white feather quill pen
Photo by cottonbro on

(Free stock image. Image description: A white feathersed quill rests in a gold rimmed ink pot.)

Note: On a trip to Oxford, I had a chance to visit the famous pub “The Eagle and Child” which several of The Oxford Inklings were known to frequent. (One of many locations.)

I wasn’t the only one there for that historic and literary connection. This is a reflection on that setting and the Jesus-way.

The reflection is set as two contrasting poems: “Looking for ink on the table” and “Walking in the way”.

Looking for ink on the table
We wish to sit at
That table
Our ear to the wooden plain
As if it
An instrument
Could resonate-speak
So we might
Catch a remnant-tidbit of

That would miraculously
Usher us into the
Older Other Realm
Brushing us up
the pilgrim way
With friends
To join the quest
To ask the question
We fear to speak
Yet these authors
Yet already dared to answer
To be safe in their keep

So we think

Yet do not wish to
Journey ourselves
Or ask the leading question
Or overturn the table
Or get up off the chair
To journey up the road

(Too often… almost always..)
We settle
For nostalgia
And fear
Posing at enlightened speech

We want to be Frodo and Sam
At the end of the road – victorious and safe
To be “further up and further in”
Already now
To avoid the discernment
To avoid the quest for wisdom
That is desperately needed now
Avoiding the battle so clearly facing us

(The road discarded with crosses we’d rather not carry… yet somehow we yearn for the Jesus-way)

We do not want to do the work of seeking
Of speaking
We only want to catch
Strains of music
Sung walking uphill
Left over from others
We’d rather
Sop up ink dredges
From the table
With stale bread from our pockets
Keeping them as strange
We do not wish to share


Walking in the way
Ink and quill
At the table
At the ready
Thought and quest
Must be captured
To cultivate and to share
Conversation and bread
Conversation as bread
And yes a
And self and other and speaking
And Listening
And Listening
And Listening
And Seeking
Soaking in voices
“As if hearing our own tongue
In a far off land”
Drawn in
Sent on our way again

Going after The Holy
Always after the Holy Spirit voice

All around the the table
In walking clothes
Boots worn in
Worn thin
From all the walking

Ourselves determined to make
The journey of our age
To not lift up our names

But to speak of the One we follow
And that they followed
And so that they (following us)
Might go the pilgrim way

To give voice to the unvoiced
Question that we dared to ask
And He answered
To illumine the way
For others
Earnestly sought
Earnestly shared
Freely given

To up from
The table
Each one their cross to carry

(Quotes and references from The Lord of the Rings, JRR Tolkien; The Last Battle, CS Lewis. Imagery and general references from CS Lewis and JRR Tolkien.)

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