July 24, 2008

Science-Fiction Cradlesong

by C.S. Lewis

By and by Man will try
To get out into the sky,
Sailing far beyond the air
From Down and Here to Up and There.
Stars and sky, sky and stars
Make us feel the prison bars.

Suppose it done. Now we ride
Closed in steel, up there, outside;
Through our port-holes see the vast
Heaven-scape go rushing past.
Shall we? All that meets the eye
Is sky and stars, stars and sky.

Points of light with black between
Hang like a painted scene
Motionless, no nearer there
Than on Earth, everywhere
Equidistant from our ship.
Heaven has given us the slip.

Hush, be still. Outer space
Is a concept, not a place.
Try no more. Where we are
Never can be sky or star.
From prison, in a prison, we fly;
There's no way into the sky.

July 15, 2008

Death's Ode to the Living

by Orual

You the living know not I,
Who lurks in time and ancient lore,
And wanders in when night is nigh
To fill my daily taxing chore.
You the living know not I,
Whose name the human soul abhors,
And steals away a final sigh
Despite the heart-sick soul's implore.

You the living know not I,
Whose darkest deed you dare to court,
To recklessness does heave a sigh
As fools deny what I purport
And you the living long deny
The verity that a life is short,
And at the end, you wonder why
Your views of death did so contort.

But to you the living, I consent to bow;
And this, however soft avowed--
Truth falls from my fatal lips,
I admire thee, thy joy eclipsed
By sorrow, never far to find
A smile survives my bitterest rime,
And not the same is said of me,
Separate from life--and eternity.

I don't even know what to say about this. The diction is so crisp and yet the rhythm is so fluid and subtle. The two play off each other well. I think the author did a great job with this sort of style, and with such a difficult theme.