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St. Cuthbert’s Way: A Poem from a Spectrum Pilgrim

The trail along St. Cuthbert's Way

This poem was inspired by the weeklong walk along 62 miles of St. Cuthbert’s Way that Spectrum readers took together in June. If you’d like to share an idea or get on the early invite list for a pilgrimage and learning adventure for next year, email

St. Cuthbert’s Way

Would you recognize this group of 
Sorry pilgrims, 
Cuthbert dear, 
If you could see us
Could have seen us
in a vision, perhaps?

Megagrip traction trail runners
Microfiber shirts
Ultralite trekking poles
Apps to identify the skylarks and finches,
Or post selfies with a statue of you.

Yet we see what you saw
Feel what you must have:
Round Roman stones like giant loaves of bread beneath our soles,
A kestrel hovering high above us on the wild winds of the moors,
Mute swans on the River Tweed,
Lambs safely grazing,
Lindisfarne floating in the mist
as we crest one final hill.

And like you, perhaps, we wish
We could walk on water
But have to wait
For the North Sea to withdraw,
The tide to ebb

Before stepping out
To cross the tidal sands
Sliding suddenly sideways, then
Pulling our feet from the grip of the mud, and
Picking our way among tiny scallop shells.

Then, like you, we sigh:
Warm waters bathe our aching feet
As we follow the ancient path of poles
Marking the way to Holy Island.


Nancy Hoyt Lecourt, PhD, is a professor of English, academic dean, and vice president emerita at Pacific Union College, where she served for forty years. She has recently retired to her garden in Angwin, California.

Title image by Spectrum.

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