Dust we are—atoms from our world
transformed from minerals and chemicals
that swirled in the beginning
to coalesce into our radiant blue planet
our womb and home.
Living here—members of the same material—
separate by volition and movement:
creative spawners of cities to civilisations,
economies to technologies,
miniature images of Creation Genius
we live and move and have our being—a gift.
Striding or wandering
through an earth we cannot comprehend,
two paths appear.
Side by side the pilgrim and the tourist:
work, marry, breathe, grow, die
The tourist walks weighty
to see, be attracted, entertained, impressed
an explorer seeking adventure and titillation,
leaving a litter strewn wake:
debris of consumption and satiation.
Where tourists clump, trash and noise preside—
inhabitants mere local colour.
Selfies, rest stops, souvenirs, tickets
substitute for cooing doves,
early dawn breezes, daily rhythms.
Clattering cases on cobblestones—
spare no space for ponderous silence.
The pilgrim walks gentle
to absorb, listen, smell, taste the awe
of each sacred place and time.
Finding the heart behind the beauty,
grieving history’s futile battles—
with bowed head
leaning into fratricide, oppression,
mountains of injustice
perpetuated by our very selves
in this our very home
on these our very sisters and brothers.
Seldom enhancing the economy—
a choice to not be laden with treasures
—lavishly given or discarded.
The pilgrim walks lightly, reflects deeply,
carries the essential,
guards the path, collects the litter,
brings the blessing, invites peace.
We leave footprints where we walk
it is our choice—
how we walk.
31 July 2021 (revised 9 Nov 2021)