Dr. David A. Craig is a professor of English at the Franciscian University of Stubenville and the author of fifteen collections of poetry. Three of his poems have graced the pages of Ancient Paths: “Grace” (Issue 5), “Matthew Was in the Counting House” (Issue 8), and “Jesus Amazed” (Issue 10). Some years ago, he shared with me one of his many collections, Sonnets from Matthew (© 2002).
It’s wonderful to see that poets are still making use of the sonnet form these days. As Wordsworth knew, the strictures of the sonnet can create a happy prison, where poetry is made stable by a strong structure. Sonnets from Matthew contains over fifty such poems, each inspired by a different set of verses from the Gospel of Matthew. The poet’s determination to draw so many poems from a sole source is impressive, and he has managed to dredge much variety out of that single spring. Occasionally the rhyme seems a little forced, but for the most part the sonnets flow smoothly. The collection (perhaps not surprising given its inspiration) is ripe with meaning.
Though not a sonnet, as a sample of David’s writing, I’d like to share with you “Grace,” which was published in the Fall 2000 issue of Ancient Paths alongside the works of many other talented poets.
by David Craig
My wife puts on the cellulite video
and gets caught throughout, between commands,
trying to get the last one right before this one’s done.
She has enthusiasm, does the grapevine,
arms swinging up too late, and then back,
behind her, the clap.
I think of her high school cheerleading try-outs,
how the student judges called her out a second time,
just to laugh.
But she was THERE, doing the routine again:
the jumps, the yells, willing to try because this is all we get,
the now, the mistakes that sometimes lapse
too close to perfection.
Pushing her glasses up her nose, she looks at me,
smiles. These birth pounds have to come off.
And her husband, the man who has left his book
for a moment, needs to see.