“The Traveler”

“The road goes ever on,” beyond horizons,
Into shadow, God alone knows where,
And, burdened, “I must follow if I can.”
For, though all fall away, and peril come,
Though each and every lamp grow dim but one,
The word burns fiercely yet within my breast.
Though mountains tremble, though the rivers rise,
Though I am hardly so the path is sure,
And I must run, or trudge, along its course.
Though I sit long in silence, soon enough
My spirit stirs, grows restless, and awakes:
For neither cozy wayhouse, nor warm inn,
Can be my lasting home, that I’ve not seen
But long to reach and yet press on to gain.

I began this poem earlier this year or late last year, feeling prompted by the song from The Lord of the Rings, but quickly ran out of inspiration and left it as a short fragment. I returned to it in February, extending it in a rather different direction than I had originally envisioned, and then earlier this month, at which point I brought it to enough of a conclusion to satisfy my inner critic.

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As always, I earnestly welcome your (further) comments, suggestions, questions, or other feedback about this or any other part of my work. If you’d like to read more of my poetry, you can read my archive (also organized in more manageable installments); get my book, which contains over sixty of my best poems, each paired with a public-domain illustration or drawing; or follow this blog for (now only occasional) new poetry (among other things). You may also share this poem with others, subject to my sharing policy.

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