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The Country of the Blind

Clive Staples Lewis 1898 (Clive Staples Lewis Belfast) – 1963 (Oxford)

Hard light bathed them-a whole nation of eyeless men,
Dark bipeds not aware how they were maimed. A long
  Process, clearly, a slow curse,
  Drained through centuries, left them thus.

At some transitional stage, then, a luckless few,
No doubt, must have had eyes after the up-to-date,
  Normal type had achieved snug
  Darkness, safe from the guns of heavn;

Whose blind mouths would abuse words that belonged to their
Great-grandsires, unabashed, talking of light in some
  Eunuch'd, etiolated,
  Fungoid sense, as a symbol of

Abstract thoughts. If a man, one that had eyes, a poor
Misfit, spoke of the grey dawn or the stars or green-
  Sloped sea waves, or admired how
  Warm tints change in a lady's cheek,

None complained he had used words from an alien tongue,
None question'd. It was worse. All would agree 'Of course,'
  Came their answer. "We've all felt
  Just like that." They were wrong. And he

Knew too much to be clear, could not explain. The words --
Sold, raped flung to the dogs -- now could avail no more;
  Hence silence. But the mouldwarps,
  With glib confidence, easily

Showed how tricks of the phrase, sheer metaphors could set
Fools concocting a myth, taking the worlds for things.
  Do you think this a far-fetched
  Picture? Go then about among

Men now famous; attempt speech on the truths that once,
Opaque, carved in divine forms, irremovable,
  Dear but dear as a mountain-
  Mass, stood plain to the inward eye.

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Submitted on May 13, 2011

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Clive Staples Lewis

Clive Staples Lewis was a British novelist, poet, academic, medievalist, literary critic, essayist, lay theologian, broadcaster, lecturer, and Christian apologist. He held academic positions at both Oxford University and Cambridge University. more…

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