Unless it were You

A dear friend of mine passed away this weekend, and I reprint here C.S. Lewis’ poem on the death of Williams as a way of honoring my friend Judy. I have had the same experience Lewis states here: When I think of who I want to talk about to get help processing Judy’s death, Judy is one of the first people I think of.

Your death blows a strange bugle call, friend, and all is hard
To see plainly or record truly. The new light imposes change,
Re-adjusts all a life-landscape as it thrusts down its probe from the sky,
To create shadows, to reveal waters, to erect hills and deepen glens.
The slant alters. I can’t see the old contours. It’s a larger world
Than I once thought it. I wince, caught in the bleak air that blows on the ridge.
Is it the first sting of the great winter, the world-waning? Or the cold of spring?

A hard question and worth talking a whole night on.
But with whom? Of whom now can I ask guidance?
With what friend concerning your death
Is it worth while to exchange thoughts unless—oh unless it were you?

About Sørina Higgins

Sørina Higgins is a PhD student in English and Presidential Scholar at Baylor University. She also serves as Chair of the Language and Literature Department at Signum University, online. Her latest publication is an academic essay collection on "The Inklings and King Arthur" (Apocryphile Press, December 2017). Her interests include British Modernism, the Inklings, Arthuriana, theatre, and magic. She holds an M.A. from Middlebury College’s Bread Loaf School of English. Sørina blogs about British poet Charles Williams at The Oddest Inkling, wrote the introduction to a new edition of Williams’s "Taliessin through Logres" (Apocryphile, 2016), and edited Williams’s "The Chapel of the Thorn" (Apocryphile, 2014). As a creative writer, Sørina has published two books of poetry, "The Significance of Swans" (2007) and "Caduceus" (2012).
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3 Responses to Unless it were You

  1. Tom Hillman says:


    I am very sorry to hear that you have lost a friend.

    Some years ago — it always surprises me how long ago it was — my elder brother died. He was never one for long heartfelt conversations, especially about himself. He never wanted to put his problems on someone else, as he called it. But he and I could look at each other and ages of ineffable thoughts and feeling would pass between us. And we would understand.

    You and your friend seem to have understood each other just as well. This is never easy. All my sympathies to you and to her family.

    Tom Hillman


  2. Pingback: Death, two days late | The Oddest Inkling

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