A celebration poem from one of the writers on our June retreat in Spain

Want to know exactly what it's like on one of our writing holidays at Finca Buenvino? This poem sums it up beautifully.

writing retreat in Spain 2017

I first met Jenni Bradbury when she came on our Spanish retreat in September 2016. She returned in June this year and has generously agreed to let us share her evocative and enchanting poem about her experience of the week, written as a letter to her husband at home in the English countryside. We have illustrated it with some of her many beautiful photographs.

The atmosphere of a Write It Down! retreat is truly unique. We provide a space to be cherished, a location to inspire and workshops that support, encourage and delight you. They are retreats but they are also holidays. They are a treat for all the senses that nurture your heart and soul and empower your creativity. We hope to meet you in 2018!


How do I tell you?

How do I tell you about the sky?
Can I describe the exact blue to you
and just how wide it spread over me,
over the sierra?

And will I be able to imitate the sound
of the swifts that filled this blue above me, every day;
their piercing screes and whees drowning out
the other birds in dark branches overhead,
the crickets in the tall, dry grass that brushed my legs as I walked past?
Can I fully describe the joy I felt when watching them?

Or, that moment, later in the afternoon,
when, sitting in the pool house, writing in silence,
I’d notice, from the corner of my eye,
the swallows taking their turn to skim over the now still water of the pool,
to drink on the wing, then wheel away like fighter planes into the sparkling sky?

Can I paint for you, the colours of the flowers?
The gaudy pink of the geraniums around the terrace, the pale-yellow daisies, the orange and red nasturtiums?
The creamy lilies with their Finca Buenvino pink backdrop,
The soft, but aromatic purple of lavender?
The mixed palates of the window boxes in Linares and Los Marines?
The fading sapphire-blue blossoms on the trees in Aracena?
And then, in the ochre dust, the tiny baby-pink flowers of the wild sweet pea,
brightening up the path under my feet?

How am I doing? Can you begin to see it?

Can you imagine me on the walks?
The same dusty, rocky, uneven paths trod by man and beast over centuries in this fine land?
The views to far tree-covered hills, shimmering in the heat?
The sound of my feet?
Or the sound of my breath as I climbed upwards, taking in as much as I could,
fearful of one day forgetting the beauty surrounding me,
knowing that the camera would never do justice to its splendour?
Or, as we left the shade, the sweat that trickled obstinately down my neck, and further!

I can try to tell you about sitting in the open window long before dawn,
Watching, in child-like wonder, that same sky
now pitch-black and heavy with stars,
their numbers too magnificent to count,
their distance, too dreadful to fathom.
Can you imagine that?

And can you feel the cool of the mornings,
the sharp outlines of the horizons,
the smell of green leaves,
the faint trace of dew left on them,
the freshness of each new breath?

And the joy of meditation;
the ability to know nothing but everything in a few, still moments of time?
Understanding that you are, but are not.
Acknowledging. Accepting.

Maybe I can tell you about the food?
The flavours that brought surprise or memory to the senses,
the love that we felt emanating from the busy kitchen,
the smiles we shared in gratitude for all that was created there;
The blood-red beetroot with a spicy kick,
the oily-green peppers, so sweet and salty,
the tomatoes that smelt exactly as they tasted; vine-ripe and red,
the jamon, earthy and nutty.

You’ll understand, I know, that moment when a table of diners emit a collective “mmmm!”
the following silence the true appreciation of a chef’s skill,
the salted caramel and pecan ice-cream,
the little pots of dark chocolate, delicately flavoured with orange.

There, now I have your attention!

So, now can I tell you about the writing?
The way I shared my life, my past, my sorrows, my joys?
And how I learnt to sit quietly, to listen to the tears that fell?
How do I tell you that I found myself again?

You look surprised….no, don’t be,
I wasn’t lost, but sometimes in our busy days we - yes, I am including you in this – forget to breathe.
I’ve been breathing again this week.
I have found my voice in so many places and memories.

How can I tell you all of this?
Come, lie down beside me and close your eyes;
I’m going to show you.
— Jenni Bradbury