As The Ruin Falls

All this is flashy rhetoric about loving you.
I never had a selfless thought since I was born.
I am mercenary and self-seeking through and through:
I want God, you, all friends, merely to serve my turn.

Peace, re-assurance, pleasure, are the goals I seek,
I cannot crawl one inch outside my proper skin:
I talk of love --a scholar's parrot may talk Greek--
But, self-imprisoned, always end where I begin.

Only that now you have taught me (but how late) my lack.
I see the chasm. And everything you are was making
My heart into a bridge by which I might get back
From exile, and grow man. And now the bridge is breaking.

For this I bless you as the ruin falls. The pains
You give me are more precious than all other gains.

by Clive Staples Lewis

Comments (14)

Great to see a poem by one of my favourite writers, C.S. Lewis (I'm a devoted fan of all the Narnia books and films.) No doubt he wrote this poem about his poetess wife, Joy. The bridge breaking, and the ruin falling, most likely refer to her death by cancer. Were you still alive, Dear Jack, I'd give you a '10' for this poem!
So moistured with irony.... For this I bless you as the ruin falls. The pains You give me are more precious than all other gains. Good lines. Great pen!
My first time reading this Shakespearian sonnet by Lewis I think. How well he pictures the inescapability of our self-seeking, how everything we do has some taint or stain of it. I wonder to whom he is addressing this. At first I thought a woman. But God perhaps? Does it matter? —since all love has its source in God. -GK
Such an interesting poem by Clive Staples Lewis👍👍👍
It matters when feelings are of mercenary, selfish, ignorant and flashy nature to serve only one's end not unlike what is popularly denominated a swell that may invite ruin in love and life........very well composed......thanks for sharing
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