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.

Wednesday, December 26, 2007


He may be a stranger,
but he strides confidently
choosing a seat in an upfront pew
since his hearing’s gone bad.
He gazes upon the empty pulpit
anticipating ancient words
while praying for some new ones
to lift his weary soul tonight.
He closes his eyes:
the simple story he’s heard for years
takes on new life
as he feels the young babe breathe –
first in, then out.
In a second, the world has changed,
no longer stranger,
no more.

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Monday, December 24, 2007


Prepare a place for the babe,
Ye patient angels and humble humans.
The Christ, your Lord, has made
Way, becoming flesh
Of mortal woman,
The Virgin chosen by the
Lord to birth a new creation.

Prepare ye the way of the Lord!

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Wednesday, December 19, 2007


Finally! Christmas came last night,
riding the wave of raucous carols poorly sung
blaring from speakers at the outdoor ice rink.
Stumbling through the laughter
of experienced skaters
watching 1-year olds
lose their new-found footing
on ground that now betrays them.

Christmas wafted in on the scent
of hot chocolate in Styrofoam cups
cradled up close to frozen faces,
slurping, greedily seeking
the blessing of a marshmallow host.
Clouds of steam rising
like incense and prayers
from sweaty, hatless heads.

Christmas came inside a while,
just to take a load off,
to catch its breath
and then head back outside
to take another spin,
making children grin
and helping grown-ups
slow down enough to
feel their souls leap a little.

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Wednesday, December 12, 2007


When the women first heard
the news, they turned away,
unwilling to hear the truth,
fearing my dear Joseph
would run. But then,
when he stayed
and my belly swelled,
they fought one another
for a chance to touch me.

As my hopes grew stronger,
I eagerly dreamed of birthing
this Child. Soon, as always,
the women grew bored
as I became just another
young girl with child. If only
they'd looked in my eyes.
poem inspired by artwork created by
(and used with permission of) Christine Valters Paintner

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Friday, December 07, 2007


After days of traveling, I’d hoped
to take a rest tonight in the hotel lounge.
Staring at a gentle, rolling fire.
Sitting in an overstuffed chair
sipping a dram of single malt whisky,
I’d settled in to a mood of quiet revelry
retelling in my head, tales of my journey so far.

Gently interrupted, though, by the call
of a water siren through the sea-facing window
where just hours earlier, the island’s mayor
had leaped inside demanding a rub
of his fulsome, furry tabby belly.

The keening grew insistent, demanding
attention despite my resolve to savor
an evening of gentle repose. And so,
I grabbed my coat and cane and strode
out into the dark for a pitch black walk
along the esplanade, praying not to step
on brave toads making their own pilgrimage.

The scent of the sea hung thickly
in the cool night air; a distant house light
across the sound on Mull, the only sign
of life on that spare island. But still,
the sound of the siren beckoned me on.

Happening on a break in the seawall,
I stopped to listen closely. But now the only
sound I heard was the steady wash
of waves rolling over seaweed and shells
left by the receding tide. Standing for minutes
that felt like hours, I was seduced
by nature and her wiles.

Returning to my tiny room, I shut my window
and brusquely closed the drapes. Eagerly,
I changed and just as quickly fell asleep.
The white noise of the waves, the soundtrack
of my dreams; the whisky, my potion; the siren, my muse.

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Wednesday, December 05, 2007


Gathered in the sacred circle
sharing brutal truths with grace,
brave warriors begin their journey
as Orion guards their red clay path.

Not the easy peace of cowards,
turning tail or seeking penance
these wise souls confront their pain
living for a gentler day.

Forgiveness of ourselves is tougher
than forgiveness of our foes,
but with wisdom from the ages
we learn hard lessons well.

As we turn to face our brothers
can we see our face in theirs?
When we can, the path to peace will
never be one walked alone.

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