Ode to El Camino de Santiago and Other Poems of Journey
by James Green
18 poems ~ 29 pages
Price: $5.00
Publisher: Resource Publications, imprint of Wipf and Stock
ISBN: 978-1-6667-3600-7
To Order: https://wipfandstock.com
or, from the author at jegreen159@gmail.com


Ode to El Camino de Santiago and Other Poems of Journey is a collection of poems written in a variety of forms. The reader will find sonnets, a villanelle, rhyming quatrains, blank verse, and free verse. While the forms are varied, the theme connecting these poems is one of journey. Although, journey is understood as more than mere travel to other places. These poems are journeys of the meditative kind, where destination is to be found in reflection, and arrival found in mindfulness. The settings range from a pilgrim’s path in Spain in the opening poem to a childhood home in the closing one, and in between are others as far-flung as a refugee camp in Myanmar, a market square in Marrakech, and the rocky coast of Ireland.


James Green’s carefully crafted, deeply felt poems are like reverse ekphrastic works … Here are lines gathered from a world well-travelled, or varied souls met in hazy afternoons or by moonlight. Each is a gift of tears, laughter, or miracle. These poems know the shape and dust of the path toward home.
–Jenny Kalahar, Editor of Last Stanza Poetry Journal

James Green is indeed a pilgrim, a poet who consistently seeks “to be in a place where strange is familiar” and … to discern the spirit in the varied textures of everyday life, in the mysterious beauty of nature, and in the warm shadows of memory. There are a number of pilgrimages to be savored here, but the end point of each is a profoundly human beauty.
–Jeffery Essmann, Editor, The Catholic Poetry Room

Green’s collection reminds us that travel introduces us not only to new landscapes and peoples but also to undiscovered parts of ourselves. Ode to El Camino de Santiago and Other Poems of Journey is a gracious lesson in human nature. What a beautiful stay against ethnocentrism, delivered in exquisite free verse and artfully nuanced forms.
–Mary Brown, Editor, Flying Island


James has worked as a naval officer, deputy sheriff, high school English teacher, professor of education, and administrator in both public schools and universities. Recipient of two Fulbright grants, he served as a visiting scholar at the University of Limerick in Ireland and at the National Chung Cheng University in Taiwan. His academic publications included three books, as well as scores of articles in professional journals -- all on various topics in education. Since retirement he has turned his attention to poetry and has published five poetry chapbooks, with individual poems appearing in literary journals and anthologies in the USA, UK, and Ireland. Awards for his poetry include numerous first prizes in contests sponsored by state poetry societies, as well as nominations for Best of the Net and the MLA Conference on Christianity and Literature Book of the Year. He divides his time between a home in Muncie, Indiana, and Mae Hong Son, Thailand, where he works with the Jesuit Refugee Service.


Ode to El Camino de Santiago
by James Green

To find El Camino de Santiago
begin wherever light and shadow mingle,
wherever questions stubbornly stay tangled
in threads of worn out pieties and the soul

speaks to a longing for discovery
of the pilgrim’s way, points the heart’s compass
toward healing and offers silent witness
to that part of you that is solitary.

El Camino de Santiago is long,
though do not count the miles nor should you hurry;
Let time be measured by the way an early
morning mist arrives, dissolves, is gone.

And do not fear the way: There are no ghosts
to haunt (except your own), no Charybdis
and Scylla force the choice between abyss
or certain wreckage on a craggy coast

unless you have chosen to keep them deep
inside your soul. Leave them behind then feel
the sun warm the nape of your neck, smell
the fresh cut hay drying in the fields, keep

your eyes on the horizon and your mind
at rest, your heart open to new visions–
a new understanding–of destination,
of arrival, and along the way find

those sacred spaces where clarity
comes not from tortured thought but alights
as a winged peace in the quiet of night
or in the still shade of an olive tree.

Finally, when you make Compostela
and reach to touch the face of Santiago
worn smooth by all those before you, know
that what you tried to grasp along the way

now has hold of you.


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