This morning I woke very early and drafted some poems sitting on the sofa while the rain pattered on the deck and a solitary bird chirrupped in the pre-dawn.  In spite of the cloud cover, there was a silvery moonlight and the now bare sweet chestnut trees were visible against the grey sky.  I’ve been in this house two years and I’ve yet to get curtains for the living room at the back – which means I often enjoy the arrival of morning light.  It was a blissful couple of hours and that’s not hyperbole.

It set me thinking about the saying that you should ‘sit’ (ie meditate) for at least an hour a day – unless you are too busy, in which case, you should sit for two.

And the poem that came to mind is yet another one by Robert Frost.  Here is a link to The Armful.  Please do click through and read it.  It is exactly how my life has been this past few weeks.

I love my work and as a freelancer, spend time inventing and pitching projects I want to work on. It’s creative but sometimes admin-heavy.  That some ideas will come to fruition and others not, is a given. A bit like gardening. This year though, the harvest has been plentiful and several things planted years ago have borne fruit.  Perhaps there’s a need now to thin, coppice or cull – or at least stop planting for a while.

Robert Frost’s metaphor though is different.  The speaker of the poem has nothing he or she ‘should care to leave behind’. Each and every parcel is welcome, which is happily true for me at the moment with my busy-ness. (On a literal level I think it also applies to Christmas presents – some of the strangest and least appropriate ones say something about particular relationships). The end of the poem, as with all ‘good’ poems for poetry therapy, is richly ambiguous.  Does the speaker manage to ‘stack them in a better load’ or does he or she try and fail?

My parcels got the better of me this week and I now regret cancelling a visit by a friend and not going to an evening do – parcels of pleasure and fun – I could have put the more dutiful ones down for a bit.

This morning’s interlude reminded me of what matters. Yes, I enjoy writing poems, yes, I like writing my blog, yes, I do want to see my friends and colleagues.  I will hold on to them with ‘hand and mind / And heart’.  All I need to do is stack them in a better load.


  1. Jenny Alexander December 17, 2013 at 9:45 am

    This post really speaks to me! I was getting overwhelmed by admin. It was stressing me out and making me miserable, but I didn’t spot that was the problem because it was all for projects I wanted to put in place. Then I woke early one morning with perfect clarity that I needed to start writing a new book. As soon as I did, I felt calmer and the long to-do list resumed its rightful place at the far corner of the desk. I dreamt I was given a list with five things on it, such as ‘Seek permissions’ and ‘Organise workshops for 2013.’ Every item was ticked and marked ‘fine.’ Everything will be fine – that’s how I always feel when the day starts like yours did, in quiet contemplation and writing.

  2. Jacqui December 17, 2013 at 11:36 am

    Truly lovely.
    our family has recently taken on a puppy, which involves pre dawn standing in the garden. I began grumpy and then realised that I was privy to many beautiful moments that I would otherwise have missed.
    For example standing looking at the bare branches of the oak tree, a backing of a gently lightened sky, with some of the brightest stars sprinkled through the branches. Set my day up beautifully.
    So thank you for sharing your blog – I really enjoy it.

  3. brigid sivill December 17, 2013 at 3:12 pm

    Vicky have so enjoyed your blog this year and the links to the poems have led me to so many unknown ones that I have enjoyed and valued. Hope that we might meet up some time – lots of spare ‘ooms here at Le Marais!
    Have a parcel free Christmas except for pressies. lots of love to you and Poppy XX

  4. Caroline December 19, 2013 at 12:01 pm

    lovely ruminations and thoughts dear Vicky, I so enjoy them. Never put up curtains at the back! l of l C

  5. 6vicky7 December 20, 2013 at 8:14 am

    Dear Jenny, Jacqui, Brigid and Caroline
    Thank you so much for comments. ‘To begin the day in quiet contemplation and writing’ – I know this on a deep level and forget it so often – thanks for the reminder. And dogs are wonderful for taking us into the world in a deep way. And Caroline – hmm – the window is rather large but another winter’s gone by … Brigid – would love to visit next year. Warmest wishes for a peaceful Christmas.

  6. Maggie Yaxley Smith December 23, 2013 at 1:48 pm

    Thank you for your blog and the links to poems which on reading feel very much like unwrapping a variety of interesting packages some of which become much loved, others a gift found and remembered. I seem to start each year with neatly stacked piles that gradually become unwieldy, perhaps the answer is to make the stacks less high!!

    Have a joyful year with many hours of stillness, joy and wonder.

    • 6vicky7 January 2, 2014 at 10:29 am

      Thank you Maggie – yes, I love the idea of poems being like packages. It feels like 2014 is as yet ‘unwrapped’ – so looking forward to seeing what’s inside. Happy New Year to you!

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