Friday, August 26, 2011

Charles Williams: A Caution

The repentant sadist chastens rude Caucasia with the blade of too Euclidean love
In that place where Simon Magus sits playing with his cards
Placing her under the unmerited obedience of the hazel rod
Which is
A ruler fit for bookstore clerks and men that play at being kings
Simon Magus
Simon Magus
Simon Magus in the mirror
The unicorn has lost her mate which found her when the wild hazel was young
But now it has all been turned to rods that are his horn
To rub between a maiden’s bosom
And she grieves for the wild hazel which was young in spring
Who knows the proper use of horns
Seeking him ever in the heaving breast of Gaul not knowing that he is gone to Logres
Simon Magus
Simon Magus
Simon Magus in the mirror
There at Pentecost saw Taliessin the young king Arthur crowned
And Bedivere rejoiced
And Balin swore
As rays of vert and rose and azure smote down upon the window and danced about the king
But Taliesin there in Arthur’s face upraised beheld, but brief, the image of himself
Until Percival was half turned and plain Sir Bors let fall a single snicker at
Simon Magus
Simon Magus
Simon Magus in the mirror
Mr. Eliot, lately of London, searched for a volume between repentant coffee spoons
To pass the time and as a means of general beneficence toward one so stately and so low
Offered for purchase
And other things to those who needed waking and those already asleep
As the deck was no longer cut and the hazel rod stood idle in the southern seat of Logres
For Taliessin had of late removed to a city more congenial and perhaps Peter was short on change and
Might have grown tired of fishing
Penny for the old guy?
Penny for the old guy?
Penny for the old guy?


Gabe said...

I cannot make head or tail out of this, but I am sure it is very good :-)

James said...

Sorry Gabe. Looks like I've committed the literary sin of privatism (at least according to C.S.L.) This poem is a response to some of the problems I see in Charles William's thought and theology in "Arthurian Torso" and his Arthurian poetry in general. I'm a little miffed at Lewis for letting his intense liking of Williams blind him to some rot; Tolkien saw through the occult mummery and was willing to deflate him a little. That said, I like Williams and think there's a lot we can learn from him. However, there's a lot of dross to be purged as well, and it seems that there are far more pitfalls to beware of in his writings than in those of Lewis or Tolkien.

Glen Cram said...

Simon is indeed a fascinating character. I am writing a novel based on his life, and this site has given me some interesting ideas. If you like, you can see my progress at