When the Sleepers Shall Rise

“The stars are spinning their threads,

And the clouds are the dust that flies,

And the suns are weaving them up

For the time when the sleepers shall rise.

The ocean in music rolls,

And gems are turning to eyes,

And the trees are gathering souls

For the day when the sleepers shall rise.

The weepers are learning to smile,

And laughter to glean the sighs;

Burn and bury the care and guile,

For the day when the sleepers shall rise.

Oh, the dews and the moths and the daisy red,

The larks and the glimmers and flows!

The lilies and sparrows and daily bread,

And the something that nobody knows!”

– George MacDonald, The Princess and Curdie (Chapter 8)

A Longing

“The other longing, that for fairy land, is very different. In a sense a child does not long for fairy land as a boy longs to be the hero of the first eleven. Does anyone suppose that he really and prosaically longs for all the dangers and discomforts of a  fairy tale? – really wants dragons in contemporary England? It is not so. It would be much truer to say that fairy land arouses a longing for he knows not what. It stirs and troubles him (to his life-long enrichment) with the dim sense of something beyond his reach and, far from dulling or emptying the actual world, gives it a new dimension of depth. He does not despise real woods because he has read of enchanted woods: this reading makes al real woods a little enchanted. This is a special kind of longing. The boy reading the school story of the type I have in mind desires success and is unhappy (once the book is over) because he can’t get it: the boy reading the fairy tale desires and is happy in the very fact of desiring. For his mind has not been concentrated on himself, as it often is in the more realistic story.”


–CS Lewis, On Three Ways of Writing for Children

But an Illusion

“It comes, at least it seems to me to come, from the same root as the verb ‘have’. It is the desire to call things ‘ours’- the desire of company which is not of our kind- company such as, if small enough, you would put in your pocket and carry about with you. We call the holding in the hand, or the house, or the pocket, or the power, ‘having’; but things so held cannot really be had, ‘having’ is but an illusion in regard to things. It is only what we can be ‘with’ that we really possess- that is, what is of our kind, from God to the lowest animal partaking of humanity.

Avarice, from George MacDonald.

The Clock of Time

The everyday cares and duties, which men call drudgery, are the weights and counterpoises of the clock of time, giving its pendulum a true vibration and its hands a regular motion and when they cease to hang upon its wheels, the pendulum no longer swings, the hands no longer move the clock stands still.

– Henry Wadsworth Longfellow


The Strange Music

Other loves may sink and settle, other loves may loose and slack, 
But I wander like a minstrel with a harp upon my back, 
Though the harp be on my bosom, though I finger and I fret, 
Still, my hope is all before me; for I cannot play it yet. 

In your strings is hid a music that no hand hath e’er let fall, 
In your soul is sealed a pleasure that you have not known at all; 
Pleasure subtle as your spirit, strange and slender as your frame, 
Fiercer than the pain that folds you, softer than your sorrow’s name. 

Not as mine, my soul’s annointed, not as mine the rude and light 
Easy mirth of many faces, swaggering pride of song and fight; 
Something stranger, something sweeter, something waiting you afar, 
Secret as your stricken senses, magic as your sorrows are. 

But on this, God’s harp supernal, stretched but to be stricken once, 
Hoary time is a beginner, Life a bungler, Death a dunce. 
But I will not fear to match them – no by God, I will not fear, 
I will learn you, I will play you and the stars stand still to hear.