Because Tolkien Wrote a Poem Such as This

As Webster puts the wrap on Chesterton’s Orthodoxy, I am reminded of GKC’s admonition that (and I paraphrase) we should seek the one to lead us who knows he isn’t worthy of doing so. Ahem—you found him, Skipper, and “Aye, aye sir.”

But before I go wading into any details of our next read (Mere Christianity by C.S. Lewis), let me post this little jewel of a poem written by a colleague of Jack’s, J. R. R. Tolkien of the Hobbit and Lord of the Rings renown. I know, from Wikipedia, that “Tolkien’s devout faith was a significant factor in the conversion of C. S. Lewis from atheism to Christianity, although Tolkien was dismayed that Lewis chose to join the Church of England.”
Sort of how I feel about Jack too. But before I get all open-minded about Lewis, the weather outside is frightful and there is a lot of meat on my plate. Your plate too, probably. Let’s enjoy this poem together first.

Roads Go Ever On by J.R.R. Tolkien

Roads go ever ever on,
Over rock and under tree,
By caves where never sun has shone,
By streams that never find the sea;
Over snow by winter sown,
And through the merry flowers of June,
Over grass and over stone,
And under mountains in the moon.
Roads go ever ever on,
Under cloud and under star.
Yet feet that wandering have gone
Turn at last to home afar.
Eyes that fire and sword have seen,
And horror in the halls of stone
Look at last on meadows green,
trees and hills they long have known.
The Road goes ever on and on
Down from the door where it began.
Now far ahead the Road has gone,
And I must follow, if I can,
Pursuing it with eager feet,
Until it joins some larger way,
Where many paths and errands meet.

The Road goes ever on and on
Down from the door where it began.
Now far ahead the Road has gone,
And I must follow, if I can,
Pursuing it with weary feet,
Until it joins some larger way,
Where many paths and errands meet.
And whither then? I cannot say.
The Road goes ever on and on
Out from the door where it began.
Now far ahead the Road has gone.
Let others follow, if they can!
Let them a journey new begin.
But I at last with weary feet
Will turn towards the lighted inn,
My evening-rest and sleep to meet.
Still ’round the corner there may wait
A new road or secret gate;
And though I oft have passed them by,
A day will come at last when I
Shall take the hidden paths that run
West of the Moon, East of the Sun.

  • Sandy

    Nice poem. I can't help but wonder now if Lewis' words about the many doors in the hall and not sniping at each other's choice of doors or time of wait in the hall was a reference to their friendship. :-)

  • EPG

    A somewhat larger nit to pick, Frank — Lewis, from the time he was a child, never was addressed by the name "Clive." To those who addressed him on a first name basis, he was "Jack." This nickname was apparently chosen by Lewis himself when he was a young child (and who can blame him?).As for me, I think I would have hesitated to call him anything other than "Mr. Lewis.":)

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/01819831282677092730 Frank

    EPG: My Drill Instructor called me names too, and not my given name either. I didn't like it much, but I survived. Back to J.R.R., check out this…"In the last years of his life, Tolkien became greatly disappointed by the reforms and changes implemented after the Second Vatican Council, as his grandson Simon Tolkien recalls:'I vividly remember going to church with him in Bournemouth. He was a devout Roman Catholic and it was soon after the Church had changed the liturgy from Latin to English. My grandfather obviously didn't agree with this and made all the responses very loudly in Latin while the rest of the congregation answered in English. I found the whole experience quite excruciating, but my grandfather was oblivious. He simply had to do what he believed to be right.'"Sheesh! Call me Ishmael. ;-)

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/01819831282677092730 Frank

    @Sandy:That very well may be. As I was reading the introduction to MC, I was wishing Lewis had left it like he did the first go around. With words italicized for emphasis, etc. But, as he also states in his intro, we cannot see into the hearts, much less the minds, of others so dong so is mere (uh-huh, pun intended)speculation.P.S. The poem is even better now that I've got the first stanza in there (blogger ate it…really!).


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