Run Run Ever (After George MacDonald’s “No End of No-Story”)

The first thing I ever read by George MacDonald was his most dreamy children’s novel, At the Back of the North Wind, a book which compelled me as much as it mystified me. I remember vividly the moment that I encountered the poem, sometimes entitled “No End of No-Story”, which appears in the novel – a strange, lullaby-like song which the main character, Diamond, heard on one of his journeys to the back of the North Wind. It is not perhaps one of MacDonald’s finest poems, yet it had a powerful effect on me when I first read it, and so I have tried to create some of that same effect with my own poem here.
 
Run Run Ever (After “No End of No-Story”)
 
“It’s such nonsense!” said his mother. “I believe it would go on for ever.”
“That’s just what it did,” said Diamond.
“What did?” she asked.
“Why, the river. That’s almost the very tune it used to sing.”
(George MacDonald, At the Back of the North Wind)
 
When we
tired ones
reach the
river
we will
sit by
its soft
streams and
see the
city
it makes
glad with
all its
streams and
all its
flowing,
see the
city,
see the
lamb whose
light is
now the
light of
living,
and we
will not
mourn for
dying
or wish
we were
back in
shadows
but, once
dreaming,
we now
wake to
find the
brightest
morning
where our
dreams prove
pale and
dying
and our
doubts are
swept a-
side in
days of
brightness
by this
ever-
running
river

5 thoughts on “Run Run Ever (After George MacDonald’s “No End of No-Story”)

  1. After reading McDonald’s poem, which really did seem to flow on forever like a river, I wondered what you would come up with. And was delighted. This is a truly beautiful poem. I will mark it as a favorite so that I can read it often. Well done, sir!!!

  2. I just downloaded C.S. Lewis’ biography of MacDonald and read through the introduction last night. Lewis considered MacDonald rather second-rate from a literary critical perspective, but revered him as the greatest “myth-maker” perhaps of all time. I’m looking forward to reading more of it.

    1. Will be interested to hear your thoughts. CSL was a bit hard on MacDonald, who was actually a more subtle and complex writer than often gets acknowledged. But his strength was certainly in his use of imagery and myth.

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