The Walking Stick (V1)

The Walking Stick,

Abandoned, resting gently against white-washed stone,
perhaps forgotten in over-busy haste to leave the sacred space,
the walking stick, it’s warn wood moulded to a hand by constant use,
Once an aid in it’s owners lonely pilgrimage,
to a shrine of healing to ease their aches, their pains,
their heartaches,
Has it been left in grateful gift, unneeded,
A humble offering for unhumble miracle.

Outside it’s grey-brick shelter, the calls of bird and insect,
Filling holy silence with endless music,
The ancient trees still in the spring sun, the life chorus swirling in fun and desire,
Does the stick long for former days?
Hand-clasped upon it, stiff weight held by it’s noble strength,
When it too walked in the holy spaces, use not ornament.

What stories has this stick to tell of glories gone and days long past,
Of summers when it’s wood was young and it’s sap flowed,
What tales of lovers seeking shade, what news of travellers in the night?
Was it’s branch a place of birth or a place to hold a rope,
What journeys can it share of those foreign climes,
Or the joys of simple journeys enabled,
Of curious children, watching and playing, wondering at it’s owner,
Was the stick partner, slave or master?
Did it punish as well as aid, an item of fear and loathing, causing welts and rifts?

Cobweb-dust catch fine feather and adorn the simple stick, it’s own pilgrim crown,
Resting here amongst the final rest of pilgrim, saint and sinner,
Travelling with them in endless call to journey onwards, until the final end,
Where there is grateful rest and peace at last.

Rest now, gentle stick, your burden gone.
Rest now and hear the heavenly music, listen to the rhythm of prayer and praise,
Know your work is done, your past forgotten, and healed in it’s forgetting.

Phil Bettinson, following a visit to pennant melangell, 21/05/2014