The Call of Samuel

“Samuel!” He heard his name. Dead of night
Temple bed, near the flick’ring lantern light
To the priest (name of Eli: poor of sight)
“Did you call? Helping you is my delight!”

“Wasn’t me. Were you dreaming? Back to bed”
So he went. On his pillow placed his head
Twice again: his name was called. So he said,
“Eli, sir, you must have called!” But instead:

Eli said, “Perhaps the Lord calls to you
if again, heed my words here’s what to do:
to him say, ‘speak, for I’m your servant true’.”
thus God spoke: words to him that were brand new

Gift to God: God gifted you – prophets sight
for to him, you listened with all your might


yesterday I was reading from 1st Samuel chapter 3 and so thought I would try re-telling the call of Samuel in sonnet form.


and now the boring stuff (for poetic nerds like myself) – feel free to not read this part unless you really enjoy discussion of form:

I liked the rhythm of the first line…so thought I would try to keep that rhythm throughout the poem (not as successful as I had hoped, but I think I came close). The stereotypical sonnet is written in iambic pentameter (2 syllables per foot – or “beat”, and 5 feet per line, with second syllable of a foot getting the emphasis. I tried to go a bit different with mine…each line is supposed to start and end with a dactyl (a 3 syllable foot where the 1st syllable is stressed). In between the dactyls, either 2 iambs or 2 trochees (a trochee, like an iamb, is a 2 syllable foot, except that it’s the 1st syllable that is emphasized.

Sharing this with dVerse for Open Link Night


18 thoughts on “The Call of Samuel

  1. A sonnet for Samuel You certainly whirled the peas with this one – I read the techie bit and that makes the poem even more impressive with dactyl, feet and beat. P.s. Made me go and read the bible passage again

    • It was quite a challenge….especially as I kept each quatrain ending with one rhyme sound instead of 2. I’ve been really enjoying limiting myself to more formal poetry lately…I’ve been primarily writing sonnets. I enjoy free verse too…but something about the more formal rules and structures of form poetry seems to be somehow cathartic.

  2. They listened and followed his Word. Admiring the form but can’t comment as I am not an expert on the form ~ Thanks for the retelling of the call of Samuel ~

  3. kaykuala
    God gifted you – prophets sight
    for to him, you listened with all your might

    One is already blessed with the prophet’s strong support to be well guided in life! Great way of putting this into a sonnet, Bryan!


  4. The last line truly impressed. As for the tech bit – my eyes started glazing over and my mind wandered to the scene outside, whether the haze I see is mist or smoke and my nose being blocked with a touch of unseasonal flu and wondering if I want to nap now or later and what shall I have for dinner … you get the idea. That said: I’ve been working up the courage to write ‘form’ poetry and the sonnet will be the first attempt. So if I may, I’ll keep the tech to read again later when I’m more focussed. Okay? … and … Thanks!

  5. Bryan, the retelling of Samuel is wonderful… especially as a sonnet (not a Hebrew poetic form, so… synthesis at work!). Your techie, poet-nerd piece is excellent! In fact… if I may, I’d like to reblog your post. I won’t do so without your permission.

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