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January 4th, 2009


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09:35 pm - On Being Human
I haven't read much of C.S. Lewis' poetry, but a friend recommended this to me and I thought I would share it (with a special recommendation to fans of Supernatural who are current with the show).


On Being Human
by C.S. Lewis

Angelic minds, they say, by simple intelligence
Behold the Forms of nature. They discern
Unerringly the Archtypes, all the verities
Which mortals lack or indirectly learn.
Transparent in primordial truth, unvarying,
Pure Earthness and right Stonehood from their clear,
High eminence are seen; unveiled, the seminal
Huge Principles appear.

The Tree-ness of the tree they know-the meaning of
Arboreal life, how from earth's salty lap
The solar beam uplifts it; all the holiness
Enacted by leaves' fall and rising sap;

But never an angel knows the knife-edged severance
Of sun from shadow where the trees begin,
The blessed cool at every pore caressing us
-An angel has no skin.

They see the Form of Air; but mortals breathing it
Drink the whole summer down into the breast.
The lavish pinks, the field new-mown, the ravishing
Sea-smells, the wood-fire smoke that whispers Rest.
The tremor on the rippled pool of memory
That from each smell in widening circles goes,
The pleasure and the pang --can angels measure it?
An angel has no nose.

The nourishing of life, and how it flourishes
On death, and why, they utterly know; but not
The hill-born, earthy spring, the dark cold bilberries.
The ripe peach from the southern wall still hot
Full-bellied tankards foamy-topped, the delicate
Half-lyric lamb, a new loaf's billowy curves,
Nor porridge, nor the tingling taste of oranges.
—An angel has no nerves.

Far richer they! I know the senses' witchery
Guards us like air, from heavens too big to see;
Imminent death to man that barb'd sublimity
And dazzling edge of beauty unsheathed would be.
Yet here, within this tiny, charmed interior,
This parlour of the brain, their Maker shares
With living men some secrets in a privacy
Forever ours, not theirs.

Current Mood: thoughtfulthoughtful

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Comments:


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From:kerravonsen
Date:January 5th, 2009 06:14 am (UTC)
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Oooh.
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From:ladybrick
Date:January 5th, 2009 06:32 am (UTC)
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That was lovely :3 I've never read any of his poetry before.
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From:whitemartyr
Date:January 5th, 2009 10:12 am (UTC)
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I've read some of his poetry before. They had a book just of his poems in the TWU bookshop that I wanted to buy once but never did.

Thanks for sharing that. Gave me shivers. Love stuff like that.
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From:tree_and_leaf
Date:January 5th, 2009 11:31 am (UTC)
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His poetry is really very good. Rather minor, but very good ("Addison's Walk" has been engraved on my mind since I first read it, which doesn't happen all that often).
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From:feliciakw
Date:January 5th, 2009 06:27 pm (UTC)
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Ooohhh . . . I now want to practice this aloud and work out an oral presentation of it.

Niiiice.
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From:lizamanynames
Date:January 5th, 2009 10:16 pm (UTC)
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That is so beautiful beyond words.
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From:kalquessa
Date:January 5th, 2009 11:05 pm (UTC)
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Oh, oh, oh. Forgot to breathe there, toward the end. Goodness.
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From:scionofgrace
Date:January 6th, 2009 01:41 am (UTC)
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Man, every time I come across something new from Lewis, he just becomes That Much More Awesome.

Great poem. Thanks for sharing.

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