Lewis was old enough to read Chesterton when it was new, and Chesterton had the idea of magic within nature. England was a greener place then: Lewis’ home is now a housing estate, and the land is crowded. In the morning the mist descends and the dogs get concerned, as they smell the birds, local cats, and other canines.
And the people. The table of our LORD is neglected by many: many do not see God or God in nature. It is deeply unfashionable to do so.
But good poets shun fashions, and better poets take ordinary and see the numinous within it.
We need no barbarous words nor solemn spell
To raise the unknown. It lies before our feet;
There have been men who sank down into Hell
In some suburban street,
And some there are that in their daily walks
Have met archangels fresh from sight of God,
Or watched how in their beans and cabbage-stalks
Long files of faerie trod.
Often me too the Living voices call
In many a vulgar and habitual place,
I catch a sight of lands beyond the wall,
I see a strange god’s face.
And some day this work will work upon me so
I shall arise and leave both friends and home
And over many lands a pilgrim go
Through alien woods and foam,
Seeking the last steep edges of the earth
Whence I may leap into that gulf of light
Wherein, before my narrowing Self had birth,
Part of me lived aright.
C. S. Lewis