I am leading an Advent retreat here at Launde Abbey, a beautiful place hidden away in the soft folds of Leicestershire. This morning, on Saint Lucy’s day, whose brief brightness is dedicated to the martyr saint who found the true dayspring and whose name means light, I walked in the abbey grounds. As I watched the bright low winter sun rise dazzling through the bare bleak leafless trees and light at last the Abbey’s sunken rose garden this sonnet came to me.
As always you can hear the poem by clicking on the title or the play button
Launde Abbey on St. Lucy’s day
St. Lucy’s day is brief and bright with frost,
In round cupped dew ponds shallow waters freeze,
Delicate fronds and rushes are held fast,
The low sun brings a contrast to the trees
Whose naked branches, dark against the skies
And fringed with glory by the light behind,
In patterns too severe for tired eyes,
Burn their bright beauty on the weary mind.
Saint Lucy’s sun still bathes these abbey walls
And in her garden rose stalks stark and bare
Shine in a frosty light that yet recalls
The glory of the summer roses there.
Though winter night will soon surround us here,
Another Advent comes, Dayspring is near.