For my part, I travel not to go anywhere, but to go. I travel for travel's sake. The great affair is to move. ROBERT LOUIS STEVENSON

Thursday, 18 February 2010

A Camino Sonnet

It's too late now. There is no turning back.
I am no saint. But sinner's near the mark,
Counting my errors on this endless track,
Counting my failures in this endless dark.
The world is too much with us, someone said,
Nasty, brutish and short, it's been portrayed,
A daily grind to earn our daily bread,
A pitiable, heartless, sad parade.
Surely there's something more than grief and strife?
Some gleam of grace, some glimmer of shook foil,
Some chink of light, a glimpse of some bright life,
Before we shuffle off this mortal coil?
There's no success like failure. Through the hail
And rain I quest, the better for to fail.

The italicized quotes in my sonnet come from William Wordsworth, Thomas Hobbes, Gerard Manley Hopkins, William Shakespeare and Bob Dylan respectively. The last line refers to Samuel Beckett's famous remark: Ever tried. Ever failed. No Matter. Try again. Fail again. Fail better.

Though at first glance this sonnet may seem despairing, it's really about searching and questing; and I think there's some redemptive hope in the last two lines.

(Posted from Puebla de Sanabria, on the Camino Sanabrés, Spain.)

4 comments:

The Weaver of Grass said...

I presume you composed this on the hoof, Robert. Love it. Hope things are going well for you. How much longer?

The Solitary Walker said...

Been polishing it for days, Pat! Something to do on the endless trail...

250 km to go, though I might carry on to Finisterre.

Dominic Rivron said...

I don't think it appears despairing - realistic, more like. And yes, there is redemptive hope there.

Interesting what effect a pilgramage might have on the subconscious to get it to produce such a poem.

am said...

Quite moving to read the poetry that is arising as you walk.

word verification: parched