I don’t want to write a long commentary on this poem, but I will say that as I wrote it, I was reminded of C.S. Lewis’ sermon The Weight of Glory (bold emphasis is mine):
It is a serious thing to live in a society of possible gods and goddesses, to remember that the dullest and most uninteresting person you talk to may one day be a creature which, if you saw it now, you would be strongly tempted to worship, or else a horror and a corruption such as you now meet, if at all, only in a nightmare. All day long we are, in some degree, helping each other to one or other of these destinations. It is in the light of these overwhelming possibilities, it is with the awe and the circumspection proper to them, that we should conduct all our dealings with one another, all friendships, all loves, all play, all politics. There are no ordinary people.
It felt fitting to have the image of steps leading into light as the setting for this poem – the sense of journey and pending entry. But there’s an added layer too: the picture is one I took in a stairwell at Manorbier Castle in Pembrokeshire, which was used in the 1988 BBC adaptation of Lewis’ The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe (and which I loved watching when I was growing up). This castle is Cair Paravel, where – in another life, perhaps not so far from our own – Peter, Susan, Edmund and Lucy were crowned kings and queens.
The full words of the poem are below.
Sometimes, I feel I am more.
Sometimes, it’s like the ground shakes when I tread the earth.
Like the wind is my train behind me,
The sun my herald before me.
Like I’m going somewhere and when I arrive – you’ll know.
My stride is a declaration of purpose.
The world flanks my path,
Parting for me, curving round me
Watching, waiting, holding its breath.
Walk with me.
There is no burden on my back.
There is no weapon in my hand.
There is me – and the glory I bring with me.
These clothes, they are my own.
These shoes, they are mine.
Made for me, shaped for my body,
A delight to my eyes.
For the dance is about to begin
And for the first time
You’ll see what I’m really made of.
My arms are free and my head is high.
My neck is straight and my feet are steady.
Even my hair smiles with me,
Today is the day it needs no restraint.
Feel the beat of the drum that sounds.
Feel the rhythm of our steps together.
The whole world wakes.
The whole world wakes.
I feel like the future is just behind a veil –
So fine, so close I can nearly touch it.
And in that moment,
When I feel the present falling away,
I don’t mind to know that I am less.
For in time I’ll be given wings to soar
And the strength to dive and rise again.
Wait with me.
~ Christine Woolgar, 22 April 2017