like dirty rags:

A hated cloak my freedom to enmesh,

Yet treasured staff of rebel legions’ flags.

This safety net I trembled to escape,

Yet still I longed to cut the bonds it had.

Though tugged I at the weighty clasp, the cape

Of flaws around my heart stayed clad.

Then kindly Hands removed the chain; revealed

The glassy soul and washed it crystal clear.

He lit the waiting wick, the panes He healed.

Inside my lantern glows His Spirit’s sphere.

How bright His light can shine from deep in me

When flesh is crucified and pure I be.


The inspiration behind this sonnet is Matthew 5:15, where Jesus speaks of those who light a candle and never put it under a bushel. I was inspired to think of the Christian as a lantern where fleshly desires become a “bushel” or cloth that hides the light of the Holy Spirit within. Yet no matter how much the Christian tries to shed this cloak of flesh, only God can truly give victory over flesh. I used the imagery of cloth and coverings throughout to parallel the flesh through a cloak or cape, the dirty rags of our own righteousness, and enemy “legions’ flag,” which was an allusion to the demon Jesus cast out of the man of Gadarenes. It was also meant to symbolize the allegiance the flesh has with the world rather than with God. I chose the sonnet form for its lyricism and specifically chose the Shakespearian sonnet form for its repeating rhyme scheme to mimic the refracting of light inside a lantern. I also wanted the progressive rhyme scheme of ABAB CDCD EFEF, rather than an Italian sonnet rhyme scheme, to symbolize the progressive work of sanctification or the “washing” of the lantern’s panes.