The Country of the blind – Poem by CS Lewis

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.

CS Lewis 

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.

 

CS Lewis

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