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“What the Bird Said Early in the Year”

July 17, 2014

This week I’ve had the tremendous privilege of being in Oxford to shoot a small-group dvd series about C.S.Lewis, due out early next year. You can see photos here. I’ll be adding more each day. Today we shot behind Magdalen College, on Addison’s walk, where late one September night in 1931 J.R.R. Tolkien, Hugo Dyson, and Lewis took a walk. Tolkien got Lewis to consider the idea that Jesus’s incarnation, death, and resurrection were a myth that was also historically true. Nine days later, after a motorcycle ride to the Whipsnade Z00, Lewis assented to that idea, and became a Christian.

The following plaque of a Lewis poem was put up on Addison’s Walk in 1998, commemorating the Centenary of Lewis’s birth. I was there at that time and the poem remains one of my absolute favorites.


I heard in Addison’s Walk a bird sing clear:
This year the summer will come true. This year. This year.

Winds will not strip the blossom from the apple trees
This year, nor want of rain destroy the peas.

This year time’s nature will no more defeat you,
Nor all the promised moments in their passing cheat you.

This time they will not lead you round and back
To Autumn, one year older, by the well-worn track.

This year, this year, as all these flowers foretell,
We shall escape the circle and undo the spell.

Often deceived, yet open once again your heart,
Quick, quick, quick, quick! – the gates are drawn apart.

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