Pilgrim Path

This blog is the work of a seeker and poet. Walking stick in hand, I head out into the world, not of the world, but in the world. My words and my friends carry me along and light the pilgrim path of spiritual journeys.

Monday, July 17, 2006


Like a temptress in an ancient sailor’s tale,
the holy isle of Iona calls out to me,
just as she called to Saint Columba
a millenium and a half ago.

Fierce North Sea winds batter the shore,
but islanders hardly notice for they expect to pay the price

for living where the veil between heaven and earth
is at its thinnest.
On the steep walk up the roughly paved hill,
I pass small stone cottages with tiny windows

framed inside by short lace curtains.
A potted bright red geranium stands
as a stalwart symbol of nature tamed.

I hear a siren’s call yet again.
She stands on a jutting cliff, face raised to the sky,
scarlet hair twisting like a tornado about her head.
A woolen scarf ‘round her shoulders,
full flowing skirt wrapping her legs,
she sings to the morning sky.

I shake my head as if to awaken; the song is gone,
and so I shrug and carry on to the abbey.

The short picket fence and swinging gate
seem laughable.
As I enter the grounds, I take the path to St. Oran’s chapel.
A tiny building in the midst of the graveyard of kings.
Inside, a single kneeler and a tray of tealights
are offered for modern pilgrims.
A family of tiny birds makes its home in the rafters
and doesn’t care much for the intrusion.
I turn to leave, and the bravest little bird
swoops out the entrance showing me the way out.

The abbey garden overflows with flowers of deep, rich colors.
Cool damp weather sends roots deep into the ground
and tall stalks to the sky.
A family gathers to read from a missal
some prayers for the dead.
They scatter the chalky white remains
among the thistles and fuschia.

A herd of black-faced sheep run wildly away
from their master and herder dog,
delighting in the game they’ve begun
but which they know they’re fated
to lose. You can almost see the sheep smirk
as they fall back in line.
The herder dog holds wisdom in his eyes.
His task done, he slowly walks over to me,
sits, and bows his head for a quick pat and a scratch.

Entering the Abbey hearing spoken prayers
floating as if carried on wings,
alighting gently on our hearts and souls.

I am blessed.


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