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From: Michael Straight <straight@email.unc.edu>
Subject: Re: (urth) C.S. Lewis
Date: Sat, 27 May 2000 22:35:47 

This poem gives a pretty clear picture of Lewis's thoughts on the subject,
although he didn't publish it in his lifetime, so he may have had
reservations about the ideas (or about the way he expresses them here).

An Epithalamium

	So Man, grown vigorous now,
	Holds himelf ripe to breed,
	Daily devises how
	To ejaculate his seed
	And boldy fertilize
The black womb of the unconsenting skies.

	Some now alive expect
	(I am told) to see the large,
	Steel member grow erect,
	Turgid with the fierce charge
	Of our whole planet's skill,
Courage, wealth, knowledge, concentrated will;

	Straining with lust to stamp
	Our likeness on the abyss--
	Bombs, gallows, Belsen camp,
	Pox, polio, Thais' kiss
	Or Judas', Moloch's fires
And Torquemada's (sons resemble sires).

	Shall we, when the grim shape
	Roars upward, dance and sing?
	Yes: if we honor rape,
	If we take pride to fling
	So bountifully on space
The sperm of our long woes, our large disgrace.

(From _Poems_, ed. Walter Hooper, p. 56.)

I can't remember where Lewis talks about our limited lifespan as a mercy,
lest a bad man continue to get worse and worse without limit.  Maybe in
_The Abolition of Man_ or _The Problem of Pain_.

An amusing aside, there's another poem by Lewis, "An Expostulation Against
Too Many Writers of Science Fiction," where he complains of people writing
science fiction adventure stories that could just as easily take place
anywhere on Earth:

  Why should I leave this green-floored cell,
  Roofed with blue air, in which we dwell,
  Unless, outside its guarded gates,
  Long, long desired, the Unearthly waits,
  Strangeness that moves us more than fear,
  Beauty that stabs with tingling spear [...]

(Ibid, p. 58.)


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