The Pilgrimage

the-spirit-of-glendalough

Part I – Darkness

On the little shimmering lake,
I met my demons,
Not by mistake.
An echo of shattering calm,
As fresh water caressed my palm.
Cold on my face,
But new light I embrace.
Along the seeker’s green road,
Emotional baggage I sought to offload.
Encircling a Celtic shrine,
Somehow drawn towards the divine.

Summoned by the mountains’ spirits
During a dream of early summer,
I recall its peak and vibrant colour.
In the valley of the light,
Dreams flow out of the night.
The bitter wind pierces me,
Leaving me cold and exposed.
The winter chill snakes through the hills,
Taking the edge off a visual thrill.
Descending through the valley,
I count the crosses I must carry.
Against nature’s brute force,
I struggle for my own inner source.
A fountain of well-being,
What my dreams are seeing?
An angel to fall out of the sky,
How that would catch my romantic eye.

Up to the cell of Saint Kevin,
Eyes lifted up to heaven.
In this peaceful place,
I felt the presence of God’s grace.
The oak circle draws energy in,
Casting out my pain and sin.
The black lake I visited before,
But with guardians
Who kept me safe and secure.
The blackness left me disturbed,
Imagined depths that were absurd.
But from the Saint’s glade,
The dream’s message was played.
And of this irrational fear,
I now embrace the lake
Like the babe I hold so dear.

On the dark side of the lake,
There was a warmth, a welcome break.
A green enclosure and a cavern bed
For a saint; made to measure.
How the volumnous waters descend
They effortlessly glide down
Every crevice and bend.

Ancient rocks alter the flow.
In winter sun, the crystal waters glow.
In the forest, soft soil lies underfoot,
Autumn colours decorate the route.
Rustic reds, bronze and brown,
Warm the face and disperse a cold frown.
Shades enriched by a moist orange sky,
Colouring the carpet where fallen leaves lie.
On this hallowed ground,
Celtic treasures can be found.
Under this sky,
I keep the dream in my mind’s eye.

In a simple visualisation,
I can add to this creation.
In the darkness of the womb,
My own growth was given room.
A watery existence, one can assume.
In this cavernous domain,
I was warmed not in vain.
But upon the first light ray,
Comes the cold light of day!
This moment of birth,
We sub-consciously carry.
Until we revisit
Our own special valley.
Through the wisdom, this poetry sends,
A deeper message soon transcends.


Part II – Retreat House

As the sun crept across the window,
A ray of gentle light streaked across my page.
As if to animate
The beast in my cage!
That same light hugged the mountains,
Just as water filled up fountains.
The colours of earth illuminated,
Just as my dream illustrated.


Part III – Monastic City

On the mountain slopes, a rich carnival of colour.
Green, purple, yellow, red, orange and brown.
The spectrum of seasons
Project on its daunting incline.
How I will cherish this sweet moment of mine.

To the round tower, lofting skyward
Half dressed in shadow.
Its upper body exposed.
As the sun’s rays sweep across the holy city,
Protecting the graves that many so pity.
Celtic souls rest in its looming shadow.
At peace with themselves.
But of some, their lives I poise to ponder.
A thirty month old infant,
Buried with her elderly mother.
Barely a harvest did that babe grow,
But amongst so many,
Her little soul radiates a magnificent glow.

Part IV – Light

The sun’s rays bring out the blue,
And positive thoughts
That have been too few.
Upon the fast-flowing waters,
An explosion of light.
Winter’s mist shines so bright.
As I ascend the forest,
The Goddess moves through its shadows.
The tree spirits cheerfully whisper
To their descendants in stone.
Including those that children have thrown.
I sit aghast, as light pours on water,
And as water travels down the valley.
Down the old mountain,
To a well,
Or perhaps through a fountain.

At noon,
On the lower lake, blue meets green.
And the demons can now be seen!!

The elegant pines point majestically
Towards the blue sky.
A leafy green surface over which,
Birds only fly.
As I continue my ascent,
The forest’s light show
Luminates my lament.
Light trickles through,
Thoughts and colours imbue.

Back to the lower lake
And a rock for a perch.
Where I can admire
The ‘lady of the forest’, the silver birch.
A tree’s roots pierce the ground,
Like the veins of a wise old woman,
They hold a certain wisdom; profound.
Only when my energies flow,
Can my own spirit
Flourish and grow.

 

Glendalough,
Co. Wicklow,
Ireland.
14th-16th November 1998.

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