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  • Fr. Dwight Longenecker

The Pilgrimage (St. Margaret's, Binsey, Oxford)

You have to pass through

the distressing

part of this mostly golden

town to get there. You


past Jericho and on

through the desert

of crowded shops,

mean streets and gardens

filled with factory dirt

until the city stops

where, like a guardian

the gate to the meadow

stands. Beyond the gate

it is like Eden

the river seems to flow

like life, and the late

slanting sun goldens

everything in sight

the swans' wings flapping

with no resistance

in the air, and the white

horses galloping

in the distance.

Past the far meadow

where the herd gathers

and feeds, past the village

the road starts to narrow

and becomes smoother,

as if the next stage

should be easier;

yet this is the longest

part of the journey

and it is darker

too, than the rest,

or so it seems to me.

There is no release

of warmth at the end

of the tunnel-like

avenue of trees

which follow. Nothing sends

tremors of light to strike

the mind or heart.

There is only a small

church among ancient trees

and wild flowers,

and in a dis-used part

of the yard, there is

a legendary well

with healing powers.

Fr. Dwight Longenecker is Senior Contributor at The Imaginative Conservative. A graduate of Oxford University, he is the Pastor of Our Lady of the Rosary Church, in Greenville, SC, and author of twenty books, including Immortal Combat, The Romance of Religion, The Quest for the Creed, and Mystery of the Magi: The Quest to Identify the Three Wise Men. He contributes to many magazines, papers, and journals, including National Catholic Register, Catholic Digest, and The Stream. His latest book, Beheading Hydra- A Radical Plan for Christians in an Atheistic Age, is published by Sophia Institute Press. Visit his blog, listen to his podcasts, join his online courses, browse his books, and be in touch at


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