May 2017

Six days have passed since May began.

The trees and bushes have now formed

a natural enclosure, hiding the Welsh hills,

and sheltering us in our acre of land.

Our thoughts, too, are often sheltered and enclosed

leaving us silent but aware

while the birds sing in the early dawn.


Photograph taken by Sr Clare


As I wrote the above I thought of Robert Browning’s poem


Oh, to be in England

Now that April’s there,

And whoever wakes in England

Sees, some morning, unaware,

That the lowest boughs and the brushwood sheaf

Round the elm-tree bole are in tiny leaf,

while the chaffinch sings on the orchard bough

In England - now !

And after April, when May follows,

And the whitethroat builds, and all the swallows !

Hark, where my blossomed pear-tree in the hedge

Leans to the field and scatters on the clover

Blossoms and dewdrops - at the bent spray’s edge -

That’s the wise thrush; he sings each song twice over,

Lest you should think he never could recapture

The first fine careless rapture !

And though the fields look rough with hoary dew,

All will be gay when noontide wakes anew

The buttercups, the little children’s dower

- Far brighter than this gaudy melon-flower !


On the same day that I had copied the above poem

I read "Glimpses of Eden" by Jonathan Tulloch

THE TABLET for 6th May 2017.

His short article concluded with the following sentence:

"From somewhere in the hawthorns, a whitethroat

began to sing."


The next day I found a short description in wikipedia :

"The common whitethroat is widespread

typical warbler which breeds throughout Europe

and across much of temperate Asia.

This small passerine is strongly migratory

and winters in tropical Africa, Arabia and Pakistan."


Male Whitethroat

Photograph by Steve Oakes


12th May

For some days I have been watching

a small group of birds feeding

on the food I put out in the morning.

They are smaller than blackbirds and obviously gregarious.

They are very glossy, with a sheen of purple and green

when touched by sunlight.

I recognised them today: they are STARLINGS.

Apparently they are declining in numbers

and this is the first time we have ever seen them in our garden.

Are they called ‘starlings’ because their feathers are black,

and the small areas of colour make them resemble the night sky?


I seem to have been in an ornithological mode.

To conclude I will add the photograph of

an European Starling Flock

from Wykipedia .

13th May

We heard last night that there had been cyber attacks

on many computers in NHS hospitals and surgeries

here in GB, and in many other countries throughout the world.

The perpetrators were demanding money ....

but can one believe that if money were paid

that all would be well again ?

Soon afterwards an English man,

who wished to remain anonymous,

discovered a fault in the sending of the text and aninhilated it.

Thanks be to God.

However, a day later, 14th May,

we learned that the perpetrators,

having corrected their mistake,

made another demand for money ...

When will all this cease ?

Yet the birds continue to sing, and the flowers are a delight -

are human beings now the only blight ?!


It is now the 19th May and the sky is overcast.

It is still the season of the ducks and many drakes

who patiently wait for me to scatter bread for them.

Two foxes now arrive at different times

very early in the morning and eat both bread

and soaked cat biscuits,

as well as the cat food not eaten by the house cats.

In this way, nothing is wasted !


Photograph taken by Sr Monica


I wish we could also feed the many hungry people

in the world who are suffering from drought, and abject poverty.

We support several Charities but requests for more money

continue to arrive.....

Poor men have been ringing our door bell

during the last few months.

The nuns on door duty provide them with food and drink,

as well as kindly words:

there is so little that we can do for them....


25th May

During this month our garden has grown in beauty,

and birds sing their joyful dawn chorus,

while some human beings have degenerated,

determined to kill and maim young people.

This recently happened in Manchester.

The survivors have been traumatised,

and the parents of the dead and injured are distraught.

Yet the consequences also called forth unexpected heroism

as many people, regardless of their personal safety,

hastened to help the injured.

The police arrived after some two minutes,

ambulances were summoned,

and doctors in several hospitals worked throughout the night

to save lives. Some people died, while others

will remain invalids for a long time.

Such atrocities seem to be increasingly

committed world-wide.

Lord have mercy on us all.


It is now Monday 29th May.

Heavy rain fell during the night leaving bushes and trees

adorned with sparkling drops,

more wonderful than any jewels.

The birds sang at dawn, and blackbirds foraged for food.

Another day had begun.

A flock of six drakes flew in,

pecking at the bread on the lawn.

But there was no sign of the fox while I was there.

Some days ago our long-haired ginger cat

chased a young fox, which took refuge behind some bushes.

Strangely enough this reminded me of the biblical story

in Genesis of the Man and Woman

hiding from God after they been tempted by the serpent.

They then knew that they were naked and vulnerable.


Branch of a fig tree May 2017

Many of the trees on the edge of our enclosure

are more than a hundred years old,

glistening with raindrops today.

Every bush and flower is shining with water,

as the source of life is touched by light.