Poem of the Day

Pan’s Purge

C.S. Lewis

I dreamt that all the planning of peremptory humanity
Had crushed Nature finally beneath the foot of Man;
Birth-control and merriment, Earth completely sterilized,
Bungalow and fun-fair, had fulfilled our Plan;
But the lion and the unicorn were sighing at the funeral,
Crying at the funeral,
Sobbing at the funeral of the god Pan.

And the elephant was crying. The pelican in his piety
Struck his feathers bosom till the blood ran,
And howling at humanity the owl and iguanodon,
The bittern and the buffalo, their dirge began,
But dangerously, suddenly, a strange ecstatic shuddering,
A change that set me shuddering
Through all the wailful noises of the beasts ran.

No longer were they sorrowful, but stronger and more horrible,
It had only been a rumour of the death of Pan.
The scorpions and the mantichores and corpulent tarantulas
Were closing in around me, hissing “Long live Pan!”
And forth with rage unlimited the Northwind drew his scimitar,
In wrath with ringing scimitar
He came, with sleet and shipwreck, for the doom of Man.

And now, descending, ravening, loud and large, the avalanche,
And after it the earthquake, was loosed upon Man.
Towering and cloven-hoofed, the power of Pan came over us,
Stamped bit, tore, broke. It was the end of Man;
Except where saints and savages were kept from his ravaging,
And crept out when the ravaging
Was ended, on an empty earth. The new world began.

A small race—a smiling heaven—all around the silences
Returned; there was comfort for corrected Man.
Flowered turf had swallowed up the towered cities; following
His flocks and herds where nameless, untainted rivers ran,
Leisurely he pondered, at his pleasure wandering,
Measurelessly wandering…
Clear, on the huge pastures, the young voice of Man.


Leave a Comment

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s