Quiet Day Blues

I used to be able to have a regular ‘Quiet Day’, that is to say the day retreat from my usual daily whirl, taking place at a local retreat house. I used to manage to go a couple of times a year, although the full retreat was something I haven’t had since I was about seven months pregnant with my daughter(and that’s a story for another day: virtually the only woman at a Roman Catholic abbey retreat house for a completely silent retreat. I found it immensely helpful. I’m not sure about how everyone else felt about my presence though.)

We went to a variety of retreat houses around England over the years, from Laund Abbey in the wilds of Leicestershire, various abbeys and convents, and the small retreat house of the Sozein Trust. This poem was written at Morley Retreat House, in Derbyshire, in late February and despite the persistent cold of the Midlands, the birds had decided Spring had sprung and were making the most of a pause in the bad weather.

 

Quiet Day Blues

This was supposed to be a quiet day;
But now I’m being deafened!
The creaking floorboards,
That loudly patterned shirt
Were bad enough.
But
The birds won’t shut up.
I’d not realised how quiet Winter was
Until the birds conspired
And declared it Spring
Despite the chill and damp.
It’s raining but they don’t care;
All around me specks of fast-moving feathers
Zoom and dart
Chirp and fight
Till I am exhausted just watching.
So much for quiet thoughts:
The time for that was Winter,
And now they sing, It’s Spring, it’s Spring.
Time for action again.
This was supposed to be a quiet day;
But now I’m being bullied
Into the future,
By birds!

 

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