Poetry, VOLUME 8

E. Nesbit – Gratitude [Poem]

Tomorrow (Aug. 15) is the birthday of E. Nesbit, writer of delightful children’s stories, born 1858.

Nesbit is one of the lesser-known influences on C.S. Lewis’s Narnia:
“Lewis was deeply indebted to E. Nesbit, not only in matters of plot, character and image, but even in small details of phrasing. When he set out to write his Chronicles of Narnia, he though of them as being Nesbit books: as belonging to a type or genre practised by E. Nesbit. In many respects the Narnia books begin where the Nesbit books leave off: The Magician’s Nephew, the first of the series, begins with an allusion to Nesbit.”     – Mervyn Nicholson, “What C.S. Lewis took from E. Nesbit


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E. Nesbit

I FOUND a starving cat in the street:
   It cried for food and a place by the fire.
I carried it home, and I strove to meet
   The claims of its desire.

And since its desire was a little fish,
   A little hay and a little milk,
I gave it cream in a silver dish
   And a basket lined with silk.

And when we came to the grateful pause
   When it should have fawned on the hand that fed,
It turned to a devil all teeth and claws,
   Scratched me and bit me and fled.

To pay for the fish and the milk and the hay
   With a purr had been an easy task:
But its hate and my blood were required to pay
   For the gifts that it did not ask.


C. Christopher Smith is the founding editor of The Englewood Review of Books. He is also author of a number of books, including most recently How the Body of Christ Talks: Recovering the Practice of Conversation in the Church (Brazos Press, 2019). Connect with him online at: C-Christopher-Smith.com

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