Sunday Night Journal, April 22, 2018
Sunday Night Journal, April 29, 2018

52 Poems, Week 17: To Charles Williams (C.S. Lewis)

TO CHARLES WILLIAMS

Your death blows a strange bugle call, friend, and all is hard
To see plainly or record truly. The new light imposes change,
Re-adjusts all a life-landscape as it thrusts down its probe from the sky,
To create shadows, to reveal waters, to erect hills and deepen glens.
The slant alters. I can’t see the old contours. It’s a larger world
Than I once thought it. I wince, caught in the bleak air that blows on the ridge.
Is it the first sting of the great winter, the world-waning? Or the cold of spring?

A hard question and worth talking a whole night on. But with whom?
Of who now can I ask guidance? With what friend concerning your death
Is it worth while to exchange thoughts unless—oh unless it were you?

*

One last poem by C. S. Lewis. I decided to post this because we have been talking about Williams’s books.

I don’t have much to say about this other than it would make me cry to read aloud.

It’s a very odd poem for Lewis, in that it neither rhyme nor meter.

AMDG

—Janet Cupo is a great-grandmother (and a great grandmother) on temporary (maybe) sabbatical from the workaday world.

Comments

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I can't help but think about what Tolkien thought about this poem.

True.

AMDG

What did he think? I know he didn't like Williams but I don't know what he said about the poem.

I meant might have thought.

I would like something that Tolkien wrote after Williams died, but I am 600 miles away from my book. maybe later this week.

AMDG

Re the above discussion: Mary wanted to post this but was having trouble, so she emailed it to me. I had been thinking something along the same lines, but this expresses it much better.

From THE FOUR LOVES, Harcourt edition, 1960, page 61, In each of my friends there is something that only some other friend can fully bring out. By myself I am not large enough to call the whole man into activity; I want other lights than my own to show all his facets. Now that Charles is dead, I shall never again see Ronald's reaction to a specifically Caroline joke. Far from having more of Ronald, having him "to myself" now that Charles is away, I have less of Ronald. Hence true Friendship is the least jealous of loves. . . .

AMDG

Very good. I think I've seen this before although I've never read The Four Loves (all the way through--started it once or twice). I stumbled over "Caroline" just now and I think I recall doing it before.

Caroline took me a moment.

AMDG

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