At Carpe Diem, our host is taking us on a pilgrimage through the 88 Buddhist temples of the Japanese Isle of Shikoku. All this talk of pilgrimage has reminded me of a book that I’ve long been meaning to read: Pilgrim’s Progress by John Bunyan.
I’d like to “haiku” my way through this book and share my journey with my fellow poets at Carpe Diem, and with anyone else who is interested in following along. I hope I can be forgiven if I stray a bit from the daily prompts…
At the beginning of this allegory, we meet our protagonist, a man later identified by the name of Christian. Christian is reading a book, and weeping uncontrollably. The book has made him aware that he is a sinful man who can in no way save himself. For that reason he has upon his back “a great burden” that he cannot take off. He tries to hide his distress from his wife and children, but eventually cannot stand it anymore. He informs them that he has learned that he and they…in fact, their entire city…will be destroyed. The only way that they can avoid this fate is if they find some way of escaping the city, but alas, he does not know how to accomplish this escape.
feeling of despair
bowed under burden of sin
seeking an escape
His family and friends don’t believe him, thinking, in fact that he’s pregnant. They try to get him to forget his burden, but he becomes more and more distraught. One day, while wandering in the fields and reading his book, he blurts out, “What shall I do to be saved?”. A man named Evangelist overhears him and asks him why he is so upset. Christian tells him of his plight, saying that he is doomed to die, and that the burden on his back will cause him to sink lower than the grave. Evangelist asks Christian why he doesn’t seek to escape. Christian indicates that he wants to escape, but doesn’t know which way to run. Evangelist points to a light in the distance. He tells Christian to head towards that light, and he’ll eventually come to a wicket gate. When he gets to the gate, he’s supposed to knock, and he’ll be told what to do.
a distant light
marks a new beginning
hope is kindled