The story of the departure ceremony (4): ‘Meeting’.


The Departure Ceremony/Pilgrim’s Lauds of the Walk of Wisdom on November 7 in the Stevenskerk in Nijmegen was unfortunately cancelled due to corona. As a result, the contribution of pilgrim Marlou Elsen, the text by Cees van der Pluijm, was not recited, but recorded.

The text for each Departure Ceremony comes from the book ‘Seasons of Life: a contemporary book of hours and pilgrims’.

Below you will find the text as recorded by Marlou.


Not in convent or monastery, church or hermitage

Not in the big words freedom, hope

Not in the room where darkness reigns

Nor in the bright sunlight of the day

Not in the unbridled nature that used to be

Had to go from ideal to hard

Lagging, not in the intoxication of heart or head

Not in the pain of body or mind

But in the language, that inalienable home –

What color crept into a painting

Hidden to be found quietly –

Or in a song that reads love awake

Only in that brief moment, in from the start

That hundredth of a second, when you saw;

That one look that lasted just a little longer

The flash that sent you into another forest

Than what you had erred believed in so much –

A quest that would have been in vain

Only detached from lack and time

In the end, what you miss touches the most

Meet who crosses the borders

Cees van der Pluijm

Reviewer, Poet, Talk Show Host and Lecturer

(Radio Kootwijk 1954 – Arnhem 2014)