Poetry, VOLUME 12

C.S. Lewis – Five Favorite Poems from Spirits in Bondage!

November 22 marks the anniversary of the death of novelist and scholar, C.S. Lewis…

 
You probably are familiar with The Chronicles of Narnia, and also with C.S. Lewis’s theological works, but did you know that he was also a poet? We honor the occasion with five of our favorite C.S. Lewis poems …
 
These poems appear in the collection, Spirits in Bondage (available as a FREE ebook), which was published in 1919, when Lewis was 20.
 
 

Irish Nocturne
C.S. Lewis

Now the grey mist comes creeping up
From the waste ocean’s weedy strand
And fills the valley, as a cup
If filled of evil drink in a wizard’s hand;
And the trees fade out of sight,
Like dreary ghosts unhealthily,
Into the damp, pale night,
Till you almost think that a clearer eye could see
Some shape come up of a demon seeking apart
His meat, as Grendel sought in Harte
The thanes that sat by the wintry log—
Grendel or the shadowy mass
Of Balor, or the man with the face of clay,
The grey, grey walker who used to pass
Over the rock-arch nightly to his prey.
But here at the dumb, slow stream where the willows hang,
With never a wind to blow the mists apart,
Bitter and bitter it is for thee. O my heart,
Looking upon this land, where poets sang,
Thus with the dreary shroud
Unwholesome, over it spread,
And knowing the fog and the cloud
In her people’s heart and head
Even as it lies for ever upon her coasts
Making them dim and dreamy lest her sons should ever arise
And remember all their boasts;
For I know that the colourless skies
And the blurred horizons breed
Lonely desire and many words and brooding and never a deed.

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C. Christopher Smith is the founding editor of The Englewood Review of Books. He is also author of a number of books, including most recently How the Body of Christ Talks: Recovering the Practice of Conversation in the Church (Brazos Press, 2019). Connect with him online at: C-Christopher-Smith.com


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