Sonnets for Heaven's Queen

Cause of Our Joy

Causa Nostrae Laetitiae

Rejoicing I am joyful in the Lord;
My soul exulteth in my God, for He,
With rarest ornament and golden cord,
In bright salvation’s robe hath vested me.

Though brief and passing be the summer’s sway
Upon the land, and fading be the sun,
Mine is the light of an eternal day,
The happy, happy reign of Christ my Son.

And when the seas and oceans have gone dry,
The stars darkened, moon melted, mountains moved,
And fire and blood have fallen from the sky
Upon the righteous who had never loved,

When comes the peace that sin cannot destroy,
The living yet shall bless me in their joy.

From Sonnets for Heaven’s Queen © Joseph Charles MacKenzie. All rights reserved.

Joseph Charles MacKenzie is a traditional lyric poet of New Mexico. On February 1, 2020, he won the Society of Classical Poets Competition, taking First Place in the Best of 2019 category. He is also the only American to have won the Scottish International Poetry Competition (see: Times Literary Supplement, Jan 27, 2017). A Pushcart Prize nominee, MacKenzie's verses have appeared in The New York Times, The Scotsman (Edinburgh), The Independent (London), The Telegraph (London), and many other venues. He wirtes primarily for Trinacria (New York) and the Society of Classical Poets (New York).


  • Nicholas Wilton

    Dear MacKenzie,

    “Cause of our Joy” is a wonderful Marian sonnet with a strong iambic pentameter – which I like. The line “The stars darkened, moon melted, mountains moved” was a surprise to me but is quite striking in its inherent power and works well.

    Well done!


    • Joseph Charles MacKenzie

      Yes, Wilton, with your fine ear you have correctly identified the striking break from the typical iambic pentameter line in verse 10. And, of course, the “shifted” meter represents the convulsions of the earth at the ἔσχατον (eschaton) or end of the world as envisioned by St. John in the Apocalypse. I am pleased to be able to write for those who appreciate not only a poem’s words but also its meters. The English sonnet, so meticulously developed by Thomas Wyatt, Sir Philip Sidney, and William Shakespeare, was conceived as a musical form primarily—a lesson lost on today’s modernists and empty formalists.

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