Lucy Barfield

It is to be expected that esoteric teachers will have a muse, and it seems that Lucy Barfield was that muse for C.S. Lewis.

Lucy was an accomplished dancer, musician, composer, artist and poet. She had a special vitality which inspired both her father and godfather (Barfield and Lewis respectively).

Tragically the year Lewis died was the year Lucy’s illness began; aged just 28, Lucy’s fate was to suffer multiple sclerosis for 40 years.  The disease robbed her of all physical capacity and confined her to a hospital bed.

As her strength weakened, she identified more with the Lucy in Narnia, Barfield expressed this with words for her:  “What I could not do for myself the dedication did for me. My Godfather gave me a greater gift than I had imagined”.  Narnia readers wrote hundreds of letters to Lucy, but only two reached her. These two letters gave her great joy and were received with wonder as snow-flakes in the desert.

Lucy never lost her will for life nor her spiritual strength,  and she far exceeded all the medical prognoses for her debilitating condition. To the end Lucy was a beacon of light, a lit lamp-post in a wintery land.

1935 Lucy born 5th November
1937 Lucy adopted by Maud & Owen Barfield
c. 1937 Lucy baptised in St. Mary’s-the-Virgin, Primrose Hill, London with C.S. Lewis as her godfather
1937 to 1947 Lucy grew up in North London, but during WW2 the Barfields move back to near Oxford
1947 Barfields move to Uckfield, East Sussex
c. 1949 Lucy’s confirmation at St. Paul’s Cathedral, London
1949 OB is received into the Anglican Church at Uckfield; with Lucy and CSL in attendance
1950 The first Narnia book is published, written for and dedicated to Lucy
c. 1958 Lucy becomes a qualified dance and music teacher
1960 Public performance of Lucy’s sinfonietta in three movements at Malvern College (CSL’s old school)
1963 Symptoms of illness start
Mid 1960s to mid 1980s Lucy lives in a series of hospitals and assisted care-homes
1966 Lucy diagnosed with multiple sclerosis, permanently needs to use a wheelchair
1967 1st collection of 26 poems by Lucy printed
c. 1968 Solo exhibition in London of water-colour paintings by Lucy
1978 Lucy marries but outlives her spouse
c. 1980 2nd collection of poems by Lucy
1984 Lucy attends a London theatre performance of ‘The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe’ as the guest of honour
Mid 1980s Lucy moves permanently to the ‘Royal Hospital for Neuro-disability’ in London
2003 Lucy passes away 3rd May.

Poems by Lucy Barfield

The collection is held by the Marion E. Wade Center in Wheaton College, near Chicago.

Am I in love with life? Why not!
My outward wings take me beyond
All mortal, earthly, fleshly things.
It is the growing of a flower
It is the growing of a tree
It is the growing growth of spirit takes me there.
All pain evaporates in air,
All vivid colour too.
The delicacy of life is found
In balance with the heights,
The very living source of life,
The very truth and breath of life
Though visible in seconds here,
And yet is timelessness.

Why make so many doubts
In check and double re-check
When conscience tells you one thing
And you fear to grasp it?

Sometimes there is doubt in mind
And knowledge comes to rescue
In experience and in testing
Such wisdom can be used.

But test too many things
To find the “whys” and “wherefores”
This is not wise! It is not right!
Accept. There is a reason.

Copyright © 1997 — Owen Barfield Literary Estate.       Return to Top.