According to Wikipedia – digi-bible of our days – in Catholic theology, an indulgence is the full or partial remission of temporal punishment due for sins which have already been forgiven. According to the Free Dictionary – second on the Google search list – an indulgence is the act, or an instance of, indulging. According to me – pilgrim and self-confessed fool – an indulgence is a favour granted.
Which is what I’m asking of you.
Anyone who has read Sinning Across Spain, or who has browsed here, will know that my chief delight, other than walking, is poetry; the lusher the better, particularly if it is Spanish.
My lesser known delight is my feet.
I love them. They are my best, my favourite, bits. They have never given me blisters or pains or bunions. They make no complaint when hot or bothered, cold or wet, bruised or swollen.
They just go on.
This summer they have had some excellent times traipsing about in sand beside three great oceans – the Pacific, the Indian and the Southern. They have walked me far and wide on both sides of the continent, keeping me grounded but also kicking me through waters and over waves. They have skipped and they have played.
They’ve had a chance to loll, too; to rest and be admired. They’ve even had their toes painted red in celebration of their reliability and fortitude.
So what of the indulgence?
Well, tonight I found a poem by Pablo Neruda – one I’d heard before but had somehow forgotten. A bit like my feet. So in honour of the greatness, and the romance, of feet – indulge me. Please.
Here is a poem from the Spanish master. An indulgence if ever I saw one.
When I cannot look at your face
I look at your feet.
Your feet of arched bone,
your hard little feet.
I know that they support you,
and that your sweet weight
rises upon them.
Your waist and your breasts,
the doubled purple
of your nipples,
the sockets of your eyes
that have just flown away,
your wide fruit mouth,
your red tresses,
my little tower.
But I love your feet
only because they walked
upon the earth and upon
the wind and upon the waters,
until they found me.
Gracias, dear feet. You who are closest to the earth, you are my rhythm-makers. You are my markers of miles and smiles and tears. You are the quellers of my fears, dear feet that achieve such feats. You are my best bits.
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