Pilgrim – poem


Today off the corner of the island of Saints
    the sea is wild
God’s firstborn have surfaced there
    chaos monsters are at play

There are no rules of course
they simply hurl themselves at everything
    bellowing in primal joy
Laughter booms across the whirlwind
All is drenched in salt and light

The rocks, as they always do,
    sit this one out
Unprovoked by these mad wet assaults
they wait for close of play
    and a drying wind

Tossed high across this frenzied world
the pilgrims cannot sleep in the storm
    are clinging to rope and mast upon
this wildly pitching Ark of Salvation
gripping the tiller with white knuckle faith
eyes straining for the horizon

They are past wondering if Jesus
    cares they are perishing
They are seeking the Farthest Shore
and have staked everything on this –
that the fiercest current of all
    is love

July 2017
Bardsey Island (or Ynys Enlii – ‘Isle of Currents’) is a small island three miles off the Lleyn Peninsula, North Wales. 1.5 long by .5 mls wide it is today a farm and bird sanctuary. But for a time, in the Middle Ages, it was one of the most significant Christian pilgrimage centres in Europe. Its other name is ‘The Island of 20,000 saints’. The crossing was very hazardous – the currents and seas very fierce. On a wild and windy day I sat looking out at the crashing waves and tried to imagine that the journey of faith. The poem draws on the creation poem at the end Job and on the story of Jesus stilling the storm.