Saturday, July 15, 2017

Donkey's Delight by C.S. Lewis

"Donkey's Delight" is the name of my travel-study blog, from C.S. Lewis's poem by that title.  I often see my own biography, my whimsical attitude toward life, and my faith journey hidden between the lines of this playful poem.  I include it here as an invitation to find your inner donkey and join me on my adventures and reflections on the meaning of life.






Donkey's Delight 

Ten mortal months I courted
A girl with bright hair, 
Unswerving in my service
As the old lovers were.
Almost she had learned to call me
One moment changed the omens,
She was cold again.
For carelessly, unfairly,
With one glance of his eyes,
A gay, light-hearted sailor
Bore away the prize,
Unbought, which I had sought with
Many gifts and sighs.

In stern disdain I turned to
The Muses’ service then, To seek how the unspeakable
Could be fixed by a pen,
Not to flinch through the ink that
I must use, they said,
Was my dearest blood, nearest
My heart, the riches red.
I obeyed them, I made them
Many a costly lay,
Till carelessly, unfairly,
A boy passed that way
Who set ringing with his singing
All the fields and lanes;
They gave him their favor,
Lost were all my pains.

Then I passed to a Master
Who is higher in repute,
Trusting to find justice
At the world’s root.
With rigid fast and vigil,
Silence, and shirt of hair,
The narrow way to Paradise
I walked with care.
But carelessly, unfairly,
At the eleventh hour came,
Reckless and feckless,
Without a single claim,
A dare-devil, a ne’er-do-well
Who smelled of shag and gin;
Before me (and far warmer
Was his welcome) he went in.

I stood still in the chill
Of the Great Morning,
Aghast. then a last
-Oh, I was late learning —-
I repented, I entered
Into the excellent joke,
The absurdity. My burden
Rolled off as I broke
Into laughter; and soon after
I found my own level;
With Balam’s Ass daily
Out at grass I revel, 
Now playing, now braying
Over the meadows of light,
Our soaring, creaking Gloria,
Our donkeys’ delight.


"Donkeys’ Delight" by C. S. Lewis
From the book “Poems” p. 29-31


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