Sunday, December 23, 2007

Chiasmuses on a Sunday Evening

My parents go to sleep pretty early, sometimes 7:30 in the evening, and I'm left with not much to do but watch the television on low volume (barely audible) or else read (which I really like!). One of my more recent past-times is exploring all the stuff in my old bedroom--the stuff I haven't looked at in years. I find weird things that remind me that I really didn't have very good taste in clothes; that yes, I have loved writing for my whole life; and that I had funny looking ears as a little kid! :D

Tonight I found myself in the closet drawers looking through some of my mission stuff. I wanted to find some drawings one of my friends did for me while I was serving, but instead I came across some poems that I wrote while my companion was sick. At the time I was particularly interested in chiasmuses. If you're not familiar with what a chiasmus is, I'll get a simple definition from wikipedia.

Wikipedia says, "In rhetoric, chiasmus is th figure of speech in which two clauses are related to each other through a reversal of structures in order to make a larger point; that is, the two clauses display invertedparallelism. Chiasmus was particularly popular inLatin literature, where it was used to articulate balance or order within a text." In other words, a chiasmus is a type of poetry or writing that is reflective. The end matches the beginning, and continues from both ends until they meet in the middle. The scriptures are full of chiasmuses. Here are a few simple examples:

Mark 10:31:
    a. But many that are first
    b. shall be last;
    b. and that the last
    a. shall be first in all things.
A complex chiasmus, i.e., a-b-c-c-b-a, comprises more than four lines. An example of a complex chiasmus is shown in John 17:6.
    a. I have manifested thy name unto the men
    b. Which thou gavest me
    c. out of the world:
    c. Thine they were,
    b. And thou gavest them me;
    a. And they have kept thy word.
What amazes me is that some chiasmuses are pages long and comprise entire chapters (in both the Bible and the Book of Mormon). Because of the interest I had in chiasmuses, I decided to try a few. Afterall, I had a lot of free time on my hand, and what better way to express my feelings than through writing and poetry? Here are a few of them, which I never bothered to title:

Chiasmus #1

a. Those who serve
b. Jesus Christ
c. shall laud his fame
d. and pronounce
e. His works
f. to all nations.
f. Many nations
e. shall behold His works
d. and shall shout,
c. with glory and honor
b. to the Messiah,
a. and they shall become His servants.

That was my first attempt! I think it went pretty well, so I thought I'd try one a little more personal:

a. Taintless in spirit are the pure in heart, and their motives and desires are righteous and virtuous--being the ways of God,
b. but art thou, oh God, mindful of thy children?
c. The afflictions that torment even the grandest of souls are many, and joy is fleeting.
d. It departeth quickly at times
e. and escapes the eyes and ears.
f. Oh, my God
g. Hedge not up our way, but the way of our enemies,
g. that our enemies may not prevail and stand above us victorious.
f. Holy Messiah
e. Seeing Thy hand and constant interventions we behold thy goodness,
d. and they refresh us.
c. Our afflictions, thou sayest, shall be but a moment, and our joys soon everlasting.
b. Truly Thy watchful eye guides our paths, even our very movements
a. and the pure in heart are reclaimed by their faith and works, and they shall sit with thee, restored and holy forever!


Thayninator said...

Nice. I like it. I wish I could write like that.

Josh Keele said...

Very cool. You could be a super hero or somthing, and your name could be called TimeMan.