The Pelican Inn

The Pelican Inn in Devizes is a handsome, Georgian building, suiting well the attractive town in which is has stood so long. It is likely a medieval name from a previous building, for the pelican was a powerful motif in middle ages art. One belief was that pelicans would kill their young and then bring them back to life with their blood. In a more common version, pelicans were so devoted to caring for their young that, if there was no food, they would peck their own breast and feed their young with blood. In Psalm 102, the human psalmist likens himself to the great bird:

1 Hear my prayer, O Lord, and let my cry come unto thee. 2 Hide not thy face from me in the day when I am in trouble; incline thine ear unto me: in the day when I call answer me speedily. 3 For my days are consumed like smoke, and my bones are burned as an hearth. 4 My heart is smitten, and withered like grass; so that I forget to eat my bread. 5 By reason of the voice of my groaning my bones cleave to my skin. 6 I am like a pelican of the wilderness: I am like an owl of the desert.

Here, the pelican is a symbol of loneliness and poverty rather than parenthood and generosity. Yet caring for others, including children, often leaves one feeling drained and weak. Well the God who made the pelican made the parent, the carer, the lover and the giver. Doing good can be a thankless task, and caring for another an unappreciated deed. Yet keep going, keep doing, keep giving, keep supporting. He whose work you really do shall supply the strength you really need.

And let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not. Galatians 6:9