From "Spirits in Bondage" by C.S Lewis

Ww1 biplane

French Nocturne (Monchy-Le-Preux)

Long leagues on either hand the trenches spread And all is still; now even this gross line Drinks in the frosty silences divine The pale, green moon is riding overhead.

The jaws of a sacked village, stark and grim; Out on the ridge have swallowed up the sun, And in one angry streak his blood has run To left and right along the horizon dim.

There comes a buzzing plane: and now, it seems Flies straight into the moon. Lo! where he steers Across the pallid globe and surely nears In that white land some harbour of dear dreams!

False mocking fancy! Once I too could dream, Who now can only see with vulgar eye That he's no nearer to the moon than I And she's a stone that catches the sun's beam.

What call have I to dream of anything? I am a wolf. Back to the world again, And speech of fellow-brutes that once were men Our throats can bark for slaughter: cannot sing.


Roland is dead, Cuchulain's crest is low, The battered war-rear wastes and turns to rust, And Helen's eyes and Iseult's lips are dust And dust the shoulders and the breasts of snow.

The faerie people from our woods are gone, No Dryads have I found in all our trees, No Triton blows his horn about our seas And Arthur sleeps far hence in Avalon.

The ancient songs they wither as the grass And waste as doth a garment waxen old, All poets have been fools who thought to mould A monument more durable than brass.

For these decay: but not for that decays The yearning, high, rebellious spirit of man That never rested yet since life began From striving with red Nature and her ways.

Now in the filth of war, the baresark shout Of battle, it is vexed. And yet so oft Out of the deeps, of old, it rose aloft That they who watch the ages may not doubt.

Though often bruised, oft broken by the rod, Yet, like the phoenix, from each fiery bed Higher the stricken spirit lifts its head And higher-till the beast become a god.

Ww1 Soldiers marching, jubilant

The Philosopher

Who shall be our prophet then, Chosen from all the sons of men To lead his fellows on the way Of hidden knowledge, delving deep To nameless mysteries that keep Their secret from the solar day! Or who shall pierce with surer eye! This shifting veil of bittersweet And find the real things that lie Beyond this turmoil, which we greet With such a wasted wealth of tears? Who shall cross over for us the bridge of fears

And pass in to the country where the ancient Mothers dwell? Is it an elder, bent and hoar Who, where the waste Atlantic swell On lonely beaches makes its roar, In his solitary tower Through the long night hour by hour Pores on old books with watery eye When all his youth has passed him by, And folly is schooled and love is dead And frozen fancy laid abed, While in his veins the gradual blood Slackens to a marish flood? For he rejoiceth not in the ocean's might,

Neither the sun giveth delight, Nor the moon by night Shall call his feet to wander in the haunted forest lawn.

He shall no more rise suddenly in the dawn

When mists are white and the dew lies pearly

Cold and cold on every meadow,

To take his joy of the season early, The opening flower and the westward shadow,

And scarcely can he dream of laughter and love,

They lie so many leaden years behind. Such eyes are dim and blind, And the sad, aching head that nods above

His monstrous books can never know The secret we would find.

But let our seer be young and kind And fresh and beautiful of show, And taken ere the lustyhead And rapture of his youth be dead;

Ere the gnawing, peasant reason School him over-deep in treason To the ancient high estate Of his fancy's principate,

That he may live a perfect whole, A mask of the eternal soul, And cross at last the shadowy bar To where the ever-living are.


Faeries must be in the woods Or the satyrs' laughing broods-

Tritons in the summer sea,

Else how could the dead things be Half so lovely as they are?

How could wealth of star on star Dusted o'er the frosty night Fill thy spirit with delight And lead thee from this care of thine Up among the dreams divine,

Were it not that each and all Of them that walk the heavenly hall Is in truth a happy isle, Where eternal meadows smile, And golden globes of fruit are seen Twinkling through the orchards green; Were the Other People go On the bright sward to and fro?

Atoms dead could never thus Stir the human heart of us

Unless the beauty that we see The veil of endless beauty be, Filled full of spirits that have trod Far hence along the heavenly sod And see the bright footprints of God.

"Our Daily Bread"

We need no barbarous words nor solemn spell

To raise the unknown. It lies before our feet;

There have been men who sank down into Hell

In some suburban street,

And some there are that in their daily walks Have met archangels fresh from sight of God, Or watched how in their beans and cabbage-stalks Long files of faerie trod.

Often me too the Living voices call In many a vulgar and habitual place, I catch a sight of lands beyond the wall, I see a strange god's face.

And some day this work will work upon me so I shall arise and leave both friends and home And over many lands a pilgrim go Through alien woods and foam,

Seeking the last steep edges of the earth Whence I may leap into that gulf of light Wherein, before my narrowing Self had birth, Part of me lived aright.

Edwardian London street


Malaria Consortium