Poems and pictures

Most quiet mornings we have a theme for people to explore if they wish. Sometimes people draw, paint or write. Here is a selection of what has been evoked:

 June 2021: Open our eyes

A small group gathered at Runcton Manor on a sunny day on 16th June. The chosen theme was ‘open our eyes’. In the sharing afterwards, we discovered that many of us had opened not only our eyes, but also our ears and hearts.

Several were touched by the sound of the birds and talked about how this can inspire and renew us. Another talked about the importance of hope – and how that can rebalance us. Others spoke about not looking away – even from the things that we find difficult or painful: paradoxically, when we become present to our pain – when we make friends with it – it often becomes less.

August 2020: Mystery 

Finding mystery in all
(Chris Bemrose)

The warmth of sun on my skin,
Heat that has travelled a hundred million miles
And gives me a sense of well-being in my inmost self.

The pebble that I throw onto the solid green covered stream
Where it is received with a gentle plop
There to stay for the next 10,000 years.

The mushroom that appears overnight fully formed,
A sign of life – and death
As I pass by it on my transient journey through this world.

The encounter between two people.
What’s said and – even more – what’s unsaid:
The looks, gestures, thoughts and feelings.

Three in one and one in three – I don’t attempt to understand,
But trust that something of God lives on within the deepest part of me,
Still warmed by the distant sun.

Runcton re-opened 5th August 2020: Gratitude
(Janet Aldridge)

This silver birch stands
leafless, lifeless
by the lush wildflowered
stream bank
yet the upright wood
proclaims the cycles
of years fertile and fallow
and shows us still
the stature to endure.
The stream flows slow
in this Southern drought
but still it finds a current
fed by hidden source.

The dry, leafless beech tree
(Chris Bemrose)

Give thanks for the beech
For it has enriched my life.
Its blood given for me.

September 2019
(Janet Aldridge)
For Chris who shares this birth month

September is
the pause
between fruiting and withering:
the blue sky undisturbed by cloud;
the stream glassy on a ripple-less surface;
trees drawing on their deepest roots
as nuts ripen, fall;
cyclamen bloom trustingly leafless;
and in our circle, sharing sacredness,
we also pause.

Raison d’etre
(Janet Aldridge)

Nettles long to sting:
they hang about in ambush,
wave sneakily in hope,
and, even when pressed down
about a stump, they
spring back to brush
triumphantly the passing fingers.

Cherish the margins
(Janet Aldridge – 17th July 2019)

Cherish the margins
left wild, where nettles
and brambles rule in
tangles, and where
bees and skipper butterflies
and over-weeded souls
find sustenance.

A mighty beech has fallen
(Janet Aldridge – 20th March 2019)

A mighty beech has fallen~
a stormy week of battering,
then one huge gust ~
it creaked, and cracked and lowered.
All on the outside had seemed well,
but the jagged stump displays
deep inner rot, dried fragments
no longer flexing strength supporting
an upward trunk and wide-spreading
branches, now neatly stacked in sawn-off rounds:
all the history of good years and bad,
disease encompassed, all laid bare,
the girth of base at least three metres round.
Some roots deep and still alive, although bereft,
Send out defiantly their shoots of spring.

Let thoughts drop
(Chris – 21st November 2018) 

Let thoughts drop
And let yourself break into a new world.
See the clouds scudding across the sky
Transforming themselves as they do so.
Play, like a child, on a log
Closing your eyes and feeling fragile – and fearless.
Dance with the wind, forgetting yourself
And discover new rhythms of life within.

The richness of all this

The richness of all this:
– Butterflies spiralling upwards out of sight, on a warm breeze;
Mottled light and dancing leaves;
Movement and sound intertwining with infinity;
Bees on lavender, scented bliss, balmy.
A joyous smile passes by
reflecting joy, sharing love.
I breathe in to it all,
with thanks.

New Life

New life stirs within
As I wait, watch and wonder
Where it will take me.


An acer is ablaze
With loss of chlorophyll
And we, when we can let go fear and guilt,
Will also flame.


A squirrel crawls to the twiggy end of a high branch,
Calculates the leap to
An even more fragile neighbouring limb
And turns back.
Even the grasp he now has under his paws
Is unsure.
He turns again ,
Faces the gap and launches out…
And lands
Clutching the swinging stem
With only one paw
Now pendant, white belly up.
But twists and finds again
His graceful footing.

What Spirit moved in his
Heart, his sinews to try again,
To risk the fall?


A grey day of permeating damp:
Fire on the open hearth
Beckons us to burn:
To flame, to coals, to ash
Do we consent?

A leaf falls, setting stillness of the pond a-quiver –
A drop tips off the end of a cedar leaf,
transformed to ripple –
May I be set a-quiver, turn to ripple
By falling, dropping, Grace.

Sit and watch
(Big Roy, June 2015)

Many sit and meditate and watch their breath.
For me to sit and watch blue dragon flies dart among the watercress
or Kingfishers by the waterfall at hammer pond.
Even at home on a wet day watching gold crest on the bird feeder
to sit under a tree on a hot day and look at flowers and bees.
At Runcton Manor I sit and watch the chickens dustbath
With the sun and wind on your face and bird song.
You can enjoy all things of wild nature around you
Being aware of all this tells you heaven is not far away.


Dancing leaves flow through the air
Are there animals here?
I see a bridge made of stone
As I explore the unknown.
I hear water tumbling over rocks
As a fallen tree lies still upon the banks.
Still on the banks of the river
Under which move reflections
Reflections of that in the sky
Yet now on the earth to the eye.
When I’m gone, will this still be here
For others to sense the presence of this nature ?
What have I done to enjoy such pleasure?’
The leaves, blowing in the gentle but insistent wind, reply
‘Ask no questions, but enjoy the gracious, generous outpouring of life
As it overflows with joy,
For there are places of beauty and places of ugliness,
Times of pleasure and times of pain
And yours is not to reason why.’
‘Appreciate health, harmony and happiness while you can
For tomorrow is another day.
Just for today, take in
What Overwhelming Wonders
You see.’