I know what I have seen, where I have gone.
I’ve stood confused in the mid-summer snow.
I’ve picked up paper parcels for a faun.
You can’t deny the things I really know.
You can say that I’m lying. It’s no lie,
but how can I convince you that it’s real?
Your hands meet wooden panels. You see no sky
opening through the branches you cannot feel.
What made the magic stop? What made the doors
not open on the same Narnia twice?
You tease me I’d find oceans in the drawers,
but your dishonesty is not my vice.
Well, doubt me if you will; these things exist
and always will, even if they’re dismissed.
A sonnet for C. S. Lewis’ The Horse and His Boy
Rash Rabadash, the selfish son of sin,
brat of the Tisroc, and spoiled Lasaraleen,
you both know little better than how to preen
your peacock’s feathers and your ass’s grin.
You are the same as you have ever been:
determined to live just like a king and queen,
no matter who gets in your way. You’re mean.
Whenever you seek love, you play to win
both wealth and beauty, maddened when you lose–
unthinkable! Your privilege? No, your right–
or so you say. Until you see the One
more rightly ruler than you come for His dues,
more beautiful than you for your delight.
He has not played your games, but He has won.
Layer after layer I peel off with this claw.
I dig in, rip the hard, exterior shell.
The gooey, sticky, scaly, hanging, raw
flesh burns, exposed to air, a sickening smell.
There lies my dragon-skin. What’s this? Below
another layer of the same appears.
There’s hardly been time for one scale to grow!
I tear—the pain now stings like piercing spears.
Again and again I fail. The Lion’s eyes
shame me. “It’s not enough.” He starts to shred.
The pain is paralyzing. My heartbeat dies.
The beast is gone, and every coat is shed.
His paws plunge me in water. I rise man,
but cleaner now than when my life began.
Dunk down the draught of light, and watch the sun
rise five times bigger, brighter on the sea—
nothing but light for fathoms. Ripples run
between white lilies floating silently.
The sweetness flows past open lips and fills
the stomach with some substance real as bread.
Here near the world’s end I can see the hills
reel without end to the sun where noon is spread
and spilled to mortal eyes. Light-water clears
my vision to admit more light, and more.
More swell desires to see these bright frontiers
and Aslan, lion-lamb, to touch the shore
and feel the light-grown grass between my toes
by ocean-light and mountains without snows.
Aug. 15, 2010
C. S. Lewis’ The Silver Chair; Psalm 119:105; Exodus 20:1-17; II Corinthians 3:12-18; Isaiah 6:5-7; Romans 7:7 – 8:2
Four simple signs… short list of 10 stone laws…
a thousand ways of breaking each, or worse –
forgetting, never taking time to pause
and say them over. Comforts must come first.
Our obligations steal remaining hours,
and what the duties leave mist into dreams.
Soft-spoken, the shadows cloak their own dark powers,
beckon away from the all-revealing beams.
Who would be bothered with such blinding truth?
Veiling our faces can mute that great bright shock.
We whisper our hearts’ words, knowing them uncouth,
unwilling our lips be scorched by a fiery rock.
So we hide our mistakes and the laws that point them out,
miss the ardent Love that light is all about.
From 2005. For The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe.
lies that seem so palatable,
I a prince,
revenge like honey
in the pit of my stomach.
Why do I have this warning
in my gut:
Turkish-delight white lies,
blankets over the shivers
when I could go back to summer holidays,
bitterness of a brother
when I should be sweet.
A sonnet for The Magician’s Nephew
I spoke the deplorable word. Now all is still.
My enemies and servants are no more.
And from an utterance formed with power to kill
all opposition, I have won the war,
but single-handed, single-mouthed to deal
destruction on all sides—the armies fall
like ashes, into stone, no more to feel.
Only a word, my magic, ruined all.
The blood is drained to leave their stiff shapes pale.
Only the half-dead sun retains its red.
My masterpiece of winter cries out, “Hail!”
I sleep. You come too curious for the dead.
Children, be careful lest you strike the bell
that wakes the deplorable word you know too well.