A new book of poetry, by Joy Davidman

I am back. I’m actually on the end of a stint in a hospital in Sydney last week, involving over four hours of surgery, and I now have another three weeks off work. I ask myself why I hesitate to share on that. I don’t mean to be in any way ungenerous in not sharing, with those of you dear readers that I know and who would only care and personally comment, I’m just reluctant to be an internet curiosity for those who might read and leave no indication of having read. It was all quite a sudden development and I am still coming to good terms with it, but am glad it is now over and very thankful to God that everything went very well (there was a vomiting incident in the night on Tuesday and ongoing nausea on Wednesday morning, but that soon passed). The surgeon and anaesthetist were exceptionally kind and competent, and I am so pleased to have found and been cared for by them. Unfortunately I came home from Sydney to another medical emergency, with my nephew currently in hospital, and last night I actually had my little nieces here, so it’s drama central, but all will settle down.

For now, I think it’s time for a poem. I also had a birthday recently and with a voucher to spend I stumbled upon this book of poetry by Joy Davidman, wife of CS Lewis, including sonnets she wrote to him. I thought this one was interesting. Obviously the problem of love as idolatry was a consideration long ago, as even Christina Rossetti would attest. There is a reference in Stanza 3 to 1 Kings 18:25-29. (I’ll find one that’s not about love soon! – I thought I would settle down on the couch to chill and read more of it last night and ended up playing Memory and feeding and distracting two small girls, while their brother had to be transferred from one hospital to another …)


Why, you may call the thing idolatry
And tell no lie; for I have seen you shine
Brighter than any son of man should be;
And trembled, and half-dreamed you were divine,

And knelt in adoration; willfully
I bring my pleasant gifts to the wrong shrine,
And little joy there is of it for me;
You are not God, and neither are you mine.

The pagan priesthood, honouring their Baal,
Slashed themselves till they bled, and so have I,
Yet neither they nor I to much avail;
The fire was out, and vacant was the sky.

Sir, you may correct me with your rod.
I have loved you better than I loved my God.

Joy Davidman
February 14, 1953

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