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CS Lewis Applies to Oxford, 1916

                           “There, he shared a sitting room with another hopeful candidate” – Alister McGrath

James Sale

There, beside him, that other candidate:

He, too, had appointments, and a calling;

He, too, was waiting – the War the while wailing –

And Oxford only offering one its fate.


What else, what other future could there be?

The text is written, books done, now dusted –

Yet ideas live – ideas Lewis wrestled, trusted;

But that other one, where is he?


Did war prove his learning’s antidote?

Some sniper snipe days before armistice?

Or he become a teacher somewhere ‘nice’

Who once with Lewis strove and pitched his note?


Or did he find love, honest and durable –

A brace of kids, not books and all their dust –

A life of deeper sweat, more urgent must –

A life of being finally, really curable?


Where is he now that candidate, that one

With whom the great Lewis struggled, prevailed?

There is a history very real, never nailed

Each one of us has to do, does, till we’re done.

(p. 1, The Hong Kong Review, Vol. III, No. 1)

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