COMPASSIONATE SONOMA

"The creative spirit and the compassionate spirit are not things apart but kindred responses to life." 

MARY TUTHILL LINDHEIM

The Labyrinth at Trinity Episcopal Church

By Chris Giovacchini

The labyrinth is a spiral clockwork
Pilgrimage to the holy land, to the vortex,
The dream body is the vehicle of the soul.
Step by step, one follows the map,
To a place where miracles once happened,
The symbolic route,  a matrix.


Walking, in meditation, you return,
As the homesick go home.

 The path of this 13th century facsimile,
In the churchyard, is marked with creek stones,
Within a circular spire of Sequoia sempervirens.
Something sacred takes your hand
And walks with you.

  A perennial pilgrim; I have traveled to Assisi, Jerusalem, Bethlehem,

  Nazareth, camped along the Dead Sea, swam in the Galilee.
  lived in the Jordan River Valley, walked to Campostela,
  wept in Fatima, stood transfixed at Saint Peters, took healing
  earth from a  hole at the Chimayo’ , and confessed in Medjugorja.
  Yet, I return to this labyrinth, walking in circles,
  To pan for braille murmurings from the Most High.

The labyrinth is receptor and transmitter, vehicle and way station,
Ingested you travel along entrails, become a part of its movement,
Its mechanism.  You hope, as every pilgrim hopes, fear as every
Pilgrim fears, doubt, as every pilgrim doubts, and long, as every
Pilgrim longs,   for   some   insight,   a sign.

As you spiral out, you reflect back on vague insights gleaned.
Sunburned smiles of the Camino, spontaneous fears at Fatima, friends you want to forgive, the haunting old loves you pray to let go, contemplation over miles
Of ambulatory penance, the sense that God requires no mediator.

Time eventually mocks your resolve,
Makes a sieve of memory,
Souvenirs eventually fade,
So . . . you return here, as if to a mantra.
To honor sentient existence.
The great mystery,
To offer yourself again,
Upon the altar of the moment,
To the labyrinth.

(Chris Giovacchini was raised in a tri-lingual household in San Francisco, CA.  In 2003 he was presented the “Poet as Community Leader Award” for extraordinary contribution in supporting poetry as a community art in Sonoma.)