MEMORIES OF THE CAMINO                                                         

Saw nothing down below on the way to Vancouver –

a more or less straight line for nine hours or so.

Sat above a wing, beside a door, paying more

for the privilege, my legs need to stretch for these

longer hauls – all part of the call on me by

Mister P, some while ago, some day that was.


I watched a documentary on the Camino de Santiago

(Saint James), the ecstasy and the pain of

half a dozen pellegrinos taking to the road from

St Jean Pied du Port, French Pyrennees,

across Northern Spain to the Saint’s city, in whose

cathedral lie his bones (such is the belief).


I watched – I’d done the same eight years before,

just the walkers and their stories changed.

The filming of the route, the sunrise starts,

all so familiar; and, as I did those eight short years ago,

I wept to see the camino take in hand the lives of

pilgrims, comfort them and help them grow –


which may sound trite but understates

the lightness of their hearts and minds

after looking out for others day by day;

each one a gift to humankind because they’d

taken, revered, the gifts of pilgrimage,

planted them deep inside, promised not to forget.


And the tears that flow or flood or brush the rims

of tired eyes set on the square, watching out for

friends met on the Way and maybe left some

days or weeks before, are tears of thanks for the

very being of the trail, the fight to carry on when

the body aches, the constant stream


of walkers, each with a story none else has,

a pre-camino past, knowing that it has all passed,

for the road alters everything, and for good,

and few are disappointed; for most, they learn to

obey the teachings of the Way, to walk with the Way,

in the rhythm that belongs to them and them alone.


To watch all this again, eight years on, images of

pilgrims I’d met and grown to love, and images

of days when I’d walked alone, both weighed down

with pain and buoyed up with the feelings of a king

checking out his domain, when wellbeing seeped

from every pore for a score of miles, often more.


I swore I’d do it all again, take the pain, limp

along the path, retracing steps, hear laughter

in echo. For sure, I wouldn’t be the first to hobble

all the way, though faith would play a larger part,

to deal with doubt. I note how I reach out, already,

to hope and prayer and smile at my entrapment.




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Taylor Crowshaw

Tue 28th Aug 2018 22:22

What wonderful images you conjure with your words Peter..thank you ?

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