top of page

Pilgrim's Rest

by Carmen Brady-Bronston

(This poem is formatted in free verse. Best viewed on desk/laptop vs. mobile device.)

It was the first day of Spring, March 2023, when we road-tripped down to your childhood home, Waze declaring which way to go, edging us out through Dallas morning traffic, pressing us


toward Palestine…

Snowy white Dogwoods in bloom, sprinkle the 175 as we pass into denser

prairielands where freshly stacked blue bonnets mingle amongst golden daisies, all

pushing up from red clay—together… and

defiantly lining verdant ranch pastures,

enclosed, as it were, by flimsy wooden hedging and yet still rife with promise and the

certainty of Spring…

All this color reminding us,

even as we roll onward—two generations setting side-by-side—past

hectic tides of Winter and the recollections of yesteryear, where the times necessitated you turn

corners, ducking

in, out, down, and under in the face of a chillier


these prairies reminding us, too, of those in our lineage who have gone before,

Felicitia, Lillie Ann, Zenobia and Didi…Ezekiel, Samuel, Jake, John, and Charlie…

paving paths up, out, and over,

weaving us a future and a hope with the costly currency of

timeworn Forgiveness, even through thorns and thickets, the back of the bus and pickets, reiterating again where we’ve been, of who we were,

and of how far we’ve come to land and stand freely here

in this tapestry of

a new Day…

Seeds of freedom planted decades prior,

having sprouted, ripened, and dried up

drive us in to remembering a season not long gone, but thankfully, long


East Texas:

We are written in the fabric of your history even if our weft of the story has only

traveled by word of mouth from the lips of our ancestors down into the

ears and hearts of

our children, for Mama—there would be no me without you, and no you without them,

so tell me of your history once again,

lest I forget…

It was the day before Independence Day, July 1948, when you and your twin brother introduced yourselves to the world from that country Texas town in Anderson County—that town known as home to generations of our family, although yours would be the


804 Campbell Street,

Palestine, Texas 75801:

Your childhood homeplace, built of brick in the early 50’s, still standing—one story,

three bedrooms, one bath…a kitchen, a great room and an even greater backyard—

even though today,

the grand Paper Shell Pecan tree you plucked from in your backyard no longer stands,

It, along with the wild blackberry bushes,

cheeky chiggers, and summer grass that line your

memories, will now line mine because you

speak of it…

These once segregated roads you and your three siblings roamed seemed so broad

when you were young: Fulton, Dye, Lacey, Texas Avenue, New Town, Old Town, your

Daddy’s old corner store, and the front steps of Pilgrim


Our ancestral line shed sweat here while they lost and kept progeny there,

Yet they kept moving until they slept, so that you could find your Pilgrim


For me it will ever be more than just a chapel on the edge of Fulton Street…where you, a

six-year-old girl setting on concrete steps,

first laid eyes on my Daddy—a boy six years your senior who hadn’t quite noticed you (yet).

I am here because you were there…

And so Today, we are travelers setting side-by-side, purveying history once again,

solidifying facts and relics from one era to the next as we—the walking, breathing, talking historical markers traverse time, space, and generations to voice the stories in color that the land

may” have shut up in black and white…those oralities that harvesters of history

may” have forgotten to reap and preserve;

Today, we take pictures on Smartphones and cross to the “other” side of the

Railroad tracks with no fear,

and with no trepidation…

but rather with our hearts fully set on Pilgrimage

and the Just Promise

of our Pilgrim’s Rest.


Carmen Brady-Bronston completed her undergraduate degree in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, however she never entered that field-of-study. She instead followed her passion for story, earning her Masters ­­­of Arts in Creative Writing at Dartmouth College. Brady-Bronston now lives in Dallas-Forth Worth with her husband and son. Her appreciation for family and its universal impact on individuals is what served as the impetus for her most recent publication, Call of the Song Sparrow: A Novel. Brady-Bronston has learned that what people everywhere need in life is the ability to process their own individual journeys, tell their stories, and have their stories heard.

52 views0 comments

Recent Posts

See All
bottom of page