There is a promise
that is carried throughout the ages
and journeys the barren beauty of wilderness,
the valleys of grief
and the thresholds of new beginnings.
Jerusalem’s pilgrim polished streets;
cream red veined stone
and walls of prayer
have not forgotten
It comes to the listening ear
wearied by the sounds of many voices,
now available to the one true voice that calls you by name.
Wrapped in pervading aloneness
a voice of prevenient befriending
whispers sacred words.
You are not alone . . .
“I Am with you”.
God bless my blind spots
Bless the people whose eyes I cannot see,
give to them surfeit grace
that overlooks the blindness of
my log jammed eyes.
And while you bless them,
may you also bless
the naked image I see in the mirror
as for the very first time,
With eyes acquainted with the dark
may the first light of morning awaken within you a beautiful question;
one that unlocks doors
bolted by yesterday’s grief
and the harsh and unforgiving words
you have spoken to yourself.
May the sun spill light
into the cracks where the residue of darkness hides
inviting you to walk without fear of what lies within.
On these virgin sands of time coming to you as pure gift,
may you be embraced by a concept of grace
that sets you free to begin again.
Untie the string around your finger
as you remember forgotten dreams,
like a song that has been waiting to be sung,
listen for the long note played by the most gentle touch of the bow.
May it resonate with the one true note within that is you
and dance your dream into this day.
In this body of evidence no stone is left unturned,
searching for clues left behind by
an abandoned past.
Memory is like that,
dusting the corners in search of a word
dislodged by the wind and rain.
In the crowd of strangers
I look for the face of a friend
to find my place.
It is in the unfamiliar that the familial is found.
I had to go far away
to see what was close at hand.
If not found by day,
I listened to the dream in the night,
for only in this body, the soul is found.
Andrew Norton, Provence, July 2013
“My country is in my soul” Marc Chagall
When all is said and undone
with plans nailed to the wall.
When the well is dug dry with blisters in hand
and life is a liturgy work without rest.
Are you not worthy to receive without worth?
With white flag raised;
a soul surrendered is available to grace.
Hands visible and invisible guiding the way,
hidden in plain sight through a curtain
drawn back, an invitation to hold.
Speak not to be understood,
beyond all reason,
listen with the eyes of your heart and the laughter of soul.
Now you can see
sunrise and set without aid of your hand,
forty shades of green make way for
natures harvest in fields of gold,
lavender reflected in the hew of blue and grey sky.
Hidden in the corner the artists sign!
a door of welcome is opened to the stranger in you,
a table prepared for a meal without end,
an empty cup filled again and again
with the very best wine of life,
becoming friends who witness your silhouette back lit by the setting sun.
Available to grace.
Walking backwards into the past I stumbled upon standing stones,
guiding me on tomorrows way.
Not seeing at first,
I retraced my steps to discover where I had come from.
Silent witnesses speaking from ancient pathways,
rocks holding memory,
and tidal cadence in perfect time
with life’s first note.
Bruised from the fall,
wearied of soul,
and a hunger of longing
compelled me to take
Bardsey Island, known as the Isle of currents in Welsh (Ynys Enlli) and in English, Isle of Bards (Bardsey), located in the remote north west of Wales. Human history on this island dates back to the Neolithic age. From 429 AD the island became place of the Christian pilgrimage.
Contemplation and ‘mortification of the flesh’ was seen as the way to achieve a vision of heavenly things. It is believed that the spirits of the dead depart from the west making Bardsey an ideal place for pilgrimage. It is said that 20,000 saints are buried on the island. Three pilgrimages to Bardsey was equal to one to Rome!
If you are looking for shelter from the sun or the wind g won’t find any here. There is only one tree on the Island. What you will find however, is an Isle of intrigue, mystery, wildness and natural beauty.
Bardsey Island also holds a fascination with the meeting of the Church of Rome and the local Celtic spirituality. While the Roman Abby is in ruins the Celtic spirit is still present today.
This is not a tick box destination, once you have been once you will need to return at least two more times.
“Here there are pilgrims
born of the waves
with sunset in their eyes.” Moses Glyn Jones
Pilgrim is the name you’ve been given
as each day you walk the pilgrim way.
Go west to land’s end
Taking the narrow way across to the Isle of Bards,
listen for the echo of saints come to rest.
Watch as the Kestrel learns to fly,
leaving familial nest
to a land unknown to eye
but known of heart.
A “thin space”,
no line between heaven and earth.
The cathedral walls of twisted cliff rocks and waves,
rafters of azure sky
and music of Warbler, Chough, and Gull
invite a conversation of soul proportions.
Isle of currents,
between this and that,
here and there,
comings and goings,
ancient stones and tomorrows horizon,
until the solitude and sweeping seascape
take hold of you in silence.
This is the prayer of the pilgrim.
Llyn Peninsula, Wales
Ynys – unus
Enlli – n clee
Llyn – cl-in
Go gently as you climb Máméan of Connamora.
Walk in a manner appropriate for the mountain
and for the greater good.
Take two hands,
one for the mountain and one for yourself.
Tread softly upon the ground.
With each step your foot will be received by creation’s waiting.
This ground will love you and wound you deeply.
There is no safe pass on this pilgrimage
do not be afraid
“I am” is with you.
Looking straight into the wind
allow the tears to flow across your face
as you remember
where you have come from
and the people who have gifted you with legacy.
When you stumble at the station of the cross
take the third hand,
the hand of grace
that lifts you back to your feet again.
Take off your shoes and stand still,
this is holy ground
and listening for the still small voice that calls your name
turn sideways into the wind,
and as you return to a world in waiting
go gently . . .
Máméan of Connamora
(For those in the know . . . John O’ Donohue country)
Ireland; 40 shades of green, the land, the music, the myth, the story, the scars and spirit has touched my soul with three drops of oil from the great salmon.