Thursday, December 11, 2008

A time for turnings

I spent last Saturday at a monastery (that is one of the words that is now regarded as irrelevant for our children), a quiet day of reflection away from the busyness of Christmas preparations.

I find sitting in a garden or taking a country walk more conducive to reflection than being indoors, so it was wonderful that we had a rare dry and sunny day and I was able to spend a lot of time in the grounds.

The theme of the day was Turnings and, because this was an Augustinian monastery, the two inspirational talks were based on some of the writings of St Augustine. I am not very comfortable with Augustinian spirituality (I don't think I ever met a woman who was) but I listened to the exhortation to spend the morning in thinking of what I would wish to turn from and the afternoon in thinking of what I should turn towards. No dramatic Augustinian confessions and conversion, however, just gentle steps along the paths, the quiet study of an unexpected rose and a time for wondering about the next turning.


Beauty is amongst us,
turning our sorry heads
when we least expect it.
Hidden in the bare words,
but listened for. Listen.

The crops are in flower,
turning towards the sun,
following all the day.
For them the day's enough,
the time they have's enough.

As if a highwayman
held us up with pistols
to give us all he had
and rode away laughing,
his pouches still full.

On a ghostly stallion
the rider turns from war.
His army turns behind,
to learn what ploughs are for
that ghostly horses draw.

I am turning again
to watch the horizon.
Soon there will be a sail.
There is a boat coming,
always a boat coming.

The reasoning mind waits,
settling between what is
and what it believes in.
Finally accepting.
Now, make a beginning.
Robert Davidson


  1. What a perfectly beautiful rose - how has it survived the frosts?

  2. It was such a surprise to find it in a very bare border, J. Later I discovered a lovely yellow rose in another part of the grounds. Perhaps Devon roses are tough as well as beautiful.


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