January 2018

1st January 2018

We awoke to a day that was overcast.

Were the day a bird, I would have said

that the day was brooding.

At Mass we were once again reminded

of the turmoil in the present world:

no one knows where the next blow will fall.

 Was it like this - all those centuries ago -

when Our Lord was born in occupied territory?


I looked for a more cheerful picture

for January and found it in a calendar

which was sent to us last year from Canada.

We certainly need the balance,

and the joyousness, which some artists

can provide in their paintings of nature.



From a calendar by

Susan Bourdet


Wednesday 3rd

The hurricane named Eleanor arrived last night

and is still moaning around outside.

A fierce wind makes both conifers

and trees with bare branches sway.

The tall deciduous trees stand firm,

while some branches are battered by the storm.


Dave came this morning, after some days at home.

We  had received a plaque from a friend

and located it in a position

close to the refectory.

It has a sunshine face surrounded

by rays of light.

It is supposed to glow in the darkness.

So far it has not done so.....

 14th January

Eleven days have passed since I wrote the above.

It is very cold here, and dark in the early morning.

A fox forages for food at night,

and a grey squirrel joins the birds by daylight

as they eat the bread I have broken for them.

We are now back in the liturgical year

and the priestly vestments at Mass

are mostly green.


A Christmas hymn

  describes the newly born Child in one of its verses:

 Love and truth in him shall flower,

From his strength their vigour take.

Branches that are bare shall blossom;

Joy that slept begins to wake.


That is certainly what we pray for in these

troubled times.


Last week we welcomed two kind friends,

 both of them needing some rest.

They come from different religious orders.

It was good to see them again.


We first met Sister Helena at Talacre Abbey,

 many years ago,

when she accompanied an older Sister

on a visit to a friend.

Father Stephen OSB  stayed in our guest house

 for a quiet time, before returning to Worth Abbey.

We had first met at an English Benedictine Community

General Chapter some years ago.


17th January

Last night was a night of turmoil,

with raging wind and heavy rainfall

battering the side of the House facing the Welsh hills.

Some of us were awoken by the sound

and fury and found it difficult to fall asleep again.

We have been warned that there could be

a repeat performance tonight.

However, a local fox found some

nourishment on the grass close to the refectory

before the deluge began !



Sunday 21st January

 The gale force wind yesterday was followed by

an overcast day, without any gleam of sunshine.

The gulls perched on the roof of our guest house

were looking for signs of the food

 which I had broken for them.

When I emerged from the usual door in the main house

they began to shriek in expectation of my becoming

the sower who would scatter bread and not seed !

 By mid afternoon the lawn was sodden

as the sleet turned into rain.

It is still falling, thundering against

windows, and dancing on the transparent

roof between the scullery and laundry.


Sara Coleridge wrote the following words...

January brings the snow

makes your feet and fingers glow...

However our extremities more usually

feel frozen !


It is very difficult to find suitable poems for this season.

I then found the poem



by Gerard Manley Hopkins.


The world is charged with the grandeur of God.

It will flame out, like shining shook foil;

It gathers to a greatness, like the ooze of oil

Crushed. Why do men then now not reck his rod ?

Generations have trod, have trod;

And all is seared with trade; bleared, smeared with toil;

And wears man’s smudge and shares man’s smell: the soil

Is bare now, nor can foot feel, being shod.


For all this, nature is never spent;

There lives the dearest freshness deep down things;

And the last lights of the black West went

Oh, morning, at the brown brink eastward, springs -

Because the Holy Ghost over the bent

World broods with warm breast and with ah! bright wings.



 25th January

Yesterday I came across the following text

by Jonathan Tulloch.

He writes under the heading

“Glimpses of Eden”

for The Tablet, and this was dated 20th January.

“If I were an artist how could I ever tire

of painting this oak?

It stands on a rise of land

like a vaulting pillar holding up the sky.

But any sketch or painting

couldn’t be a still life -

this oak is never static.

With up to half a million leaves

on the average mature tree,

even the slightest breeze

will find a dancing partner.

During the high winds that charge over the vale,

it roars like a soccer crowd ....”



An embroidery design by Sister Monica.

It reminds me of the Creation Story

in the Book of Genesis....


In the Bible the Creation Story was the beginning of life....

which continues and evolves

 throughout the centuries.

We are fortunate to be part of it -

despite the present turmoil in the world.


In the “Four Quartets” T.S.Eliot wrote :

“And the end and the beginning were always there ...

And in the beginning is my end.”