To Be A Pilgrim – a poem by Tony Lucas

To Be A Pilgrim

Follow the dreamers, vagabonds,
the tourists and the true believers,
idly curious, always aware
your journey’s end may well
reveal a little less than
you were hoping to discover

– only a smallish hill,
worn stones, the trickling spring
filling a fern-hung basin,
buildings that enshrine
successive failures to contain
the dream in fluted stone.

The girl with Indian plaits
strums a guitar, cross-legged
on the grass. Unshaved,
a man with hungry eyes
gulps down the holy water
from a plastic cup.

You’re there among the families
with impatient children, groups
who sit in the sunshine talking
of money, music, the best place
for lunch. Once more
the grail has been withheld.

Always another destination;
the miracle will not be
any sudden healing at the waters,
or the touch of holy bones;
only persistence of elusive hope,
the appetite for journey.

Tony Lucas lives in London, south of the river. Stride published some of his early work, and he was a regular contributor to Ambit for a good number of years, among other magazines.  His latest collection, Unsettled Accounts, was published by Stairwell Books, two years ago.

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