Saturday, March 3, 2018

"A Silent Retreat in Winter" Published

This was published in the March 2018 issue of Your Country Neighbor,
a rural Nebraska newspaper that I enjoy reading. Check it out online!

Peaceful reading room at St. Benedict Retreat Center in Schuyler, NE

A Silent Retreat in Winter 
by Janet Sobczyk, 2018

“An oasis of silence”
pamphlets proclaim 
nestled into a Nebraska plain 
quiet beckons 
I answer the call 
to a weekend of introspection.

Brick walls secure amid 
brown native grasses 
whispering secrets into the wind 
tell of burdens unloaded 
by troubled humans seeking 
rest, and answers.

Martin houses stand empty 
trees shiver naked 
evergreens form an honor guard 
flagpole ropes clap a rhythm 
an azure sky longs for 
the return of birds.

Inside, silence reigns 
voices turn to lowest volume 
carpeting hushes footsteps 
windows encourage day dreaming 
artwork begs a long look 
chapel awaits with magnetic pull.

At meals, utensils clink 
self-consciously against plates 
conversation in the kitchen 
intrudes through opening door 
ears perk at the sudden sound 
napkins dab satisfied mouths.

People arise 
smiling their goodbyes 
walk wordlessly to solitary nooks 
or meander pathways 
around a half-frozen pond 
created for reflection.

Time tells me to leave 
but heart wants to stay 
reading, writing, praying, listening 
heals the stress 
clears the head 
sends me on my way.

I wrote this while attending the January 2018 women’s silent guided retreat at St. Benedictine Retreat Center in Schuyler, Nebraska. The photo is a sunny, quiet spot where I enjoyed writing.