A Barfield Sampler

Poetry and Fiction By Owen Barfield

By Owen Barfield
Edited by Jeanne Clayton Hunter & Thomas Kranidas

Subjects: Religion
Paperback : 9780791415887, 192 pages, September 1993
Hardcover : 9780791415870, 192 pages, September 1993

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Table of contents

Introduction Jeanne Clayton Hunter and Thomas Kranidas



Sonnet: Once, once, this evening, let me say: I love you!

Translation from Petrarch: Amor, ed io si pien di meraviglia

La Dame A Licorne

Sonnet: How shall I work that she may not forget

The Silent Piano (For E.B.)


Bad Day

Song of the Bakerloo

The Song They Sing


Girl in Tube

A Visit to Beatrice

Can Light Be Golden?

Pollaiuolo's Apollo and Daphne

Piero di Cosimo's The Death of Procris

Sonnet: I am much inclined towards a life of ease

The Angry Boffin


Emeritus (on not trying to publish verse)


Al Fresco (on Modern Poetry)

The Queen's Beast (1954)


You're Wrong!

Funeral Oration


Song of Anger

Hagar and Ishmael

I. Hagar and Ishmael

II. The Spy

III. Ishmael


The Merman


At a Promenade Concert

The Milkmaid and the Unicorn

Video Meliora

Sonnet: Where can we hope to swim in 1ove's bright wave?

"How dolefully you raked into a blaze"

Sonnet: When the too-muchness of this angry trade

The Song of Pity or The Compassionate Society

Speech by a Gadarene Cabinet Minister

Sonnet: You said, and not as one exaggerating

The Sonnet and Its Uses



Mr. Walker

The Coming of Whitsun


Washing of Feet




A Meditation

From Orpheus: A Verse Drama Act II (lines 89-259)

Closing lines from "Riders on Pegasus"


Short Stories


The Devastated Area

Mrs. Cadogan

Two Prophetic Nouvelles

The Rose on the Ash-Heap (from the novel in manuscript English People)

Night Operation

Afterword Owen Barfield

Notes on the Poetry



This is a collection of the fiction and poetry of one of the twentieth century's most influential and significant thinkers. Barfield is known widely for his explorations of human consciousness, the history of language, the origins of poetic effect, and the interaction of the disciplines, especially literature and the hard sciences. This book presents Barfield as a writer of imaginative literature.

In the stories, one finds both post-war displacement and Bloomsburian ironies. In the two short novels, Barfield gives us two stunning versions of the Apocalypse. In his poetry he explores the varieties of human experience, often in radical relation to the past. A seemingly conventional poetic introduces explosive theological and sexual issues, confrontations with urban despair and fragmentation.

Barfield's creative work is original, daring, and prophetic. His voice heralds a new age of consciousness of which our time is becoming increasingly aware.

Jeanne Clayton Hunter is Associate Professor at Nassau Community College. Thomas Kranidas is Professor and Chair of the English Department at State University of New York, Stony Brook.