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Poetry about the Camino

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Past OR future Camino
CF 2012, others, hospitalero, resumed VdlP 2022
Some pilgrims sing, but I like to recite verse in my head as I walk, and there's one poem by Christina Rossetti (1830-94) which seems written for the Camino, though it is allegorical and I don't think she ever trod the way. Nevertheless "Uphill" is very appropriate for those of us who are pilgrims and have worried where we are going to rest and sleep tonight. Are there other poems, in English or other languages, which readers can recommend?

Uphill

Does the road wind up-hill all the way?
Yes, to the very end.
Will the day’s journey take the whole long day?
From morn to night, my friend.

But is there for the night a resting-place?
A roof for when the slow dark hours begin.
May not the darkness hide it from my face?
You cannot miss that inn.

Shall I meet other wayfarers at night?
Those who have gone before.
Then must I knock, or call when just in sight?
They will not keep you standing at that door.

Shall I find comfort, travel-sore and weak?
Of labour you shall find the sum.
Will there be beds for me and all who seek?
Yea, beds for all who come.
 
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Bradypus

Migratory hermit
Past OR future Camino
Too many and too often!
It probably says too much about my frivolous and cynical streak that after reading Rosetti's poem my mind immediately shifted to GK Chesterton's "The Rolling English Road" :)

Before the Roman came to Rye or out to Severn strode,
The rolling English drunkard made the rolling English road.
A reeling road, a rolling road, that rambles round the shire,
And after him the parson ran, the sexton and the squire;
A merry road, a mazy road, and such as we did tread
The night we went to Birmingham by way of Beachy Head.

I knew no harm of Bonaparte and plenty of the Squire,
And for to fight the Frenchman I did not much desire;
But I did bash their baggonets because they came arrayed
To straighten out the crooked road an English drunkard made,
Where you and I went down the lane with ale-mugs in our hands,
The night we went to Glastonbury by way of Goodwin Sands.

His sins they were forgiven him; or why do flowers run
Behind him; and the hedges all strengthening in the sun?
The wild thing went from left to right and knew not which was which,
But the wild rose was above him when they found him in the ditch.
God pardon us, nor harden us; we did not see so clear
The night we went to Bannockburn by way of Brighton Pier.

My friends, we will not go again or ape an ancient rage,
Or stretch the folly of our youth to be the shame of age,
But walk with clearer eyes and ears this path that wandereth,
And see undrugged in evening light the decent inn of death;
For there is good news yet to hear and fine things to be seen,
Before we go to Paradise by way of Kensal Green.
 

dick bird

Veteran Member
Past OR future Camino
Plata, Ingles, Madrid, Norte, Primitivo, Invierno, Aragones, Olvidado, Chemin D'Arles
If you look at the thread On the Camino One Day at a Time 9.0, you’ll find several poems I posted there a few weeks back, including both of those . I’ m on the Lana now but when I get back home I’ll try to post a pdf of my full collection + photos to match.
 

Migueldc

Miguel
Past OR future Camino
Frances, 2014
Portugés Coastal from Porto, May 2016
Some pilgrims sing, but I like to recite verse in my head as I walk, and there's one poem by Christina Rossetti (1830-94) which seems written for the Camino, though it is allegorical and I don't think she ever trod the way. Nevertheless "Uphill" is very appropriate for those of us who are pilgrims and have worried where we are going to rest and sleep tonight. Are there other poems, in English or other languages, which readers can recommend?

Uphill

Does the road wind up-hill all the way?
Yes, to the very end.
Will the day’s journey take the whole long day?
From morn to night, my friend.

But is there for the night a resting-place?
A roof for when the slow dark hours begin.
May not the darkness hide it from my face?
You cannot miss that inn.

Shall I meet other wayfarers at night?
Those who have gone before.
Then must I knock, or call when just in sight?
They will not keep you standing at that door.

Shall I find comfort, travel-sore and weak?
Of labour you shall find the sum.
Will there be beds for me and all who seek?
Yea, beds for all who come.
Extracts de Proverbios y cantares (XXIX)

Antonio Machado



Caminante, son tus huellas
el camino y nada más;
Caminante, no hay camino,
se hace camino al andar.
Al andar se hace el camino,
y al volver la vista atrás
se ve la senda que nunca
se ha de volver a pisar.
Caminante no hay camino
sino estelas en la mar.
~~~~~

"Walker, the pathway is
nothing but your footsteps,
Walker, there is no pathway,
The path is made by walking.
You make your path as you walk it,
And as you look back,
You will see the track
that will never be walked again,
Walker there is no path,
only wakes upon the sea.
 
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Mefo Phillips

New Member
Past OR future Camino
Cluny to Le Puy en Velay
Some pilgrims sing, but I like to recite verse in my head as I walk, and there's one poem by Christina Rossetti (1830-94) which seems written for the Camino, though it is allegorical and I don't think she ever trod the way. Nevertheless "Uphill" is very appropriate for those of us who are pilgrims and have worried where we are going to rest and sleep tonight. Are there other poems, in English or other languages, which readers can recommend?

Uphill

Does the road wind up-hill all the way?
Yes, to the very end.
Will the day’s journey take the whole long day?
From morn to night, my friend.

But is there for the night a resting-place?
A roof for when the slow dark hours begin.
May not the darkness hide it from my face?
You cannot miss that inn.

Shall I meet other wayfarers at night?
Those who have gone before.
Then must I knock, or call when just in sight?
They will not keep you standing at that door.

Shall I find comfort, travel-sore and weak?
Of labour you shall find the sum.
Will there be beds for me and all who seek?
Yea, beds for all who come.
Hello, I know the poem well, and it's one of my favourites.

In case you're interested, I'll print below one that I wrote following my pilgrimage to Santiago on my horse from Canterbury Cathedral in 2002, which appears in the book I subsequently wrote:

Faded tracks in long woods,
Muddy intersections
Scrambled, nothing clear
Except a small pebble added to a pile of stones:

There was a pilgrim here.

Those were kaleidoscope days
Painted in oils,
Washed to pale watercolour,
Sun and rain in overlap,

Land and people spilling
Off the IGN map.

Time was just for plotting practicalities
As every earthy day shut down:
No slumping on the sofa,
No slow unwind;

And it's only retrospectively
A journey in the mind.


I'd like to add that a pilgrimage with a horse is, of necessity, full of practicalities(!) but it's true to say that not only were there 'beds for all who come' but also fields, yards, campsites, stables and even on one occasion the shady space under the local bullring where the horses could stay. The hospitality was amazing.

A favourite pilgrim hymn of mine is 'He who would valiant be', words by John Bunyan, which I expect you know.

Buen camino!
Mefo Phillips
 

mspath

Veteran Member
Past OR future Camino
Frances, autumn/winter; 2004, 2005-2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015
Too long and complex to recite but a masterful piece by Walt Whitman, Song of the Open Road. Might all who walk profess as he

"...Afoot and light-hearted I take to the open road,
Healthy, free, the world before me,
The long brown path before me leading wherever I choose."
 
Last edited:
Past OR future Camino
CF 2012, others, hospitalero, resumed VdlP 2022
If you look at the thread On the Camino One Day at a Time 9.0, you’ll find several poems I posted there a few weeks back, including both of those . I’ m on the Lana now but when I get back home I’ll try to post a pdf of my full collection + photos to match.
Looking forward to reading this
 

Scott Sweeney

Active Member
If you look at the thread On the Camino One Day at a Time 9.0, you’ll find several poems I posted there a few weeks back, including both of those . I’ m on the Lana now but when I get back home I’ll try to post a pdf of my full collection + photos to match.
I am a writer and I publish poetry but I never felt it proper for me to combine my poetry and my deep faith, just me....
 

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