The Pilgrim Way


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.


Elaine Soerens, 2011

Challenge was “Poem about Pilgrims.”  I chose the blank verse form.


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