The Quarantine Quatrains: Birdsong for May Day

This beautiful celebration of the hopeful sound of birdsong and the way it lifts our hearts is part of Malcolm Guite’s contemplative Quarantine Quatrain series. Do check out the rest on his blog. His poetry is sublime… 😉💜

Malcolm Guite

Blossom in Girton’s Orchard. Photo by Liliana Janek

The first of May, that magical turn of the year, that full opening of spring which must always bring hope, seems like a good day to share an episode of my Quarantine Quatrains which celebrates the experience of listening to birdsong. I hear it when I am sitting, writing in my hut, and again drifting through the open window as I sit in my study, and always, as Hopkins says ‘my heart in hiding’ stirs for a bird’.

I have now completed the whole Quarantine Quatrain series, which consists, as the word Quarantine implies, of forty quatrains. These are arranged in to seven sections, one for each day of the week, and tomorrow, the 40th day of our lockdown, I will post the whole poem in its proper order. But here in a little May Day preview, is the little section that…

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6 thoughts on “The Quarantine Quatrains: Birdsong for May Day

  1. Good morning, Joy, I so enjoyed the May portion of your bird song poetry. I marvel at how birds glorify Him at every turn, and how He designed us to hear them/ hear Him. I pray your body is energized today to be more involved than yesterday in your life. I pray God blesses you with continued creativity to share. What state are you in? Here in PA, we are one of the five states where the incidence of the virus is growing. It is an odd time, but one ripe for growing our faith and standing firm. Love in Christ, Julie

  2. Good afternoon, Julie, it’s a pleasure to see you here, my friend! I’m afraid I cannot lay claim to the poetry shared in this post because it was penned by the esteemed poet Malcolm Guite, whose skills far exceed my own. Although I have tried to write here each week, it’s been hard sometimes due to excessive fatigue. Thank you for your prayers. We actually live in the UK, about an hour or so drive from the Eastern coastal fringe, which means, thankfully, that our city isn’t as badly affected as it is in London and the suburbs. I agree it’s an odd time to be living through, and my emotions are often all over the place. Yes, definitely “one ripe for growing our faith and standing firm.” Blessings, love and prayers. xo 😊💜

  3. Thank you for letting me know about Malcom, Joy. I apologize for not reading more closely. I was hungry for the poetry! Now I recall, I think I had asked you before about where you live. I think I need an excel spreadsheet of people I connect with on social media/blogging! Anyway, I am grateful you are away from the thick of the virus. Our boys and I have been staying home as directed. My husband is a police officer and has no way to avoid coming in contact with people. We trust God to keep us safe, for He protects those who love Him. No matter what, He loves us from everlasting to everlasting. Love, Julie

    • No problem, Julie. It’s an easy mistake to make if you are hungry for poetry, although you probably thought I had upped my game! 😉 I’ve been hungry for poetry too, reading more than usual and writing some each day as a cathartic exercise and to honour this unusual time. One day we will look back in wonder at how God brought us through it one way or another. Thanks for sharing the info about your husband’s line of work. Extra prayers of protection going up for him. Yes, we trust God to keep us and our loved ones safe, while seeking to rest in His all-knowing provision and care for any calamity or health challenges we might face. Our idea of deliverance might not look like His, but whatever happens, we know that God’s got this covered and He’s got us covered too. May you and your family stay safe and well beneath the shadow of God’s almighty wings. Love, Joy. xo 💜

  4. Dear Joy,
    Thank you for sharing this exquisite gift of word-song from one of your favorite poets! It is just so perfect today here also. I have been resting and listening to Mr. and Mrs. Wren singing to each other about their nest-building choices. We have a small birdhouse, and it is in running for best pick. I’m not sure if it will win out though, as only time will tell which place Mrs.Wren liked best of all. As you can tell, their searching has given me sweet joy for the day, even as the poet gave us both such a lift with his words of hope. Blessings, love, and hugs to you my dear sister-across-the-sea. xoxo

    • Dear Bettie, Malcolm’s well wrought words deserve to be shared. I’m glad you love them too! Yes, he is one of my favourite poets whose books are becoming a mini library of their own in my home. It’s good to know you’ve been resting and listening to the delightful Mr and Mrs Wren enchanting you with their singing. Oh how I hope they pick your birdhouse for their home! What a gift that would be. May you and I seek to enjoy life’s small pleasures such as this, and hope we can be a blessing for others with our own gifts of poetry and prose. Blessings, love and hugs returned to you, dear sister-across-the-sea but close in heart. xoxo 😊❤️

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