The Pilgrim Way

I’ve already posted this on my poetry blog, but as it expresses my heart and philosophy I am publishing it here as well. This was my first attempt at the “blank verse” poetry form.

In writing her last will and testament
she deeded cherished silver to her sons.
Her mother’s sewing—needlework so fine—
her daughters should receive, and would, with thanks.
Still, none of them would fully comprehend
what tales those precious heirlooms might relate
if they could speak of their long journey here.

When first she chose what she should pack, she hoped
those trunks would carry all her valuables.
Did she lament the things she could not take
with her aboard her ship, the Mayflower?
Or count that loss surpassed by her great gain
when four weeks hence her feet touched New World soil?
At last there she could freely worship God,
and pray without restriction or reproach.

“The breaking waves dashed high,” one Pilgrim wrote
about the wild New England coast. The folks
who lived to tell of ruthless seas they sailed,
then set about assembling tools and plans,
cleared trees for farms and from that wood, built homes,
and laid foundations for our liberty.

We are not nomads here but pilgrims too,
while on our way to New Jerusalem.
We too face heavy storms and breaking waves
before we stand at last on that bright shore.
We wonder as we contemplate our lives;
our time here on this dry and weary land
is nearly gone. Will what we leave behind
submit itself to parchment and the pen?

Oh, may the faith of daughters and of sons
make glad our hearts! Our earthly riches pale
and fall away as we respond to Him
Whose presence lends us strength to persevere.
The glory we shall share when comes that day
we see true wealth stored up for us who left
our fortune in the lives of those we touched—
a legacy of gratitude and grace.

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