by C. S. Lewis
Mr. Lewis never published his own poetry book while alive but one was comprised for him years after his death by a man named Walter Hooper (who made a lot of C. S. Lewis compilations). Most of the work comes from single poems that Lewis did in magazines and newspapers such as: The Cambridge Review, The Oxford Magazine, The Spectator, Time and Tide, etc. (in which case he sometimes used fake names like Clive Hamilton and Nat Whilk). After Lewis converted to Christianity he still had inside of himself many doubts and frustrations about the world religion. One of his biggest worries was the idea of prayer. Not only in this poem but also in his collected group of letters entitled "Letters to Malcom" did he talk about the subject. He also spoke about the confusing puzzle of petitionary prayer in "The Seeing Eye" (Chapter entitled Petitionary Prayer: A Problem Without an Answer ). With all of this said, Lewis was uneasy about prayer: what it meant, if it transcended time or not, what was the use, if we could get anything we asked for etc. Because of these things he started thinking (or perhaps praying) about the issue and like water from the tap this poem came rushing out:
Master they say that when I seem
To be in speech with you,
Since you make no replies, it's all a dream
-One talker aping two.
They are half right, but not as they
Imagine; rather, I
Seek in myself the things I meant to say,
And lo! the wells are dry.
Then, seeing me empty, you forsake
The Listener's role, and through
My dead lips breath and into utterance wake
The thoughts I never knew.
And thus you neither need reply
Nor can; thus, while we seem
Two talking, thou art One forever, and I
No dreamer, but thy dream.
This poem meant wonders to me because of the idea of God's role in my own faith. For (1) I never thought that God would give me words to say to himself, for that seems prideful; but indeed if it is the HS (Holy Spirit) talking to the father then where can we go wrong? And even if this be not the case, if it is not one part of the Trinity talking to the other, then we may well understand the idea better through analogy. Consider this: Many children want to give good gifts to their parents on Christmas but children do not make money and children do not know how to wrap presents (I know from experience). And though a parent may help the child wrap the present and though the parent may provide the money for the gift for themselves, in no way is the feeble love of the child overlooked. And (2) this poem has showed me that so many times once we have penciled our doubt onto paper, or into thought; once we really ask a question I have no doubt that God will provide an answer. And many times that answer is not going to blink bright on a television show or on a billboard.