Guest House

house guest

It’s full dark at 8am. The rain is beating on the double glazing.The house is muffled and I pad about by the light on the Christmas twinklies. I have been awake for over an hour and a half and still I am facing that blank page. I am preoccupied with what needs to be done before our Christmas guests arrive and how to dovetail tasks with concert rehearsals, feeding us and minding the menagerie. I was having a moment of Yuletide Mrs. Demento. Then Rumi came to me like a one man cavalry.

2018 has been marked by a steady procession of house guests from vernal equinox until the British late August bank holiday, with a few weekenders thereafter.  One friend dryly remarked that she wondered if I had registered with AirBnB. Some years it has been quiet, but not this one.  To stave off over-identification as a landlady I looked up the Rumi opening line from “The Guest House” in the Coleman Barks translation. This being human is a guesthouse.

I am reminded that hospitality is one of the four reverences in the Celtic spiritual tradition. The sacredness of the natural world and the divine in it is one, as well as the creative life of ‘making’ – whatever your art or craft. The last is anamcara,  soul friendship, the relationship with another that unites the body and soul. St. Brigid is quoted as saying for a person not to have an anamcara is like having a body without a head.


Come and rest.
Drink and eat your fill.
The sheets are clean.
The dog and cat hair
is never added to the bill.

But you may pet. They like that.
(Except the little deaf dog.
being the one caveat.)
By and large they will purr,
and lounge, and then
disrupt the Scrabble board.

Or they may move you to take
a sedate walk
up to the local holy well.
Because we all hope
to cure our cares.

Amidst the bubbles of laughter
and the murmur of chat,
there is a still point
in the constant motion
that is this being in transit.

With an occassional pause
to stop and share,
to break your journey,
to have a place at this table.

Sit with your hosts cozily,
your casually shed footwear
toasting by the firelight
along with all else
that needs to thaw.

Copyright © 2018 BeeSmith


One thought on “Guest House

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.