ALL NIGHT LONG
his sword glittered on the altar
like an abandoned road.
He knew the darkness shift around
outside and inside.
His wounds made kneeling
as painful as walking:
he knelt all night long.
For pilgrims (always limping),
strolling, walking, running
are exercises in love, in prayer.
High on her golden throne the dark lady
smiled and did not smile.
Her majestic child raised his hands to bless
all night long
whatever the soldier had to offer.
Outside the mountain glittered
like a serrated sword.
At dawn the sun was red
with the blood of his friends following
the way that was and was not his own,
and the chanted music moved
like a journey
uphill and downhill all night long.
Stripped of possessions and home,
a pilgrim can only travel light.
Grace and a pilgrim’s staff take your weight.
Andrew Bullen SJ
Ignatius the Pilgrim – Poems for Prayer, 2013