Poem of the Month

cs-lewis-quote

On Being Human

by CS 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.

 Is there an angle charm?

 

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