The weather first thing this morning was more like November than August. It was raining heavily, the temperature was twelve Celsius and the cloud was heavy and low, so that driving to Tesco for our weekly shop meant driving through thick cloud like heavy fog.
On the lane the blackbirds were taking advantage of the deep puddles to have a bath.They look pathetic at the moment - they are in full moult and look so mangy and can hardly fly, so that having a good bath must feel very good for them.
At the bird table there were fifty odd chaffinches on the ground feeding and on the feeders tits, woodpeckers, greenfinches, but no goldfinches. The thistles left in the fields will now be in full seed and thistle seeds are their favourite food.
I have been reading a couple of books this week - one about the Metaphysical poet, John Donne and the other about Roger Deakin, the marvellously eccentric man who rebuilt Walnut Tree farm using reclaimed materials and who was a great fan of wild swimming, so that he filled the moat around his farm and swam in it every day.
Then quite by chance the two came together when I was reading 'River Diary' a diary of 2006 by Ronald Blythe. Roger and he were great friends and when Roger was dying (he died of a brain tumour) Blythe goes to see him, along with two other friends. Blythe reads him some John Clare poetry - The Nightingale's Nest (which I have featured on my blog before) and is sure that he can hear it although he is close to death. Then Deakin requests John Donne's Prayer.
I had not come across this poem before. I am not at all religious, on the contrary I have no faith at all, but I do find this prayer strangely moving and hope you do too.
Bring us O lord God, at our last awakening
into the house and gate of Heaven,
to enter into that gate
and dwell in that house, where there shall be
no darkness nor dazzling, but one equal light;
no noise nor silence, but one equal music;
no fears or hopes, but one equal possession;
no ends or beginnings, but one equal eternity,
in the habitations of thy glory and dominion.
Donne was a strange man, deeply religious - he lived for years with his shroud on the wall behind him I understand - and my goodness me he wrote some wonderful poetry, both love poetry and religious poetry. There is a balance to this prayer which I find very beautiful. I hope you do too.
As I write, mid-afternoon, the August sun is shining and it is hot, although there is a strong Westerly blowing and every now and then clouds roll in and threaten rain.
What strange weather we are having - we could do with a bit of balance there too.