Pilgrim Poems

If not now, when?


Rose NilesSacred commuting
I am about to do a new thing; now it springs forth, do you not perceive it? —Isaiah 43:19

by Rose Niles

In our ancient dream
Let’s make spirit space where
Way stations happen
As hospitality
Incubators, where
Birth new things to
Be characteristically
Eager for Godly

In continuous patterns
Like trains pulling into
The station
Drop off
Pick up
Then pull on out as something new

Let there be no fare
No pay as you go
Just come as you are and get
On board
Switch trains as needed
Make platform meet ups
Holy joy centers
First aid stations to help mourners,
To bless fecund continuities
and surrender
Verisimilitudes of former passions
As needed

To complement our
Beloved continuities
We’ll covenant anew,
Map and sign
Clearly mark
The ways in
Gathering points
dance sanctuaries
Justice-kissing-mercy balls

We’ll walk and sing labyrinths
Walk the dark tunnels together
Turn ordinary things to strangeness in beauty
Like national park rangers
Assiduously marking train lines for
Those who never
Made it in before
Keep scissors handy
cut lots of red ribbon
declare ourselves open
Free of charge
And be true,
Celebrate the vastness of God
Around sanctified maypole
Train lines, as we
Weave the black brown yellow red white
Striped and spotted
Plaid and kente
Declaration of holy journeys
In kairos time

Let’s courageously show up
Get on board
For Gods new . . .

Baptized, reared, and ordained a ruling elder in the Bronx at the age of fourteen, Rose Niles has served the church as a teaching elder, pastor, and supporter of theological education. Rose is bi-racial, a daughter of immigrant parents, a mother of one phenomenal woman, and a lifelong pilgrim. Amazed, she finds herself in Houston, Texas, serving Austin Presbyterian Theological Seminary on this leg of the pilgrim journey. You can read more of her poems here.