Soul of a Pilgrim

I love to read. Currently, I’m enjoying several books. I don’t like reading that way necessarily, but it just happened that way this summer. I’d love to tell you about all my books. Instead, I’ll leave you with this poem from The Soul of a Pilgrim by Christine Valters Painter. (Sorry for the crazy spacing. It’s an annoying Wordpress thing. Each space break represents a line break).

And, as a bonus, here’s a link to another one of my all-time favorite songs, Pilgrim by Enya. Enjoy.

Air travel is like    ancient pilgrims walking on their    knees, flight delays and narrow seats    offer their own kind of penance.

You jettison excess baggage,    leaving behind the heavy makeup case,    knowing the rain will    wash you free of artifice.

Books you wanted to carry left too,    no more outside words needed,    then go old beliefs which keep    you taut and twisted inside.

Blistered feet stumble over rocky    fields covered with wildflowers and you    realize this is your life,    full of sharp stones and color.

Red-breasted robins call forth    the song already inside,    a hundred griefs break open under    dark clouds and downpour.

Rise and fall of elation and exhaustion,    the tides a calendar of unfolding,    a bright star rises and you remember    a loved one waiting miles away.

A new hunger is kindled by the sight of    cows nursing calves in a field,    spying a spotted pony, you forget    the weight and seriousness of things.

Salmon swim across the Atlantic,    up the River Corrib’s rapids to the    wide lake, and you wonder if you have    also been called here for death and birth.

This is why we journey:    to retrieve our lost intimacy with the world,    every creature a herald of poems    that sleep in streams and stones.

“Missing you” scrawled on a postcard sent home,    but you don’t follow with    “wish you were here.”    This is a voyage best made alone.

Leave a Reply