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, 25 February 2010

In Santiago Cathedral

a rush of incense
the botafumeiro
swings

here
the old world ends
we'll see


what a new world
brings
if angels

have feet of clay
then i
have wings

9 comments:

am said...

I'm glad to see you're still alive (that you made it across that river)-- you're writing like a saint.

(-:
(Baba Dylan)

The Weaver of Grass said...

Is the reverse also true?

The Solitary Walker said...

The reverse is true, it's all true, and I really did see the botafumeiro at 12.45 today, and it swung. But I think the show was put on special-like 'cos some of the Galician Xunta were present, in front row seats, for the Pilgrims' Mass. Not that many pilgrims were there. I think they'd all come to grief in the raging torrents.

Johnnie Walker said...

and so this part of the pilgrimage draws to a close. Thanks for sharing along the way. I hope you have a good day in Santiago tomorrow and a safe journey home.

Here is another wee verse which seems to fit the mood:

The Pilgrim Road Stephen Malone

Wounded feet on the Pilgrims' Way
Bound to a promise.
Soon you'll walk wet streets,
Soon
Sit on a hard bench and wait for rations,
Enter the Door of Glory,
Saunter to the swing of silver!

Still
Soon you'll desire to be back on the rough road,
Longer than life.

Good wishes

John

The Solitary Walker said...

Thanks, John. I like the poem.

Weaver - re my own poem, the last bit's supposed to be ambiguous. On the one hand, angels are angels, aren't they, perfect beings, and their feet are not of clay, so of course I can never have wings to fly, even if I might wish to, specially after seeing the botafumeiro 'fly' up and down the transepts of Santiago Cathedral. I'm only human.

On the other hand, there are such beings as ´fallen angels', banished from heaven for rebelling against God, an all too human sin. You could say these angels do indeed have 'feet of clay', just as you could say that saints and other very special 'angelic' people all have their human faults and failings (eg Mother Theresa certainly had ´feet of clay´).

So,to get back to my poem, some angels may indeed have 'feet of clay' - and therefore I may be able to fly (metaphorically of course, but, who knows, literally too?)

Certainly Santiago Cathedral, with all its beauty, and emotional and symbolic resonance (the Camino's destination, the end of one life, the beginning of another), and with the botafeiro swinging, and the incense burning, the organ playing and the bishop intoning - may convince us for a moment we can spiritually soar, that we too have wings.

Perhaps angels are not up there and we down here. Perhaps the boundary between angels and humans is more fluid than we think.

In Hinduism and Buddhism, the Namaste greeting and gesture means 'I bow to the God within you' - suggesting there is a part of God which resides in each one of us.

A Cuban In London said...

You surely have wings. Loved the piece. Many thanks.

Greetings from London.

Dominic Rivron said...

I like this poem: the conclusion has left a deep impression, I think.

The Solitary Walker said...

Thanks, Dominic.

Tim Shey said...

I liked this poem very much.

This past few days I have hitchhiked from Montana through North Dakota and South Dakota. I am staying in Spearfish, South Dakota for a couple of nights with some friends. Could be heading west to Gillette, Wyoming tomorrow.

"The thief left it behind,
The moon at the window."

--Ryokan, "One Robe, One Bowl"