A common man marvels at uncommon things. A wise man marvels at the commonplace. CONFUCIUS

Saturday, 24 September 2011

A Prayer

(Written on a pilgrimage from Geneva to Le Puy)

Dear God,
If You care,
Please help me.

If You are there
At the end of this prayer,
Give me a sign.

Though I can hardly speak,
And my signal is weak,
Reply if You can.

Even if You disguise your response
In the wind whispering through the birch trees
On the foothills of the mountains of Haute-Savoie,

Or in the murmur of the turquoise streams
Rushing with purpose down their rocky chutes,

Or in the scamperings of woodland mice
Seeking the knife-parings of pilgrims' cheese
Beneath this rough-hewn bench and table
Before this wooden hunting lodge.

Dear God,
If You care,
If You are there,
Please help me,
For now I need You more than ever,
And I am desperate to find meaning
In something more than landscape.

Dear God, You could say,
In a way, all my vain pilgrimages
Have led up to this time, this place:

This wayside cross, these offerings
Of stones and flowers crowding the base,
This niche
Jammed with a tiny statue of Saint James,
This stumbling prayer,
This weak and human message,
This plea, this faint voice
Appealing to You
Over the vast green forestlands
Of this jag-peaked and beautiful country.


Ruth said...

I've been there, the signal so weak. Yet all the scene so beautiful, from the small to the vast, all that you describe in your Robert way of observation, but still longing for meaning, a sign that Someone, somewhere, has something in mind for all of us. I love the poem.

The Weaver of Grass said...

Wonderful Robert. This sounds the kind of place where God does seem to be ever-present.

Bonnie said...

The plaintive plea of all non-believers.

George said...

No god am I, Robert, but I hear your prayer this morning somewhere in southern Virginia, as I make my way from North Carolina back to Maryland. I don't know what your next step will be, or the ones that will follow, but I am absolutely sure that your beautiful, plaintive prayer will be answered. It may be that your unwavering honesty, your willingness to be deeply humbled by the vastness and majesty of the landscape through which you walk, is a beginning of the answer. I, for one, believe that God — whatever the nature of this ineffable, divine mystery — always speaks to a questing heart. The challenge for me is whether I can wait in patience when I hear nothing, see nothing, and fear the absence of what I seek. I try to remember, however, that there is Presence in absence, and everything will unfold when the moment is ripe. Keep walking, my friend, and know that all is well and all will be well. And thanks for leaving this little poem cairn behind so that other pilgrims can find solace and direction in their own journeys.

Winter Pilgrim said...

You've captured such a beautiful and universal pilgrim sentiment - and reprinted today? I leave for my great walk from Santiago de Compostela to Jerusalem in just a few days. I'll carry your words with me. Thanks Solitary Walker

Kiwi Nomad 2008 said...

Oh Robert, this has really hit a mark... and puts somethings into words for me that I have never been able to say. I am planning to walk from Cluny to Le Puy next April- not as hilly I know, but still 'in the vicinity'. I am going to print off your prayer to carry with me in a little pocket of 'inspiration' that I will carry. Margaret

Goat said...

SW, you sneaky bugger! I remember you saying you were "likely to be out on the trail"! I had a feeling you were up to something with your recent "silence" on the blog -- guess you'll be missing that Dylan show in October after all?

Really happy for you and looking forward to your posts. And sorry you asked for God and I answered...but he does move in mysterious ways!

Alexandre Fabbri said...

Mais c'est facile. Pourquoi n'avez vous pas dit plus tôt? Je suis né dans ces montagnes et comme vous le dites, le vent transporte.

Alexandre Fabbri

am said...

Spoken in the language of the heart. Thank you for posting this, Solitary Walker.

Anonymous said...

Thank you for sharing this Robert. It is very honest and beautiful. Have you come across Therese of Lisieux's comment that Jesus must have been sleeping in the boat when prayer was exceptionally difficult for her.

Buen Camino,


ksam said...

Robert, this just reminds me of why I love to read your blog. I never know what I'll find here, but it's always worth the visit. Thank you for sharing this...I'll be copying and filing this to be savored again later.

Val said...

may all your prayers be answered! this is beautiful

Grace said...

My signal feels weak today. Your poem touched me.

The Solitary Walker said...

Back today and so moved by these comments ... much to say about my recent pilgrimage trek when I get it together ...

Dominic Rivron said...

Silence may be the best bet. The longer I live, the more I realize that if God can speak to us he's probably loathe to do so too directly on account of the things he's seen done in his/her name. The risks of misinterpretation would be just too high. Better to leave people to the quiet, and their intuitions perhaps.