Caminho de Tiago Day 5

Today was our most arduous walk so far, and also the one through the most beautiful environments, from Ponte de Lima to the tiny town of Paredes de Coura, where we are staying in the lovely Casa da Capela.

‘Should we pick up that sock?’ you said
and picked up a sock with a yellow
plastic peg attached. ‘Someone
will be looking for it.’
An hour and four K later
we met a young woman going the other way
and while I was thinking she looked too young
and un-Portuguese to be going to Fatima,
you called, ‘Are you looking for a sock?’
“You are my angel,’ she said.


We hear the young lycra-men on bikes
from half a K away, even noisier than
the young Italian women back in town.


Those who would venture to walk
on the Caminho,
let them do more than just talk
over their vino.
They need to buy good shoes,
they need to pick and choose
walking poles that let them cruise
when they are pilgrims.

5 responses to “Caminho de Tiago Day 5

  1. Further to yesterday and your reply to me first: (a) So all the women in Australia knitting and crocheting red poppies are sisters to that Carnation Revolution. I visited the War Memorial in Canberra last year – noisy with what a friend described as Disneyfication – of an exhibition on Special Forces – a mess of an exhibit in any case – no coherence (I was with a friend whose father formally established the Special Forces in the 1950s – building on WWII Pacific roots) but made worse by the sounds of tanks driving over the top of us and fake smoke. A clip of the Monash Centre at Villers-Bretonneux showed something similar – smoke curling up from the floor – “making it real!” I presume. Better Penny’s hearts – and red flowers all over – rosemary in clumps by the door as well. Lest We Forget. Indeed. (b) I was on the 88-temple pilgrimage – descending from a temple at 1,000 metres – ice crystals in the soil – to a point by the seaside (Seto Inland Sea) having difficulty with my staff – worrying into a blister the inside of my hand – so I had wrapped a hand towel or two around the top of the staff to provide some protection. At some point I paused to take a photo down towards the sea – then continued on. Maybe a couple of kms – all down, down. Then I noticed – one of my precious hand-towels – gone. It had slipped off without my noticing. And I could not face the long climb back up. I resigned myself to its loss. About ten minutes later – one of the many angels of the way (the title of my Diary – later) came roaring along from behind me on a little motor bike – waving THE TOWEL. Is this yours? he enquired. And yes – my own grateful blessings went to him. I had quite forgotten that – till your story of the sock! Gracias! >


  2. I’m enjoying your (sometime) verse pilgrimage. Extra kudos points to you for setting that last poem to the tune of the hymn “He who would valiant be” (despite the typo in the next-to-last line – I used to proofread for a living and even then I didn’t spot it until the second time through…) (unless it was deliberate. You poets have a way with words.)


  3. Loovely blog you have here


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