by Andrew Bullen SJ


Wherever Pamplona is:

you mistake the enemy

and over trust your own boldness,

flourish an outdated flag

for the last time and with style:

you’re on the defensive.

The yells and roar and fire

are a dazzling confusion:

then the long quiet proclaims defeat.

Pain tells the soldier his leg

is turned to a mess of blood

the wound will heal all his life.

Call this Pamplona.

Pamplona is whatever

wrenches failure into blessing.

It is the end of noise

and can happen anywhere.

Whenever fame goes – and style goes –

and you’re useless is Pamplona.

Only later will it announce

a new way of being history.

Pamplona is the lifelong beginning

of the journey into silence.


Bullen SJ, Andrew Ignatius the Pilgrim: Poems and Prayers, 2013