walkway with old stone walls

      Caprio on the Francigena (Photo – Kathabela Wilson)


      Hosted by Kathabela Wilson

      Some years ago my Caltech professor husband Rick Wilson and I traveled to Tuscany, and stayed at a beautiful 15th century home, restored by a dear friend and mathematician from the UK. We found ourselves walking along the Francigena, in the small village of Caprio. We slept in a beautiful low-ceilinged stone room where the cow had long ago been kept! Now we journey in great company with Susana Porras and Giselle Maya.

      this camino this life —
      we travel with our hearts

      ~ Kathabela

      Ο Ο Ο

      A man walking alone on a deserted dirt road

      Dad on Camino (Photo – Susana Porras)

      Susana Porras

      Traveling the Camino de Santiago with my 73-year-old father was a life-changing journey filled with awe-inspiring scenery, spiritual awakening, and lots of café con leche. Come with us as we travel physically, spiritually, and historically along this 500-mile Camino, through France to Spain. Take in the scenery, learn about its 1,000-year history of clerics and kings, and of course, don’t forget to stop and savor the tortillas.” Susana documented their journey by writing sonnets each day on this 39 day journey, and compiled them in her book “To Compostela and Beyond! A Poet’s Chronicle of the Camino de Santiago”.

      Sonnet 31 Way to Villafranca Del Bierzo

      The region’s cherry season at its peak,
      Each branch drooping from the weight of its fruit.
      We pick some for a taste of the unique
      And sneak off to enjoy our tasty loot!

      On the hill, the Castle of the Templars
      With imposing stone walls and watch towers.
      An order whose life calling is stellar
      And has unparalleled earthly powers.

      Touring the castle grounds sets us off course
      And we are warned of an impending storm
      That threatens to hit the region with force.
      The skies slowly darken and grey clouds form.

      We arrive late into the evening hours
      To a quaint village under rain showers.

      Ο Ο Ο

      a woman wiyth a hat surrounded by vegetation

      Giselle Maya in her Garden
      St. Martin de Castillons, France (Photo courtesy of author)

      Giselle Maya and Kathabela Wilson

      Tree of Life

      tree of life
      her lichen rain-drenched
      limbs anchored
      wounded and recovered
      after a thunderstorm

      strong roots wrap
      around themselves
      arms weave
      threads of light
      a canopy of stars

      sycamore trees
      planted long ago by the road
      to Manosque
      the path wayfarers used
      to get from Rome to France

      in the village of Caprio
      our sleepwalk footsteps
      on the Francigena
      fill the cracks
      between old stones

      signs of autumn
      the pond reflects the moon
      water’s memory
      along the narrow path home
      grasses whisper

      gold-leafed the dream
      in the breezeway between days
      moss-green this bed
      where pilgrims stop
      to hold hands in their sleep


      a woman and a man standing at a tourist area

      Dad and I, Santiago (Photo courtesy of author)

      Traveling Together: Quotes and Credits

      Susana Porras is a poet, travel enthusiast, and community organizer. In 2010, she was named one of The Magazine’s 50 Women of Influence for her dedication to effecting innovative ways of rebuilding neighborhoods in her hometown of Pasadena, California.
      Susana has traveled extensively throughout Europe and Central America, putting down roots in both the South of France and Guatemala. She is fluent in both French and Spanish.
      Susana earned her M.A. in sociology and a second B.A. in French at California State University–Los Angeles. Her love of learning has given her an appetite for cultural appreciation and an understanding of social nuances, creating a lifelong traveler and chronicler of adventures both at home and abroad.
      After her journey along the Camino through France to Spain, she concludes her book of sonnets, To Compostela and Beyond! A Poet’s Chronicle of the Camino de Santiago, with a…“Thank you
      Hearing the gratitude and appreciation in my father’s voice as we disembarked at LAX brought tears to my eyes. In that quiet moment, I realized the gift I had been given: a father-daughter bond stronger than either of us could have imagined, forged during this life changing adventure along the Camino, through resilience, perseverance, and love.”

      Giselle Maya lives in St. Martin de Castillon, in the Provence area of France, a land of caminos not far from The Via Domita. She says: “This ancient road was built around 118 B.C. to connect Italia to Hispania across Southern France. Already the road had been used for centuries, repaved when necessary, with traces of a mythic route traveled by Heracles. These routes have several ‘arms,’ one of which goes through Apt-en-Provence, and through the valley just below the house in the village where I live. I can see it from my window.”
      Giselle Maya is a painter, poet and gardener who has lived in Provence for almost 30 years, tending a piece of land with a spring, organizing exhibits of abstract art work in chapels and writing haiku, tanka, haibun, tanka prose, published in the journals Ribbons, CHO, Haibun Today, Lynx, Kokako, Skylark, the Tanka Journal, and Gusts. She has studied Chado, the Japanese tea ceremony in Kyoto, Literature at Sophia University in Tokyo and has published several books, among which are the Tao of Water, Poem Tales, Garden Mandala, Anemones, Treewhispers, Shizuka and Cicada Chant.

      Kathabela says: “Giselle and I have combined here our experience to travel the pilgrim’s path in our poems, finding there, The Tree of Life! Our poem is a tanka sequence (five-line lyrical, emotional, linked verse, responding to one another from our own experiences.”

      Memory Lane
      > See our previous Salon: Finding a Way Through

      Submission Guidelines

      Suggest your own theme. or write Kathabela for a theme suggestion. We publish every two weeks. Send short poems, free verse, haiku, senryu, tanka, cherita, haibun, tanka prose, short prose poems, etc., or your own unique approach, to Kathabela by text message or (click here to email her directly). We can feature your work again after five months. Multiple Submissions can be saved to appear later:

      1. Send a short bio, with comments on your theme.
      2. Send photos or artwork by you, or friends.
      3. Put your poems directly in the email.
      4. No attachments except photos.
      End of article

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        • Kathabela Wilson

          Kathabela Wilson is a local poet/writer/artist and musician. Her Poets Salon has become an international respected must read in the poetry world. She's the creator and host of the Pasadena-based group, “Poets on Site.”

          Colorado Boulevard is your place for enlightening events, informative news and social living for the greater Pasadena area.
          We strive to inform, educate, and work together to make a better world for all of us, locally and globally.

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      1. Giselle M a y a says:

        an excellent idea Kath Abela, well-presented, it allows the land here to be shared in poetry; i go to my garden almost daily to tend the plants – many of them shall be covered for winter; first we rake poplar & walnut leaves fallen to the ground into a pile.
        the dahlia stems now frosted are cut to about10-20 cm, i hoe around the root area, add some compost, ‘voile d’ hivernage’ (a white cloth held in place with field stones while the cold weather lasts. Merci for posting our tanka sequence here.

      2. Marlene Hitt says:

        Lovely to keep in touch. I miss you.

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