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An Epiphany Poem

For Those Who Have Far to Travel



If you could see the journey whole


you might never undertake it;


might never dare the first step


that propels you


from the place you have known


toward the place you know not.



Call it one of the mercies of the road:


that we see it only by stages


as it opens before us,


as it comes into our keeping


step by single step.



There is nothing for it but to go


and by our going take the vows


the pilgrim takes:


     to be faithful to the next step; 


     to rely on more than the map;


     to heed the signposts of intuition and dream;


     to follow the star that only you will recognize;


     to keep an open eye for the wonders that


     attend the path;


     to press on beyond distractions


          beyond fatigue


          beyond what would tempt you from the way.



There are vows that only you will know;


the secret promises for your particular path


and the new ones you will need to make


when the road is revealed by turns


you could not have foreseen.



Keep them, break them, make them again:


each promise becomes part of the path;


each choice creates the road


that will take you to the place


where at last you will kneel to offer the gift


most needed— the gift that only you can give—


before turning to go home by another way.



~Jan Richardson




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