v 6.30.00
28 Jan 2022
updated 28 Jan 2022

One of the most dramatic images – but there are lots of others – is in the very first sentence:

Let us go then, you and I,
When the evening is spread out against the sky
Like a patient etherised upon a table;

to which I've just discovered the following posthumous response from C S Lewis,

I am so coarse, the things the poets see
Are obstinately invisible to me.

For twenty years I've stared my level best
To see if evening – any evening – would suggest
A patient etherised upon a table;
In vain. I simply wasn't able.

To me each evening looked far more
Like the departure from a silent, yet crowded shore
Of a ship whose freight was everything, leaving behind
Gracefully, finally without farewells, marooned mankind ...

(CSL, A Confession, 1964)

When literary giants clash like mastodons bellowing across the primeval swamp, the prudent ignoramus retires from the fray.