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The wounded pilgrim The wounded pilgrim
by Abigail George
2010-10-10 10:07:21
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When I was a child I was afraid
To speak to strangers; even then
I felt estranged from the human
Race, sought solace, a rare comfort

In books and in between the neutral
Spaces of the black letters of the
Alphabet that spread itself across
The pages I sought transition from

Childhood to puberty; a word I am
Still not very fond of; it meant growing
Up behind closed doors, shutting out
Dark voices; sensing there were no

Clouds with silver linings only
Cries of thunderstorms and lightning
Streaking across the sky in the night air
I was a good girl done badly by

Not as bad as some yet still locked
Inside a box with doll parts and the
Garden of a blank canvas perfumed
With the bright, still air of reality

Children can only be fragile warriors
But the canvas was uplifting and the words
Could all fit, musings, brick by brick?
The sun on its belly ripening even more

Poetry with keys, something absurdly
Supernatural in effect like the holier ark
Trailing behind the titan machine of my
Consciousness; sometimes the story

Begins at the end with no middle or
Beginning; sometimes not at all but it has
Educated me on so many things that blood
Is thicker than water and that families

Are not pulled out of the air for nothing
They exist to terrorise you, to bully you,
To grow you up into a worthy citizen or not
For the reasons that you think.


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David Barger2010-10-10 13:56:19
Very powerful piece here. "In books and in between the neutral
Spaces of the black letters of the
Alphabet" is a fantastic line. The visuals are solid. Thanks for the read!

Emanuel Paparella2010-10-10 16:12:05
This is quite a powerfully evocative poem. Especially powerful is the archetype of the journey and of the wounded pilgrim on a journey searching for somethin continually eduding her/him.

It immediately brought me back to another wounded pilgrim on a famous existential journey: Dante. Indeed, the journey often does not begin at the beginning. We can place ourselves on any part of the hermeneutical circle and begin our narration there in a Vichian mode in the mode of Joyce’s Ulysses which owes much to Vico. On the other end we can begin in the mode of Michelangelo who begins in the middle with the drunkenness of Noah. Most pilgrims on a journey who come to admire the Sistine Chapel in Rome enter it and begin from what is immediately on top of them: the creation of light by God. In reality they have begun at the wrong end. The journey begins right here and now within the human condition with oneself; hence properly speaking it begins with the degradation of the body and the oblivion of the important things of life in the oblivion of wine in the darkness of a cave and the distortion of the light in language; hence the drunkenness of Noah. But no matter where one begins the journey, on the hermeneutical circl in the beginning there is the end and in the end there is the beginning and the message is as important as the journey and the journey as important as the destination. The silver lining here is that the journey is not a Nietzschean eternal return but while being circular it has also a purpose and a goal (what the Greeks called “telos”). The purpose seems to be a return to that garden of delights we misguidedly left behind in our arrogance and hubris. At the end of our pelegrination we shall arrive where we began the journey and know the place for the first time, as Eliot put it.

Hence the symbol of that journey ought to be the spiral more than the circle. Funny that the building blocks of life, our DNA is shaped like a spiral. Perhaps the whole universe is a manifestation of the thoughts and the symbols of God which in our intellectual cultural destitution we are no longer able to grasp. Perhaps we ought to re-read St. Francis’ Canticle of Creatures and Jung’s Modern Man in Search of a Soul. Perhaps we ought to stop even the frantic search and just begin the journey as a wounded pilgrim. Well written, Abigail.

Abigail George2010-10-11 00:05:08
Thank you David and Professor
Paparella. Your kind words have humbled me infinitely. I am always in awe of readers who respond to my work. It is always a great honour and a priviledge to know that you have touched someone's life, their heart, their understanding of the world around them.

I try not to have too many great expectations of its - my work's exposure. I am only continuously in search of God and His place in this bold, modern, materialistic world, the essence of my soul, ties that bind us to eternity with delicate love-knots. Even the universe is a poem, I was told. Isn't everything a poem; surfaces, floods, human bodies, flight and haven't we all been wounded pilgrims at some point in our lives: in childhood, the growing pains of teenage years, youth, adolescence, adulthood. Words are burdened with the weight of the world on them as is the head space, the physical body of every wounded pilgrim.

Lowery2010-10-11 02:16:00
I will not even try to follow Emanuel's words, which say enough to silence one with his meaningful comment. But so as not to fall back into complete silence, the poem centers - to me at least - on the very poignant line, "Children can only be fragile warriors," which took my breath away when reading it. As for everything else the words evoke, I'll conveniently concur with Emanuel and, of course, offer humble thanks to Ms. George for her sadly beautiful piece.

Abigail George2010-10-11 19:45:43
Within the sometimes blurred, Dadaist realities and surreal worlds of poetry, poets and their readers we find love harvested extravagantly and life valiantly and victoriously. As the poet touches the world, God touches the soul within, the sun within, the ghost of the moon above emblazoned with stars. As the words of the poem, its text, to me exist only to remain shelved into the pages of history, become as ancient as a fossil to touch the world for aeons to come. As a poet I watch the words, these letters divinely wrought and then finally wedlocked to the consciousness of an apt audience 'journey gently', 'river wide' - then finally are the tides of the the poet's dreams completely and utterly annihilated and he/she begins her fate from all over again. David, Emanuel, Lowery you have all been so generous; a gift to the giver.

I loved reading your all your comments. Engaging with your reader is the first priority for a writer and a poet. It not only means that I am growing as a poet, it means you are growing too. It means I, as a poet have in some magnificent, botanical way matured.

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