Pilgrimage is a universal phenomenon. Found in all religious traditions of the world. Patti Smith, the legendary musician and person of great spirit, has written a book that offers a bird’s eye view of the interior pilgrimage of the mind. M Train initially intrigued me when I read a quote about Smith’s love of cafes and saw an amazing video performance of “People Have the Power” in Rome. I am struck by the purity of Smith’s thoughts, the power of simplicity she inhabits, and the joyful gravitas she exudes. I hear in her lyrics the prophet Isaiah:
Vengeful aspects became suspect
and bending low as if to hear
and the armies ceased advancing
because the people had their ear
and the shepherds and the soldiers
lay beneath the stars
and laying arms
to waste / in the dust
in the form of / shining valleys
where the pure air / recognized
and my senses / newly opened
I awakened / to the cry . . .
The people have the power . . . to wrestle the world from fools.
[People Have the Power, 1988, “Dream of Life,” Patti Smith & Fred Sonic Smith]
A needed balm in a world of woe.
In M Train she writes: “If I got lost along the way I had a compass that I had found embedded in a pile of wet leaves I was kicking my way through. The compass was old and rusted but it still worked, connecting the earth and stars. It told me where I was standing and which way was west but not where I was going and nothing of my worth.”
― Patti Smith
How about you? Readings on pilgrimage to recommend?