the soft crunch
trod upon dead wood
an autumn wind
pins flaming waves of leaves
against ancient marble and stone

there is a reverence to this place
under steel grey clouds
the horizon speaks
of the hazy phantoms
of distant snow-covered peaks

A carrion bird barks
amid the tangled oaks
beyond this hallowed circle
where my pilgrim feet
have come to rest in exhaustion

My gnarled walking stick
slips within my grip
as I collapse to my knees
and my burden sloughs from
shoulders constructed in pain and duty

I carry no sword
or shield to this place
I have lain aside my armor
for it does me no good here
I have made this journey so many times

I know what is to come
I know when I bend my forehead
to the rich loamy soil and breathe
the first words of prayer that flow
past my lips will never reach their ears

It will not be the first words
It will not be the second
nor the fifth, nor the twenty thousandth
It will be the ones that come
when I have no air left to form them

When I have prayed my throat raw

Only then
when I am gasping for life
when I am clutching at my sides
when I am blinking back tears
will my words finally reach their realm

When my head is drenched in sweat
and my hands tremble
as I push myself back
to sit upon my folded feet
and my chest is a heaving engine

Then they will speak to me once more

These Goddesses of my Soul

I look upon them arrayed in their semicircle
their frozen effigies do not translate the creatures I know them to be
their hollow eyes do not convey
the warm-blooded emotions they have shown me
nor their hands the touch of compassion that heals me

Courage, with her armor, sword raised to the heavens
Fate, with her furrowed brow and fiery spirit, hammer against her thigh
Karma, with her hand on her heart and the other in her hair
Grace, with her arms extended to her sides, her leg forward to execute a pirouette
Hope, with laurels in her hair and her right hand raised bearing a torch
Mercy, on bended knee, both hands reaching out in welcoming embrace, her eyes closed

and in the center of them all

The Queen of Hearts

She stands looking forward
always into the East
so that the rising sun sets her crown aflame
Right foot forward, both hands at rest upon her shield
planted firmly into the ground at her feet

Upon the face of this shield
all the names my soul has been called
over the ages of time
are written
in all the languages it has spoken

I will read them one by one
and I will remember who I am
who I was
and who I am yet to be



About Eric

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14 Responses to Pilgrimage…

  1. Rita says:

    Oh, Bro. This is fabulous ❤️

  2. Bloody hell! This is quite incredible! I had to re-read it because I really began to think it was a quoted poem from someone who wrote 200 years ago. How do you put so much DEPTH and passion into your writing and maintain this other-worldly, other-era feel about your work as well as conveying the purpose and story? That’s a lot at once and you achieve it. I read this personally, as a knight who vowed to protect and live by his honor and then explains what that is and how he achieves it, coming to the center which is his heart and beloved, and how he holds everything up with the strength of his belief and goodness inspired by his creed as Knight. If I am right then this BLOWS MY MIND because it’s like you took everything I read last night and set fire to it and created another world out of the ashes. Good grief Eric, when you do it you do it SO WELL it’s unreal good, the kind that makes us other poets put down our quills and just open mouthed stare. Yep. Who does that? Who does that? You do. YOU DO.

    • Eric says:

      Oh My Candice! It is immeasurable who fully you fill my heart when you respond like this to something I’ve written.

      Yes, it is very much like you describe. This is a piece I hope to put as an Epilogue to my book when I get it finished.

      I’m so very glad that you enjoyed it and that you gain as much as you do from it. I love your brilliant mind and your warm heart.

      Thank you, Warrioress, for always being here.

  3. Meg Sorick says:

    Gorgeous! Sir Eric, this is magnificent! ❤️

  4. Emily says:

    Powerful piece, my friend. Eloquently scribed. ❤

  5. Eric says:

    Thank you, Beautiful! ❤

  6. So much has already been said… but Eric, the way you write – it breathes, it surrounds and it transplants us to the very place you take us. My eyes don’t just read your words, my ears can hear the sounds and my skin can feel. I do believe my own hair warmed as I read “so that the rising sun sets her crown aflame” Your writing is such a sensory experience. I am thankful you are you and that I get the privilege to read you. Gosh how I missed this type of movement in my soul.

    • Eric says:

      FXC! I swear there are so many amazing compliments in here I don’t know how to address them all. So I will say a humble thank you..and I appreciate it reaches you as I intended. When poetry evokes this response it has done it’s job. Good day to you! 🙂

  7. Reblogged this on Brave and Reckless and commented:
    Beautiful writing from Eric at My Sword and Shield….

  8. so beautifully reverent and evocative

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