On November 22nd, the anniversary of C.S. Lewis’ death, I am revisiting the book he wrote after the death of his wife titled, A Grief Observed.
The section that interests me most this evening is about loving God and persons rather than merely our ideas or images of them. Here is the relevant excerpt:
“I render my thanks and return to my work, to the blank page which every day awaits us poets so that we shall fill it with our blood and our darkness, for with blood and darkness poetry is written, poetry should be written.”
Imagine hearing those words at the conclusion of a brief speech by a laureate of the Nobel Prize in Literature at an extravagant banquet.
Pablo Neruda, who died on September 23, 1973, was a poet and diplomat from Chile who, in 1971, received this prize.
Here is an excerpt from his acceptance speech:
This evening I heard a physician, who is also a Roman Catholic deacon, share a story about a dying woman to whom he would bring Communion.
The 50-year-old woman had uterine cancer that had metastasized into her spine and, understanding the gravity of her condition, he found himself surprised that she was still alive each time he went to visit her.
Eventually, he decided to ask her, “Do you have something you need to do?”
This question invited an response and she answered, “Yes, I do. I need to become a Canadian citizen.”
It turns out that this woman was very close to finalizing her citizenship and needed to do so in order for her children to receive their citizenship and avoid deportation back to Hong Kong.
On hearing this, the physician-deacon phoned a citizenship judge friend of his and explained the situation. When the citizenship judge heard the request, he agreed to meet the woman the next day so that she could swear the oath.