I’m off to Scargill House in Yorkshire this week, for an annual writers’ retreat led by Adrian and Bridget Plass. This poem was written for them, and the metaphor in it is one they often use: a narrow path of grace between the mountains of law and the swamp of licence.
You can find this poem beautifully illustrated by Sharon Kulesa in Drawn From Words. Along with Mandy Baker Johnson, we put this little book together after a creative Lent challenge in 2016. You can see and buy the book here.
On one side, the path of law, a trail
through thirsty rocks, where all who try shall fail
and lose their lives beneath the glowering eye
of desert sun. That way I surely die.
The other side’s inviting: not so harsh,
but leads to sinking sand and muddy marsh
and haunted castles, entered willingly,
then locked. Who takes that path is never free.
The night comes closer. I must make my choice.
But then, what blessed relief – the shepherd’s voice!
His torch is all that shows me to my place:
this narrow beam, the flickering path of grace.