CS Lewis Applies to Oxford, 1916
“There, he shared a sitting room with another hopeful candidate” – Alister McGrath
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)