Pilgrim Soul

“…but one man loved the Pilgrim Soul in you,

and loved the sorrows of your changing face…”

Lindsey, again, has prompted me to think – this time, however, it is towards more sentimental matters… of my old friend William Butler Yeats and the many rain-slicked evenings I spent buried in his words.

She ponders one of his works in particular, a work that has affected many people – and I am no exception.

Without offering a rigorous explication of the greater work, nor delving much into the strange and mystical ideas of Yeats, I can offer up what this poem (specifically these couple lines) means to me – though I cannot promise that it will necessarily have anything to do with the author`s actual intent…

I have to admit, when I first read this poem (in High School) I thought of my wife – who was my then-girlfriend. At the time I had a rather dark view of my destiny – I was certain that whatever lay ahead of me, it would spent (for the most part) in varying degrees of solitude… that I would have neither wife nor children, but an ongoing procession of loves and peers.

During this time, I “knew” that Candace and I would not last – and that she would move on with her life as I would with mine.

This poem would exist as an untold secret, spoken out across the distance between us – that, come what may, I would remain as one that ever-loved her. That I would be the one that loved her both in-and-out of time – loved the thought of her in a shadowed childhood imagining and dreamt a future with her in our dim declining years. O, how little I knew of such things in those days!

At the time, a “pilgrim soul” was, to me, one whose life would be itself a pilgrimage of love and devotion – to whatever one considered virtue or honor. That the whole of one`s being would be permeated and suffused with their light and their love.

Even now I think on this from time-to-time… of the Candace who became mine and the “pilgrim soul” which remains in her.


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