Sunday, July 17, 2005

CS Lewis , Yeats, and great poetry

CS Lewis--I think in his book, The Personal Heresy--once remarked that what he objected to in modern poetry was the glorification of sentiments that had only a limited place in the emotional life of a mature, corrected man. Consider this from Ace of Spades:

Words To Consider

With the world tearing itself apart, and the nasty partisanship even turning American on American, I always remember my dad reading me Yeats:

The Second Coming

Turning and turning in the widening gyre
The falcon cannot hear the falconer;
Things fall apart; the center cannot hold;
Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world,
The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere
The ceremony of innocence is drowned;
The best lack all conviction, while the worst
Are full of passionate intensity.

Surely some revelation is at hand;
Surely the Second Coming is at hand.
The Second Coming! Hardly are those words out
When a vast image out of Spiritus Mundi
Troubles my sight: somewhere in sands of the desert
A shape with lion body and the head of a man,
A gaze blank and pitiless as the sun,
Is moving its slow thighs, while all about it
Reel shadows of the indignant desert birds.
The darkness drops again; but now I know
That twenty centuries of stony sleep
Were vexed to nightmare by a rocking cradle,
And what rough beast, its hour come round at last,
Slouches towards Bethlehem to be born?

"Son," he told me, closing the well dog-eared tome of poetry, "what I read you right there is what we call [baloney], and if I ever hear you talking that kind of [silly] let's-just-get-along loser-talk I will take you out to the shed and split your [silly] head wide-open sideways. Now go out there and win, win, win, you stupid [cry-baby] pansy!"

[]=edited by GrenfellHunt in accordance with the Richard Nixon Republican Dictionary.


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