Lewis had a difficult childhood: between the early death of his mother, a staunch Anglican preparatory school (which he hated) and then the trenches. He had little bad to say about the bullies, fagging and gossip of his school: the charnel house of the first war took them all.

But he remembers the terrors of the night, examining his conscience, and, like all sensitive boys, coming up wanting.

After Prayers, Lie Cold

Arise my body, my small body, we have striven
Enough, and He is merciful; we are forgiven.
Arise small body, puppet-like and pale, and go,
White as the bed-clothes into bed, and cold as snow,
Undress with small, cold fingers and put out the light,
And be alone, hush'd mortal, in the sacred night,
-A meadow whipt flat with the rain, a cup
Emptied and clean, a garment washed and folded up,
Faded in colour, thinned almost to raggedness
By dirt and by the washing of that dirtiness.
Be not too quickly warm again. Lie cold; consent
To weariness' and pardon's watery element.
Drink up the bitter water, breathe the chilly death;
Soon enough comes the riot of our blood and breath.
Clive Staples Lewis

Those who do not acknowledge Lewis as a poet, indeed a war poet, are blinded: either by his theology -- which was Anglican and High Church at that -- or because they are not the wit to consider that the writer of children's books could have a poetic voice beforehand. As if it was not common to write potboilers as a poet: Robert Graves wrote the Claudius series, for War Poets need their rent to be paid.


I’ve watched the Seasons passing slow, so slow,
In the fields between La Bassée and Bethune;
Primroses and the first warm day of Spring,
Red poppy floods of June,
August, and yellowing Autumn, so
To Winter nights knee-deep in mud or snow,
And you’ve been everything.

Dear, you’ve been everything that I most lack
In these soul-deadening trenches—pictures, books,
Music, the quiet of an English wood,
Beautiful comrade-looks,
The narrow, bouldered mountain-track,
The broad, full-bosomed ocean, green and black,
And Peace, and all that’s good.

Robert Graves

The child does the man become. But within the man is the boy, and that allows us to revisit the simpler fears of childhood, or, in old age, the terrors of both love and hate, and the necessary holding of that which is not combat in the wars past, or the wars to come.