Lewis: Prelude to Space

An Epithaliamium

So Man, grown vigorous now,
Holds himself ripe to breed,
Daily devises how
To ejaculate his seed
And boldly fertilize
The black womb of the unconsenting skies.

Some now alive expect
(I am told) to see the large,
Steel member grow erect,
Turgid with the fierce charge
Of our whole planet’s skill,
Courage, wealth, knowledge, concentrated will,

Straining with lust to stamp
Our likeness on the abyss-
Bombs, gallows, Belsen camp,
Pox, polio, Thais’ kiss
Or Judas, Moloch’s fires
And Torquemada’s (sons resemble sires).

Shall we, when the grim shape
Roars upward, dance and sing?
Yes: if we honour rape,
If we take pride to Ring
So bountifully on space
The sperm of our long woes, our large disgrace.

2 thoughts on “Lewis: Prelude to Space

    • I rather like it. I also think that using such language then was not the uncomfortable thing that it is now. It is no secret that as time as gone on, the use of the English language has become rather brutally beaten. We make up words and now even substitute them with tiny pixelated pictures. In a sense, this gives greater meaning to words themselves, particularly when they are used either correctly or, in this case, metaphorically.

      I also suggest that perhaps one reason why such language is seen today as unsettling is because the acts of sexual interaction that are implied through their use are so much more visually accessible. Pornography was rare in Lewis’ day, yet today we can see not insignificant sexual acts on most every channel. As such, we have a much greater visualization of words like “ejaculate,” and, going back to my first point, because we have dumbed down our language, ejaculate can only mean one thing. The word ejaculate, however, comes from the Latin ex (“out”) and iaculari (“throw, hurl, or cast”). Taken by its true meaning, the language is far less shocking.

      Though to be fair, the entire poem intentionally employs sexual imagery (lust, fertile, and so on). Isn’t poetry fun?

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