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The Road Seen and Not Seen

The inspiration for this poem came from poet, David Whyte's, niece who walked the ancient 'Camino de Santiago', a trail that spans from St. Pierre du Pont in France, across northern Spain to Finisterre (translated as 'the end of the earth, where earth meets the sea').

Each year thousands walk this trail for an extended experience of contemplation, prayer, and inspiration. The metaphor of a journey is every person's life story. Below you will find an excerpt of the poem. It is a special treat to hear David read the entire poem.


by David Whyte

The road seen, then not seen, the hillside

hiding then revealing the way you should take,

the road dropping away from you as if leaving you

to walk on thin air, then catching you, holding you up,

when you thought you would fall – and the way forward

always in the end, the way that you came, the way

that you followed, that carried you into your future,

that brought you to this place, no matter that

it sometimes had to take your promise from you,

no matter that it always had to break your heart

along the way: the sense of having walked

from far inside yourself out into the revelation,

to have risked yourself for something that seemed

to stand both inside you and far beyond you,

that called you back in the end to the only road

you could follow, walking as you did, in your rags of love…

Excerpt from the poem, “Santiago”

From Pilgrim: Poems by David Whyte

©2012 David Whyte

= Picture of a hillside in Wilmington, Vermont, taken October 2, 2020.

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