The road climbs through changing land.
Northern rains fall
On the deepening green of the slopes of the valley,
Storms break the summer’s heat;
At Foncebadon a pass can be lost,
In one night, to the snow.
The road climbs for days through the highlands of Bierzo,
to the grassland and rocks
of the Valcarce valley.
White broom and scrub-oak,
Laburnum and gorse
Mark the bare hills
Beside the road.
At O Cebreiro, mountains.
The road follows the ridgetop
By meadows of fern, by fields of rye.
By Fonfria del Camino, by Triacastela.
Towns are shadows
The road leaves behind.
It moves over the slate hills
Palas do Rei. Potomarin.
The names are shadows.
Then, from the stream at Lavacolla
To the foot of Monte de Gozo,
From the foot of Monte de Gozo
To the summit of Monte de Gozo
The road climbs,
Before the longed-for final descent
Deius aia nos.
Ver redit optatum
Aves edunt cantus
Cantus est amoenus
Jacobo dat parium
Omnis mundus gratis
Ob cuius remedium
Est ad vota satis.
O beate Jacobe
Virtus nostra vere
Nobis hostes remove
Tuos ac tuere
Ac devotos adibe
Nos tibi placere.
Et quas ex obsequio
Patri tam eximio
Dignes laudes demus
At the Western edge of the world
We pray for our sins to fall from us
As chains from the limbs of penitents.
We have walked out of the lives we had
And will return to nothing, if we live,
Changed by the journey, face and soul alike.
We have walked out of our lives
To come to where the walls of heaven
Are thin as a curtain, transparent as glass,
Where the Apostle spoke the holy words,
Where in death he returned, where God is close,
Where saints and martyrs mark the road.
Santiago, primus ex apostolis,
Defender of pilgrims, warrior for truth,
Take from our backs the burdens of this life,
What we have done, who we have been;
Take them as fire takes the cloth
They cast into the sea at Finisterre.
Holy St James, great St. James,
God help us now and evermore.