One piece of poetry and one piece of prose

Today I am going to cheat, and give you items written by other people.

CS Lewis is famous for many kinds of writing, but poetry is not his most admired form. But when I’m feeling spiritually low, I like this one, though I can’t remember where I got it:


My heart is empty. All the fountains that should run

With longing, are in me

Dried up. In all my countryside there is not one

That drips to find the sea.

I have no care for anything Thy love can grant

Except the moment’s vain

And hardly noticed filling of the moment’s want

And to be free from pain.

Oh, Thou that art unwearying, that dost neither sleep

Nor slumber, who didst take

All care for Lazarus in the careless tomb, oh keep

Watch for me till I wake.

If Thou think for me what I cannot think, if Thou

Desire for me what I

Cannot desire, my soul’s interior Form, though now

Deep-buried, will not die.

– No more than the insensible dropp-d seed which grows

Through winter ripe for birth

Because, while it forgets, the heaven remembering throws

Sweet influence still on earth

– Because the heaven, moved moth-like by Thy beauty, goes

Still turning round the earth.


Or, if you want something a bit more cheery, try some Thomas Traherne (1636-74):

“By the very Right of your Senses you enjoy the World. Is not the Beauty of the Hemisphere present to your Eye? Doth not the Glory of the Sun pay tribute to your Sight? Is not the Vision of the World an Amiable Thing? … Is not that a marvellous Body to breathe in?” (Centuries of Meditations 1: 21)


“He had another saying, He lives most like an Angel that lives upon least Himself, and doth most Good to others. For the Angels neither eat nor Drink, and yet do Good to the whole World. Now a Man is an Incarnate Angel. And He that lives in the midst of Riches as a poor man Himself, enjoying God and Paradise, or Christendom which is Better, conversing with the Poor, aand seeing the value of their Souls through their Bodies, and prizing all things clearly with a due esteem, is arrived here to the Estate of Immortality.” (Centuries 4:29)

Love from the PPI Blogger

  • Stephen Sheridan

    21st January 2019 at 9:23 am Reply

    Thank you – very inspirational stuff to brighten up the week; and thank you for yet more enlightenment – I had no idea that CS Lewis wrote poetry. I have read his Narnia books and his science fiction (Out of the Silent Planet et al) and a fair amount of his Christian prose (I think The Great Divorce is the best explanation of what Heaven and Hell would be like), but was totally ignorant of his verse.
    Likewise I had never heard of Thomas Traherne. Despite what Wiki says and his Hereford background, his surname shows he had Cornish origins (said I with West Country bias :-)).

    As usual Penelope, you give us a rich mine of intellectual pleasure to explore for gems of wisdom. Thanks again. 🙂

    • Penelope Wallace

      24th January 2019 at 12:01 pm Reply

      You are too kind. According to the AN Wilson biography, he thought he was destined to be a poet for some years. Wilson isn’t hugely impressed with what he produced though. I also love The Great Divorce, and of course the Screwtape Letters and Reflections on the Psalms.

      • Stephen Sheridan

        28th January 2019 at 8:17 am Reply

        And That Hideous Strength (the conclusion of his SF Trilogy) is a book that breaks lots of “the rules” (lots of exposition rather than letting the reader work it out, a lack of tension as the good guys will not be tempted themselves and are bound to win) and yet still manages to be compelling. It was only a few years ago that I realised that my Seventies editions of the books had a much abridged version of THS and was able to appreciate the full glory. I had been alerted to the trilogy’s existence as a child by a Radio 4 serialised reading of Out of the Silent Planet accompanied by dramatic classical music.
        Ironic that in recent times the same acronym for the evil government organisation in THS, the NICE, was actually used by a real quango.

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