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This poem is taken from PN Review 75, Volume 17 Number 1, September - October 1990.

Dedication to a Poem in Progress on the Pilgrim Routes to Santiago de Compostella John Matthias

This is for my daughter, who
in the middle of the map I try to draw, this making,
struggles to a Compostella of her own

in pain & torment. What did I do wrong? she asks.
What did I do wrong
to suffer this
? - The primal, secret, terrified & universal

query of the sick. She did nothing wrong.
And yet she walks in chains
along a Lemosina or a Tolosona Dolorosa

winding through uncertainty & grief
to disappear into unknowable remote far distances.
She walks ahead of me, doubting that

I follow, although I call out loudly & I try.
But also, when she herself must rest, unable to go on,
at hospital or hospice on the way, then

I'll learn to wait, a patient too, without impatience.
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