Malcolm Guite with pilgrimage poems for the first week of Lent

 

At his blog the poet Malcolm Guite features a suite of poems on pilgrimage, one for each day of the first week of Lent:

In this first week in Lent my anthology Word in the Wilderness introduces poems about pilgrimage itself and our life as pilgrimage. We will reflect on maps and mapping, on how outer journeys and inner ones are linked, on what it is we learn from the landscapes through which we walk. 

Among familiar poems such as Walter Raleigh’s Passionate Man’s Pilgrimage, there are ones unknown to me. I especially liked Holly Ordway’s “Maps”. I was particularly struck by the line on the egocentricity of GPS (and by extension Google Maps etc.):

Antique maps, with curlicues of ink
As borders, framing what we know, like pages
From a book of traveler’s tales: look,
Here in the margin, tiny ships at sail.
No-nonsense maps from family trips: each state
Traced out in colour-coded numbered highways,
A web of roads with labeled city dots
Punctuating the route and its slow stories.
Now GPS puts me right at the centre,
A Ptolemaic shift in my perspective.
Pinned where I am, right now, somewhere, I turn
And turn to orient myself. I have
Directions calculated, maps at hand:
Hopelessly lost till I look up at last.

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