Wednesday, May 2, 2007

Lewis does it again

This C.S. Lewis guy keeps coming up with great stuff. Here is a poem entitled the footnote to all prayers:

He whom I bow to only knows to whom I bow

When I attempt the ineffable Name, murmuring Thou,

And dream of Pheidian fancies and embrace in heart

Symbols (I know) which cannot be the thing Thou art.

Thus always, taken at their word, all prayers blaspheme

Worshipping with frail images a folk-lore dream,

And all men in their praying, self-deceived, address

The coinage of their own unquiet thoughts, unless

Thou in magnetic mercy to Thyself divert

Our arrows, aimed unskillfully, beyond desert;

And all men are idolaters, crying unheard

To a deaf idol, if Thou take them at their word.

Take not, O Lord, our literal sense. Lord, in thy great

Unbroken speech our limping metaphor translate.

--Lewis captures the idea that even our prayers to God fall short of capturing who he is. We shoot arrows to the sky not realizing that we are aiming in the opposite direction of God. And somehow he takes our vain words, hears them, and listens to them.

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