To Wilton

Wilton! Could music make the dead to rise,
Spare life its toil, move wills from sloth,
Bind happy lovers in their troth,
Or lift a heart to soar upon the skies,

Rather would I your holy strains to hear,
That breathe of the eternal life
And free the spirit of its strife,
As if to sanctify the human ear.

Our times find balance in your measured tones
That raise the sweetness of your lays
To heights of consecrated praise
Resounding in the far celestial zones!

Through you the souls of Tallis and of Byrd
Respire the chaste sobriety
Of England’s antique piety
In youthful melodies before unheard.

May you, who snatched from Orpheus his lyre,
To play it at Our Lady’s feet,
Forever make man’s heart to beat
With love of Him who fuels your music’s fire!

Winner of the 2020 Society of Classical Poets Competition (America's highest honor in classical verse), Joseph Charles MacKenzie is a traditional lyric poet of New Mexico. 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).

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