When I became a Christian years ago I bought an album by Phil Keaggy called Love Broke Through. As I was surfing tonight I came across a link to his song “As the Ruin Falls” and discovered that the song itself was a sonnet written by C.S. Lewis which was put to music (quite superbly I might add). I’d forgotten about the song, and though I’d read some of C.S. Lewis’ work (mostly books) I hadn’t come across this sonnet. Here it is…
All this is flashy rhetoric about loving you.
I never had a selfless thought since I was born.
I am mercenary and self-seeking through and through:
I want God, you, all friends, merely to serve my turn.
Peace, re-assurance, pleasure, are the goals I seek,
I cannot crawl one inch outside my proper skin:
I talk of love –a scholar’s parrot may talk Greek–
But, self-imprisoned, always end where I begin.
Only that now you have taught me (but how late) my lack.
I see the chasm. And everything you are was making
My heart into a bridge by which I might get back
From exile, and grow man. And now the bridge is breaking.
For this I bless you as the ruin falls. The pains
You give me are more precious than all other gains.
I know the breaking of which C.S. Lewis speaks, and it is indeed a precious and beautiful thing.
I posted earlier about writing and how I felt as if the juices had dried up. I think it’s because I’m not writing what I want to write. As the Ruin Falls is how I want to write, as is Beneath Thy Cross (Rossetti) and Batter My Heart (Donne), and I just don’t seem to be able to do it, and it’s frustrating.