Translate our prayers
He whom I bow to only knows to whom I bow
When I attempt the ineffable name, murmuring “Thou”
And dream of Pheidian fancies and embrace in heart
Symbols (I know) which cannot be the thing though art.
Thus always, taken at their word, all prayers blaspheme,
Worshipping with false images a folk-lore dream,
And all men in their praying, self-deceived, address
The coinage of their own unquiet thoughts, unless
Thou in magnetic mercy to thyself divert
Our arrows, aimed unskilfully, beyond desert;
And all men are idolaters, crying unheard
To a deaf idol, if thou take them at their word.
Take not, O Lord, our literal sense. Lord, in the great
Unbroken speech our limping metaphor translate.
C.S. Lewis (1893-1963).