Retreat at The Briery


Retreat at The Briery


Outside my window

amidst coppice with

nurturing Rowan,

white, pristine symbols

of  faith stand firm on

Autumn’s glossy floor.


Blessed virgin Mary

and Child;  Joseph,

their protector,

so pure and solid

in their truth,

who could doubt?


But strongest faith

may crack, I know,

doubt, a human trait;

yet here I recognise

a whisper of Love

through rain in

these trees, and the

soft, quiet, aching Yes

of  forever hope.


28 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Ina
    Nov 19, 2011 @ 14:53:17

    Hi Christine, it is so good to see you are posting again! And this is such a beautiful, intense poem, your best till now I think. To have some time to become yourself and to find hope again, in the whisper of the rain in trees, that really moves me. You found an answer there at the Briery and you shared it.

    Love and very big {{{ hug }}}


  2. journeyintopoetry
    Nov 19, 2011 @ 17:44:32

    This is a beautiful comment Ina, thank you.

    It is such a shame the edge was taken off the weekend by my becoming so poorly.

    But I did get much from the retreat as I always do; I go every year, this was the 5th one. And although The Briery is a Catholic run place, this retreat was not a religious one but simply spiritual, allowing us the opportunity to connect or re-connect with our own sense of a higher power and to just have our own peaceful space.

    I will catch up with your poems very soon.

    Love and hugs

    Christine xx


    • Ina
      Nov 19, 2011 @ 18:18:07

      🙂 Hey, take your time! I am glad David got me updated, I was a bit worried. One of my last post I was thinking of your Jack 🙂

      My aunt Esther would do that too once a year, retraite it is called where she lives (Belgium), she also felt renewed after.

      Take good care and lots of Yorkshire tea!

      Love and hugs


  3. Martin Shone
    Nov 19, 2011 @ 20:51:45

    Good to see you again Christine, lovely poem too.


  4. Betty
    Nov 19, 2011 @ 21:42:13

    Beautiful poem, and glad you’re back!! (I missed you!)


  5. Poetry & Icecream
    Nov 20, 2011 @ 00:17:32

    Oh Christine this is just beautiful…it really touched me. These are my favourite lines “white, pristine symbols of faith stand firm on Autumn’s glossy floor” and “a whisper of Love through rain in these trees”. You certainly connected at the retreat. A very intense and beautifully written piece 🙂


    • journeyintopoetry
      Nov 20, 2011 @ 11:00:51

      Thank you for this lovely comment.

      Although the retreat was held at a Catholic run place (The Briery used to be a convent and is still run by nuns though now a retreat and conference centre), it was a spiritual rather than religious weekend. (You may have read my reply to Ina).

      I still feel inwardly refreshed if not physically!!!



  6. The Background Story
    Nov 20, 2011 @ 05:35:37

    a whisper of Love
    through rain in
    these trees, and the
    soft, quiet, aching Yes
    of forever hope.

    This is the kind of spirituality that transcends all religion.

    We missed you Kristine. Glad you’re writing again 🙂


  7. journeyintopoetry
    Nov 20, 2011 @ 11:03:03

    Thank you very much for your comment.

    I am becoming more certain that my higher power operates through the many good people I know and the nature that is all around me.



  8. Becoming herself
    Nov 20, 2011 @ 16:43:02

    I so agree with all the comments above. This is my favourite line of many in this poem:

    soft, quiet, aching Yes

    I think the tranquility in the poem is so well expressed that we would know the title of it, even if you hadn’t included it, if you see what I mean! What I take from it more than anything else is the acceptance of doubt, but a doubt that does not or cannot undermine the centre of reassurance and peace you have found, and communicated so beautifully and in such a heartfelt way.

    I’m sorry you’ve been poorly. I hope you’re feeling stronger now.


  9. journeyintopoetry
    Nov 20, 2011 @ 17:26:07

    Thank you.

    This is a lovely heartwarming comment and so much appreciated.

    I always come away from this particular retreat with a renewed connectedness with my perception of a higher power.



  10. bardessdmdenton
    Nov 20, 2011 @ 20:49:20

    So sorry to hear you were not feeling at all well, but glad that you were still able to benefit from the spiritual essence of your retreat.

    My favorite line is:
    ‘a whisper of Love
    through rain’

    Faith is the epitome of the contrasts in life, cracks in its strength but still it holds up. The title of your poem also speaks to that contrast–‘Retreat at the Briery’.

    Sending you a hug for healing!


    • journeyintopoetry
      Nov 22, 2011 @ 15:24:31

      Thank you for your thoughtful comment. Your comments on all I write are so appreciated. A while ago had no idea I was capable of writing, let alone share it here.
      It is doing a great deal for my confidence and self-belief and I am having fun!
      And meeting you is a real bonus; I look so forward to your posts and accompanying beautiful illustrations; my limits in drawing are stick men (and women!!) LOL:)



  11. Dennis N. O'Brien
    Nov 21, 2011 @ 02:08:33

    Nice poem Christine and hope you are feeling better. I’m learning things all the time, the only Rowan I knew was Mr Bean’s real christian name (well the actor’s that is) until I read this and looked it up.


    • journeyintopoetry
      Nov 22, 2011 @ 15:28:39

      hank you Dennis!

      Your comment made me laugh; poor Mr Bean and his sorry escapades. I used to watch them with my children and at the time they were hilarious! Like most humour it dates but he can still raise a smile or two from me. The sad thing is there are people in the world who feel as lost as he did I think. Rnough about Mr Bean! Rowan Tree are lovely!



  12. AngelaMarie
    Nov 21, 2011 @ 08:00:05

    Such a lovely poem, Christine! My favorite lines are also shared by many who have already commented here. Your words are both gentle (whisper, soft, quiet) and strong (I recognize, aching… Yes):

    yet here I recognise
    a whisper of Love…
    …and the
    soft, quiet, aching Yes

    Thank you for sharing your beautiful work. Blessings of healing and deep peace to you.


    • journeyintopoetry
      Nov 22, 2011 @ 15:33:05

      Thank you AngelaMarie for this lovely comment.

      I hadn’t seen my words as gentle and strong but I guess they are, thank you.

      I go to this particular retreat every November; it always re-connects me with my higher power; keeping that connection alive is where I have to put the work in. I can soon wander off and think that I am in control!

      I have visited your blog and will keep reading.



  13. gonecycling
    Nov 21, 2011 @ 09:59:35

    A lovely meditation, Christine. All too often I find the ‘still small voice of calm’ is drowned out by the ‘high, shrill shriek of panic’ – or, worse, there’s just silence. At least, it seems that way: if I actually stop and listen properly, it’s still there. Thank you for the reminder – and I’m glad things are better for you. x


    • journeyintopoetry
      Nov 22, 2011 @ 15:35:27

      Thank you Nick.

      I love your “high, shrill shriek of panic” and can identify with it only too well!
      As you say if we listen it is still there – the calm I mean.

      Take care



  14. The Background Story
    Nov 22, 2011 @ 08:23:45

    We chose your blog as one of our top 15. 🙂

    Here’s our post about it written in a separate blog that is connected to our original one:


  15. journeyintopoetry
    Nov 22, 2011 @ 11:37:07

    Thank you so much for this;

    I am truly touched



  16. tikarmavodicka
    Nov 25, 2011 @ 03:29:46

    Hi Christine,

    I hope your heatlh is continuing to improve?

    I am glad to finally get here to your blog. I had read this beautiful poem of yours in my inbox several times through this week.
    I sense the strength your faith brings you in your obersvations and conclusion of “…the soft, quiet, aching YES of forever hope.”
    I do love that line.
    Sometimes I think we need these moments of stillness to renew our inner ear and spirit. The beauty of your surrounds translates for me especially with the Rowam trees.
    We may well experiance our doubts and I’m more than sure that when the Virgin Mary was first blessed with the Christ child many a doubt rang through her mind, what counts is standing steadfast in faith despite the doubts. Faith and hope are two sides of the same coin I believe. 🙂

    I’m left with a reassuring sense of peace from your words.

    Your line though that caught me the most was
    “…I recognise

    a whisper of Love

    through rain in

    these trees,…”

    For myself the divine is present in all of nature and I was very struck by love translating through rain as I indentified the same expression in work I’ve written in the past about rain washing away pains. You though captured what I didn’t quiet grasp. The rain is healing because it comes with that whisper of love. 🙂

    Thankyou for sharing this beautiful poem. It has became my favourite of yours and certainly one I know I’ll read again in the future.

    (((BIG HUGS)))


    • journeyintopoetry
      Nov 25, 2011 @ 12:18:51

      Thank you so much Tikarma for this really thoughtful and comprehensive comment.

      It may sound a bit “cheesy” but there is a tear in the corner of my eye as I read your words, which I know are spoken truly from your heart.

      Thank you again

      (((BIG HUGS TO YOU TOO)))

      Christine xx


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