Imagine (a found sonnet taken from The Abolition of Man by CS Lewis)

Imagine a new natural philosophy;
I hardly know what I am asking for;
Far-off echoes, that primeval sense,
With blood and sap, Man’s pre-historic piety,
Continually conscious and continually…
Alive, alive and growing like a tree
And trees as dryads, or as beautiful,
The bleeding trees in Virgil and in Spenser
The tree of knowledge and the tree of life
Growing together, that great ritual
Pattern of nature, beauties branching out
The cosmic order, ceremonial,
Regenerate science, seeing from within…

To participate is to be truly human.

6 Comments

Filed under literature, Poems

6 responses to “Imagine (a found sonnet taken from The Abolition of Man by CS Lewis)

  1. Daniel Payne

    I recently came across a lecture of yours on youtube on C.S. Lewis and you end with this poem. The Abolition of Man was the first Lewis book I read on my own during break at college (the Chronicles of Narnia were read to me as a child) and have been reading him ever since. Love this poem! An artist name Brooke Frasier has tries something similar with Lewis put to music and a rock band named Thrice has written a song called The Abolition of Man inspired by the boom. Thank you very much for this!

  2. Daniel Payne

    Book*

  3. Pingback: The Prophetic Critique of Malcolm Guite | A Pilgrim in Narnia

  4. I listened to this at the end of a CBC ideas episode. I’m a Computer Engineer; one whose professional and personal interests are concerned with technology, product, systems and people and how they interconnect. I’m not ashamed to say that the blood drained from my face and I felt the room swirl around me as these words rolled past my ears and echoed in vacant parts of my soul I never knew I possessed.

    I don’t know why this affected me so deeply, but thank you. You’ve awoken something in me. I am going to find it out.

  5. Rob

    Hi Malcolm.
    I heard you recite this poem on Ideas on CBC radio. I like the sort of train of thought Lewis puts out in his writings. When I copied it onto a word document from the broadcast, what I heard looked more like this:
    Imagine
    Imagine a new natural philosophy
    I hardly know what I am asking for
    Far off echoes
    That primeval sense with blood and sap
    Man’s prehistoric piety
    Continually conscious, continually alive
    Alive and growing like a tree
    And trees as giants or as beautiful
    The bleeding trees in Virgil and in Spencer
    The tree of knowledge and the tree of life growing together
    That great ritual pattern of nature
    Beauty’s branching out
    The cosmic order,
    ceremonial,
    regenerate science,
    seeing from within
    To participate is to be truly human

    Thought you might find this interesting how what was heard might differ from what you wrote.
    Thanks.
    God Bless!

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