In the 1930s and 1940s, the famous group known as the Inklings, founded by C.S. Lewis and J.R.R. Tolkien, met in the Rabbit Room, the private back lounge of the pub the Eagle and Child in Oxford. For somewhere around 20 years they had an ever-shifting artist’s community, where literary classics like The Lord of the Rings were shaped. Even though the Inklings eventually dissolved, there legacy lives on in communities like the Rabbit Room and their annual conference-meets-creative-retreat, Hutchmoot.
I’ve written before about what Hutchmoot has meant in my own life. I call it a creative retreat, but I think the emphasis is on “retreat”; for a few days, we withdraw from the front lines and find a place of peace and safety, a place where we can forget about the sins of the world and bask in the goodness of the beauty of God.
I actually wrote this sonnet shortly before my first Hutchmoot, before I had even experienced its transformative power. Despite one slight pun and a slightly obscure play on the fact that “kune,” the Greek word for “dog,” is also the root word for “cynic,” I think I actually like this one better now than when I first wrote it. It’s truer now than it ever was before.
October 4, 2014
The rabbit is the enemy of dogs,
The kune, cursing, howling in the night;
The rabbit lifts its leg up to take flight.
It bounds and dives through hollow, mossy logs,
Down through its secret, wooded, tangled trail,
Until it, quivering, finds sacred rest
And in its starlit shelter, makes its nest;
Finds nourishment within the clover pale.
Though stalking cat yet seeks its life’s release
And worldly owl may pluck it from above
The rabbit rests and trust and dreams in love;
It toileth not, yet in this world finds peace.
Though cynics wait with talons sharp and bare,
We rest, for God has numbered every hare.