As I write this, I am staying at The Kilns as a Scholar in Residence through the C.S. Lewis Foundation. It’s my first visit to The Kilns, and it’s marvelous.
The house has been lovingly restored by volunteer labor to be much as possible how it was when C.S. Lewis and his brother Warnie lived here. None of the original furniture is here (it was sold off at auction at Lewis’s death), but I think that’s perhaps how Jack would have liked it, for as it is now, The Kilns is not a museum, but rather a working house for scholars. Some are long-term (perhaps writing a dissertation), some short-term (like me) working on an article or book; but in any case, the house is lived-in and filled with conversation and Christian fellowship as it was in Lewis’s day.
Here is a little sonnet that I wrote a few days after my arrival at The Kilns. You can click on the title to hear my reading of the poem.
The wind is howling round the eaves, and through
The bare-branched trees that raise their slim brown arms
Aloft beside the still-green hedge. The view
Is not the same as Jack’s once was: less farm
And more suburban bustle; yet I’d say
He’d laugh and let it go (who hated hymns
But kept to his own parish church to pray
And sing beside his neighbors). Now within
These well-loved walls, I brew a pot of tea
And settle in a shabby chair to read.
The wear of years means that it cannot be
Exactly as it was : nor is there need.
So heed the call of “Further up, and in–”
This is a place where good work can begin.
Dr. Holly Ordway
Dr. Holly Ordway has a doctorate in English Literature from the University of Massachusetts Amherst, an MA in English Literature from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and an MA in Christian Apologetics from Biola University.
Dr. Ordway’s book Not God’s Type: A Rational Academic Finds a Radical Faith (Moody Publishers, 2010) chronicles her intellectual and emotional journey from atheism to faith in Christ as her Lord and Savior.
She speaks and writes regularly on literature, especially fantasy literature and poetry, and literary apologetics.
Her blog, from which this post was used with her permission, is Hieropraxis. In it, she explores the intersection of literature and faith, and of reason and imagination.