“Sarah Smith, of Golders Green” by Hannah Eagleson

In the ongoing series on The Great Divorce we come to Sarah Smith–certainly one of the more intriguing, engaging, troubling, and freeing characters in C.S. Lewis’ fiction. In this week’s guest post, poet Hannah Eagleson gives us a glimpse into her reading of Sarah Smith.

“Sarah Smith, of Golders Green”
by Hannah Eagleson

Who knows what weight of everyday
You carried?
What secrets the neighbor children told you,
Because they could not bear them alone,
What troubles your friend brought to you,
How much time you took tying them up carefully into parcels
That you could hoist away for her,
Like a ship ferrying away scrap iron,
Riding lower in the water
As the delivery man trots off with a spring in his step,
Free of the burden?

What heft of moments
You spent
Sorting petty arguments and new-washed laundry,
Heavier than they look
For those who carry them from year to year.

What coins you piled
Into charity boxes,
Which threadbare shops you filled with
Gravity and laughter,
Which sorrows you lifted
On graceful shoulders?

Which hours you gave to your husband’s small questions:
Is there a stamp? Do you see what I did there?
Do you know what I’ve done for you,
I’ve given you sixpence to get a new compact,
The slow accumulation of rain in a pool
On a gray day

Made green like the grass on Hampstead Heath,
Lead transfigured, alchemy of days
Become
The light that follows you,
In radii of gold.

Hannah EaglesonHannah Eagleson is at work on a children’s novel about a dragon who sells tea in eighteenth century London. She recently authored study guides to works by C. S. Lewis, Dorothy L. Sayers, and J. R. R. Tolkien for the Walking to Wisdom series with Classical Academic Press. In addition, she edits Scholar’s Compass, a devotional for and by Christian academics at the blog of InterVarsity’s Emerging Scholars Network. Hannah holds a PhD in Renaissance literature from the University of Delaware, and an MA from St. John’s College.

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About Brenton Dickieson

“A Pilgrim in Narnia” is a blog project in reading and talking about the work of C.S. Lewis, J.R.R. Tolkien, and the worlds they touched. As a "Faith, Fantasy, and Fiction" blog, we cover topics like children’s literature, apologetics and philosophy, myths and mythology, fantasy, theology, cultural critique, art and writing. This blog includes my thoughts as I read through Lewis and Tolkien and reflect on my own life and culture. In this sense, I am a Pilgrim in Narnia--or Middle Earth, or Fairyland. I am often peeking inside of wardrobes, looking for magic bricks in urban alleys, or rooting through yard sale boxes for old rings. If something here captures your imagination, leave a comment, “like” a post, share with your friends, or sign up to receive Narnian Pilgrim posts in your email box. Brenton Dickieson is a father, husband, friend, university lecturer, and freelance writer from Prince Edward Island, Canada. You can follow him on Twitter, @BrentonDana.
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5 Responses to “Sarah Smith, of Golders Green” by Hannah Eagleson

  1. Sarah is able to be a mother to those in her world without any desire to control, even to consume, as Pam wished to do to Michael. She touches them with her love and then sets them free to fly. To meet a woman who does this is a rare privilege. Thank you for expressing this so beautifully in your poem.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. David Llewellyn Dodds says:

    Thank you! It vividly helps me see how what Lewis writes about Sarah Smith bodies forth what MacDonald tells him about “retrospective” in chapter nine (and makes me think of “The Weight of Glory”).

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Thank you both for your kind words. Stephen, I love the contrast you’re pointing out between Pam and Sarah. David, I was very much thinking about both “The Weight of Glory” and the kinds of retrospective transformation Lewis writes about elsewhere in The Great Divorce. I’m glad that came through!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Pingback: The Heavenly Horses of C. S. Lewis | A Pilgrim in Narnia

  5. Pingback: ‘Arch-natural Psalms’: The Poetry of The Great Divorce (Guest Post by David Llewellyn Dodds) | A Pilgrim in Narnia

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