And if I could tell you a story,
a story to finish all,
a story to call you back to my side,
a story to end the seek and hide,
a story which might bring you back from the said,
a story which would make all things already sad
in some way less sad,
in some way aright again,
then the story I would tell you out loud
is how proud I am of you for picking me out of the crowd:
for allowing me to grow in the tough and hard and fine;
for permitting me the real freedoms of terrible error
in an era of freedoms bound.
And if the story I could tell you
might be the story you have before you,
and the story through which I express myself
might fast become the story you remembered me by,
then ties or no,
perhaps the go and come of solitary kiss,
and the hug and embrace of
lacy woman and tearful man,
might one day be remembered thus:
the violence of life is mostly a question of trust,
and this I now believe most
And if the story I have told you ever reaches
the sum of its parts,
and if the hearts I have broken over you
ever succeed in repairing
their unmending ways,
and if all that unsaid of my love for you might e’er,
in the erring of simply human trait, be truer to you
than the wrongs of an ago not so long,
perhaps the foolish man I have been –
even now – one day may
achieve his redeeming of taughts.
And if I could tell you a story one day …
… if only I might persuade you to listen.
* Footnote to this post: this poem has just been written in the C.S. Lewis Reading Room at the McClay Library at Queen’s University, Belfast.
As I just posted on Facebook:
Queen’s is a beautiful place. I am sitting in this gentle, window-embraced circular space that is the C.S. Lewis Reading Room. And the light bathes us fine; but so also do his words. I am truly a fortunate man …
And if only I could tell you a story one day, it would be that simply with words we may change the world so well. And with the unerring display of those rays of piercing truths, the actions we may move humanity to take can one day serve to redeem not just the small and sad and sometimes bad and sometimes good, and sometimes – occasionally! – big-hearted too … that man I have seen in myself in so many moments …. but also in all of the rest of us: the rest of yous who have worked your precious socks off, to bring up in hope and inspirational labour the offspring and friends and colleagues whom clearly your daily acts do touch.
I find myself truly overwhelmed by the beauty of writers who deserve the mantle of professional recognition.
And although I will never scale such mights, at least I am good enough to recognise the good in others.
And today in Queen’s, this is where I find myself. As Lewis himself is quoted as saying:
If I find in myself a desire which no experience in this world can satisfy, the most probable explanation is that I was made for another world.
Thank you Lewis; thank you Queen’s; thank you LJMU; thank you everyone; but – in particular – thank you dearest C, for making of me this other man you now have before thee.