Heartland Poems

Pilgrimage — by Anisa Shah

Through hills and valleys we travel,
through these same ups and downs
we change–
our perspectives,
our opinions,
our understanding
of the world,
and these hills and valleys we live in.
Its true history,
its true potential,
discovered, unlocked,
and unleashed through a journey.
Though turmoil may come on this journey,
the outcome of it is life-changing.
It’s amazing how so much
can come out of one journey,
how so much change can occur
through one journey,
through one pilgrimage,
is beyond any expectations.

What This Pilgrimage Meant To Me — by Anisa Shah

This pilgrimage
opened my eyes to the world around me.
It showed me what
had been so plain in sight
but missed by my eyes,
which were playing tricks on me.
“Everything’s all right”
“Everything’s just fine.”
Maybe in MY small world,
but not everywhere.
Just look around at all the world–
the turmoil
and the hurt.
The wars and battles being fought outside,
but there’s one being fought inside our home,
the one which gets no attention,
while help goes out to other countries.
Have they forgotten about us?
Well, what I’ve learned on this journey
is that all of the above is true.
I’ve learned that forgiveness can
make a difference in people’s lives,
that after hundreds of years of mistreatment
a group full of apologies
can change everything–
the bitterness,
the hatred,
the stereotypes–
all dissolve into thin air.
This pilgrimage has taught me how
to truly say sorry from the heart,
to sympathize with others’ pain
and to empathize as well.
To see the light side of every situation,
and the underlying dark side as well.
This pilgrimage has taught me
that I can believe in things
and not worry what other people think,
not worry about going against others’ beliefs.

Trail Mix –Kathryn

These U-turns are endless
and even after the Pilgrimage
they continue to spin
in those who, to accomplish all this,
have no sense of direction,
who, without signal for the GPS,
rely wholly and solely upon
faulty print-outs from Google maps,
who seek only batteries for the walkie-talkies,
and who, with the best intentions, still arrive late;
who, deprived of rest or regular meals,
still come to dispense the medicine
of forgiveness
without expectation,
to drop a basket of flowers
on a trail of blood and bones,
to affirm the preeminence of human dignity,
and who bravely and whole-heartedly
offer respect in the country of the wounded,
transforming past cruelties into present embrace,
and who trust in this purpose
enough to improvise
in a pattern of work borne by intuition
to their cherished companion,
in Silence initiated.