It is really beginning to feel as if Spring has really arrived – “Suddenly you are voluble” as R S Thomas said. Just spent a reflective and illuminating week co-leading a CARM retreat (www.carmretreats.org/) on poetry and prayer at Holland House, near Pershore (www.hollandhouse.org) where these joyful cyclamen were sparkling on the lawn. There was also a woodpecker dinning his brains out on a tree – I found the tree from which that unmistakeable burrrrr of the beak was coming from, but he/she was too well hidden.
We spent the week looking at those gap times in life, those moments between happenings, the time-out, respite, wilderness moments and explored poetry not only by Thomas, but also Denise Levertov, Kathryn Simmonds (her “23” is a masterpiece in “owning” a psalm), Luci Shaw, Malcolm Guite and others – poems that took us into the gap, taught us to find the extraordinary in the everyday, and to adjust perspective to enjoy the here and now, instead of lingering over the past or hastening to a new beginning. It is amazing how a few days “out” of the slipstreams of life put you back on an even keel ready to paddle on. Of course, the wonderful company, caring attention of Holland House staff and the ballast provided by the generous and delicious meals also helped!