POEM: Jack Views His Own Memorial

C.S. Lewis, 1898 – 1963
“I believe in Christianity as I believe that the sun has risen;
not only because I see it but because by it I see everything else.”

After his admirers move on,
exclaiming over sarcophagi,
after shadows stretch
and night watchmen yawn,

Jack ambles into the Abbey
to view
the fresh-laid marker of his fame.

Across Chamberlain and Newton,
past Plantagenets
lying in chiseled finery
atop their coffins
(off in the cloisters, underfoot:
“26 monks
who died of the black death, 1348”),

deeper and deeper,
back through history
he strides
in no particular hurry–
he is past time–

Back to 1066 and All That.
Normans no longer strain
to conquer
but accept confinement
with crumbled

At last a small box,
mouldering gray,
any vestige of identification
worn away.
King Alfred? Is that you?

Fitting, somehow,
all those final full stops.
All their glory dust.

I would have told them no
in no uncertain words.
That Disney thing
I absolutely forbade–
under no circumstances,
I told my heirs,
allow them to film the Chronicles.
Aslan, I said, is a divine figure,
and anything remotely approaching the comic
would be to me simple blasphemy.
(Though I have to say–
I have no pride to lose now–
they got it “spot on”
after all.)

But now, a stone
with those for Chaucer,
Milton, Scott?

Hard right, south transept,
and it’s his turn.

Still balding, stout,
hands clasped behind him professorially
(no pipe nor pint now)
he faces Poets’ Corner and contemplates
his own small grandeur.

True enough, he grunts.
But all this nonsense in my honor?
Can’t they move beyond
my ink-stained finger
to the One I pointed to?
Why do they insist
on being distracted
by me?

They miss the whole point.
Shaking his head he turns away,
a huff of disgust.

No, Jack, a million readers breathe.
Rest in peace.
We get it.

                                                     –Jessica Shaver Renshaw

About Jessica Renshaw

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