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WORMWOOD

Thou only art alternative to God, oh, dark

And burning island among spirits, tenth hierarch,

Wormwood, immortal Satan, Ahriman, alone

Second to Him to whom no second else were known,

Being essential fire, sprung of His fire, but bound

Within the lightless furnace of thy Self, bricked round

To rage in the reverberated heat from seven

Containing walls: hence power thou hast to rival heaven.

Therefore, except the temperance of the eternal love

Only thy absolute lust is worth the thinking of.

All else is weak disguising of the wishful heart,

All that seemed earth is Hell, or Heaven. God is: thou art:

The rest, illusion. How should man live save as glass

To let the white light without flame, the Father, pass

Unstained: or else—opaque, molten to thy desire,

Venus infernal starving in the strength of fire!

Lord, open not too often my weak eyes to this.

From Poems

Poems. Copyright © 1964 by C. S. Lewis Pte. Ltd. Preface copyright © 1964 by Walter Hooper. All rights reserved. Used with permission of HarperCollins Publishers.

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