Walking the Way to Santiago: a poem


Walking the Way to Santiago: a poem
Placerville, CA

Placerville, CA


“…doors open to all, well and ill, not only to Catholics, but to pagans, Jews and heretics, the idler and the vagabond…the good and the wicked.” Thirteenth century poet praising the Roncesvalles pilgrim hostel in the Pyrenees, on the Camino de Santiago.


The mystic promises mystery around the corner

journeys  curved roads  detours false horizons

Camino de Santiago             pilgrimage of magic boxes

invisible until I am upon yellow arrows leading the Way

I am not too late to follow   to open these illusions

I am never alone    voices fill hollows of solitude

argue wisdom of climbing Alto de Perdon     the hill of forgiveness

apology from the land that banished my kin?      I inch closer

canyon chasms     tilting windmills

struggle to silence the voice of the Inquisition

whispers of Conversos and the hidden

walk strong past gothic cathedrals    Santa Lucia’s restoration

  San Esteban’s altar santos de mujeres in Zabaldika


crumbling stone walls protect medieval towns    Spanish gold crucifixes

broken promises on paths of shaded vineyards   thorny blackberries

cadmium yellow sunflowers   barking dogs echo in graffitied tunnels

faded swastikas and bruised Stars of David beside signs of hope

In-de-pen-decia no estas sola! Puzzle of letters

drawings scrawled inside passageways

on the road to Estella

a church in every village

where is a synagogue?


Puente la Reina    bridge of queens    unforgiving summer heat

fuentes of potable water on arid planes    filling empty bottles

undulating afternoon air    hot visions of La Madre Maria

on banks of the Ebro River    confusion of past and present

Saint James with a sword         Saint James with an open hand

What we do to find god


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