Impenitence

All the world’s wiseacres in arms against them
Shan’t detach my heart for a single moment
From the man-like beasts of the earthy stories—
Badger or Moly.

Rat the oarsmen, neat Mrs Tiggy Winkle,
Benjamin, pert Nutkin, or (ages older)
Henryson’s shrill Mouse, or the Mice the Frogs once
Fought with in Homer.

Not that I’m so craz’d as to think the creatures
Do behave that way, nor at all deluded
By some half-false sweetness of early childhood
Sharply remembered.

Look again. Look well at the beasts, the true ones.
Can’t you see? . . . cool primness of cats, or coney’s
Half indignant stare of amazement, mouse’s
Twinkling adroitness,

Tipsy bear’s rotundity, toad’s complacence . . .
Why! they all cry out to be used as symbols,
Masks for Man, cartoons, parodies by Nature
Formed to reveal us

Each to each, not fiercely but in her gentlest
Vein of household laughter. And if the love so
Raised—it will, no doubt—splashes over on the
Actual archtypes

Who’s the worse for that? Marry, gup! Begone, you
Fusty kill-joys, new Manichaeans! Here’s a
Health to Toad Hall, here’s to the Beaver doing
Sums with the Butcher!

–C. S. Lewis, Poems, Pg. 2

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