The Friends' & Parish Pilgrimage October 2013


kirkdale compositions



The Friends' & Parish Pilgrimage October 2013

Published in the Benefice Magazine 2014 (SAJB)

When that October with his showers so wet

was nigh half done, as pilgrims forth we set.

From Kirkdale up to Lindisfarne our road -

not walking, but in comfy cars well stowed.

We stopped but once - in Jarrow - there to feed

and pay respects to Venerable Bede.

Good time we kept - for, had we come too late,

tidal immersion would have been our fate.

But safe in Marygate we settled, while

the tide turned Lindisfarne into an isle.

Good cheer prevailed. Snug were our beds; our fare

fit for restoring a pilgrim's wear and tear.

Some rose from sleep at unaccustomed hours

to see the sun rise (or get first to showers);

some were in church soon after crack of dawn

and hungry home to breakfast came, reborn.

Through talks we sat, on Cuthbert's deals with God;

and we too walked the sea-bed, all dry-shod!

Some to the tavern wended of a night -

but with the Vicar present, all was right.

And Cuthbert's friends we met - the curious seals,

unfearing eiderducks and trusting teals.

From Bebbanburh we viewed Farne's fearsome rocks

and tales we heard from Bede, of Cuthbert's socks;

and saw the beam spared burning (so we'd read)

because it pillowed dying Aidan's head.

Quaint tales, no doubt, and some that raised a laugh -

and yet ... tales telling of Man's better half?

(For timely meditations gently led

to deeper thoughts in thoughtful pilgrim's head).

And over all the sun shone down benign

(except when it didn't) - for sure, a heavenly sign.

The charismatic Island worked its spell:

we trod, we knew, where saintly footsteps fell

of Aidan, Cuthbert, Bede and many more,

while endless tides and ages washed its shore.

And so, through Chester on the Street, in rain,

to Durham - where the sun shone bright again.

And there, with "folk from every shirës ende",

we stood and thanked V. Bede as a new Friend.

True pilgrims now, maybe with moistened eyes

we came at last to where good Cuthbert lies:

And - surely filled with friendship, love and charity -

wild flowers we laid, with all solemnity.

And there - on that (alas) imperfect rhyme -

our pilgrimage was done. So ... back through time,

back to the daily round, the common task.

But say! Who fixed all this? we hear you ask.

The names of those who led shall not be hid:

the one was Andrew, and the other Sid.