Filling the Well, Why We Retreat

By on February 05, 2015 — Leave a comment

A friend now living in England, sent me this wonderful poem. It captures the essence that compels many women to come to Grey Heron for a private retreat. Coincidentally, she was the first woman who ‘retreated’ here many years ago…

Thank you, Marlow, for the gift of this beautiful poem!

X Well

Filling the Well, by Dorothy Baird

Sometime the day comes

when you have given everything

in your attempts to be everything to everyone.

You will know this day

when your small bird cannot flex

its wings against the wind.

When your sun cannot heave itself

over the horizon, when you lower 

a bucket into the well and hear it

thud against the clay.


When this day comes you must take off

the smile that is no longer truly yours

and batten down your heart

that now betrays you with its giving.

You must hold your hands about your ears.

Their voices are the siren calls

that will bind you to them

and you must walk or limp or run

through the door you can barely see

into the darkness of a lonely room

into the ocean of an empty moor

into the wild arms of the forest

and sit or walk until from deep within

a trembling starts to pulse

and your diviners hands sense

what the oak tree and the sycamore

and the worm that flicks its tail

all know…


The Source

is the same source

you are thirsting for. Drink deeply.

Be still. Be slow. The world can find its way

without you. For you must drink

until your well is filled, until your feathers

plump, until a new sun rises

in the winter of your eyes.


and only then, may you return,

and when they see you, lush

against the light, let them

stand back a little further than before

and be amazed.

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