I’ve wanted to be a writer for as long as I can remember. I can think of few things more satisfying than choosing the right words. I also want to write because of Milton, a master of words.

For a long time, I’ve marveled at Paradise Lost, gob smacked by the singular brilliance of its author, an intellectual giant for the ages. I admired him as one admires a cultural landmark. Then shortly after my divorce, I read his sonnet, “When I consider how my light is spent.” That poem wasn’t written by Milton the one-name literary icon, composer of epics, but by a man with two names, John Milton, a sonneteer who found himself at odds with the life he was given, a man nearly undone by failure (which included going blind at 43). He wrote that sonnet not to prophesy but to process. I write to process a life I love but rarely understand until I write it down, one that brings me to my knees almost daily. Milton wasn’t a giant; he was just a man. And I figure if he can do it, maybe (just maybe) I can too.

“When I consider how my light is spent”

When I consider how my light is spent
Ere half my days in this dark world and wide,
And that one talent which is death to hide
Lodged with me useless, though my soul more bent
To serve therewith my Maker, and present
My true account, lest He returning chide;
“Doth God exact day-labor, light denied?”
I fondly ask. But Patience, to prevent
That murmur, soon replies, “God doth not need
Either man’s work or his own gifts; who best
Bear His mild yoke, they serve Him best. His state
Is kingly. Thousands at His bidding speed
And post o’er land and ocean without rest:
They also serve who only stand and wait.”


One thought on “Milton

  1. So pleased you are doing this. You certainly couldn’t have chosen a better place to start than the most human words of Milton. I haven’t read that poem in quite some time, but it’s one of my favorites. Thanks for sharing the grace of remembering.

    Liked by 1 person

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