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I enjoy Lewis's poetry but I can't say he's a big favorite. I guess I like this one more for what it says than for its execution. The typography puzzles me a bit--it seems intended to show the spreading and multiplying in a visual way, which seems a bit unlike Lewis. Seems like it would have worked just as well with all the lines beginning at the same margin. Unfortunately those long lines just won't fit in the column width here.

Different results from each creative impulse: laughing, sighing, thinking . . .

Sometimes I wonder if Lewis formatted the poem this way or if that was Hooper.


That would be a bold thing for an editor to do, but Lewis wasn't around to object, was he?

This poem was published in Punch magazine in 1947, and since the library here has a collection of Punch issues, I was able to have them scan the page the poem appeared on. I have it now in a PDF file -- Mac, if I send it to you can you make it an attachment to this post?

Anyway, the formatting is pretty much the way you have it, Janet. Only he broke the last line in each stanza into two lines, so for the first stanza it's "Silver and purple, shrill-voiced yellow, turgid crimson," on one line and the "and virgin blue" on a second line, with the "and" lining up under the "p" in "purple.

Very interesting. I'm not sure exactly how but I can figure out some way to make it available here. Thanks!

Marianne sent me that file and I've now added it to the post (sorry for the delay, Marianne).

Wonderful print from PUNCH! Through the topography I became more aware of nuances in the poem -- end of first lines and next-to-end syllables of second lines of each stanza, for example --

Jove gazed
On woven MAZes...

Jove stared
On overBEARing . . .

Jove laughed;
Like cloven-SHAFted . . .

a pattern repeated in the fourth and fifth lines of each stanza

And the energy and purpose of "Our sires at the fires of her lucid eyes began / To speak in symbols, to seek out causes, to name the creatures" captures an essence of the mess that we are.

I turn from "Light on Dark Water" enriched, as usual.

typography - not topography

With reference to my error noted above, I just learned a new word: Technopaegnia

That's a new one on me.


I'm very glad that you find this blog enriching.

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