Strength by James Goldberg

Strength 2

I whisper faster than the wind, and my words race through all the earth €”

I shake down human mountains and give new regimes their birth €”

I shine with burning passion and illuminate the sky €”

but God is in the silence, and is still greater than I.

For a bio and additional poems by James Goldberg, go here.


6 thoughts on “Strength by James Goldberg”

  1. I was thinking more of technology-enhanced, semi-cyborg modern man. We can communicate almost instantly across vast distances, are capable of rapid political and social change, can pursue passions and hobbies to extents that would have struck our ancestors as supernatural (divine or demonlike)…but all the power of our technology is less than the power of spirit-filled stillness.

    Hmm…back to the drawing board on how to express that more clearly.


  2. As I’ve said elsewhere, riddle verse is tricky. How do you give good clues without giving the answer away at no cost to the reader? How do you keep the cost down?

    Line two precludes humanity for me. I was looking for something under God and over man. It was a stretch, given the second half of line one, but the best I could come up with was a force of nature moving at light speed and used to communicate (line one), implicated in political upheaval (line two), radiant (line three) and not God (line four) or the universe (which is relatively still and indifferent in my view).

    By the way, did you deliberately break rhythm in line four (is still greater vs. greater still)? I kind of like reading it “God is in the silence and greater still than I.” Sort of Blakian and with an additional layer of meaning: God is greater being still than I am rushing around doing all this damage and making a show of myself. With a little streamlining of the feet, this would make a really nice quasi-Blake-style heroic couplet with a line syllable count of 14-13-13-13.


  3. So, you’re Kilroy?

    I thought the ambiguity was deliberate: any number of forces, ambitions, drives, achievements, etc, could fit.

    At the moment, 16-14-14-14, with the added effects that i) the first line invites a quickened reading, and ii) the others, though they are more or less uniform in length and share the same number of syllables, give the impression somehow of a winnowing. I like that.

    Also, resistance is futile. As you were.


  4. I admit that, like Mark, I was skeptical for the first three lines, but the last line seals the deal and makes it (for me) something more than just riddle verse…man is still nothing (but not nothing to God.)

    Cyborgs 😀


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