An Unexpected Journey

Robert Fitzgerald's poem for Epiphany, which appeared in The New Yorker in January 1967, seems to place the biblical tale of the Magi in a realm Tolkein might have recognised. When Fitzgerald wrote his poem, The Fellowship of the Ring was in its 15th impression, and Rembrandt Films had just produced an animated adaptation of The Hobbit (whose liberties border on the Jacksonian). Middle-earth evoked as much fantastic longing in that turbulent time as it seems to do in ours. Fitzgerald's little poem suggests such longing, and its satisfaction, is never far from any one of us. 

Immortal brilliance of presage
In any dark day’s iron age
May come to lift the hair and bless
Even our tired earthliness
And sundown bring an age of gold,
Forged in faerie, far and old,
An elsewhere and an elfin light,
And kings rise eastward in the night.



There and back again

Coming home after a month away made me realise how thin was our veneer of habit. It's taken more than a month to retrieve all our good habits (I count blogging among them). Being away was wonderfully refreshing and produced the kind of serenity only distance and utter detachment can, but it makes it all the harder to again take up one's ordinary life. However, if Bilbo Baggins is to be believed journeys change you for the better. Ordinary life is larger when you come back to it, sweeter for being left so long. And the road is waiting at your door whenever you choose to travel it. Here's to habits, and hobbits, and coming home again. 

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
And trees and hills they long have known.