Can a snail think? –
asked Joaquin of Janine.

Sagacious the Snail
slithered and smiled
his ponderous route
down the turret face
of the Baptistery of
La Sagrada Familía

They’re obsessed with
themselves – his feelers
reminded him

Humankind thinks
itself the centre
of the universe
and doesn’t allow
time for contemplative
snail sliding, or the
forest from which a
Christmas tree was
plucked or the
apple that will
surrender its life
and history to the
grace of a sparkling

Nor do they wonder
how far down below
them this hardest of
all rocks began to form
millennia ago before
being raised and washed and
dressed and hammered and
shaped into sky-searching
spires in a Temple of Light
that gives part-lie to the
weakness of my snail-like

For here in and
on this basilica in
Catalan sunlight one
contemplative member of a
sometimes brash
homo sapiens has
afforded space and
glory and its own unique
history of species to an
oddly permanent Christmas
tree, fruits in painted
stone and giant snails
among other creatures on
an unimaginably spiritual

Anton Gaudi really gets snails
and apples and rocks and trees

And illumination

Simon Marsh

8 thoughts on “Illumination

  1. Hi,
    I’ve been looking for a writing group like this for ages. I used to belong to one in Manchester, but haven’t been able to find one since I moved to Cumbria.
    This looks like a lovely friendly group, but I’ve just realised you meet on weekday mornings! I’m so disappointed as I’m at work.
    I wish I could join you. I wonder if you’re ever on during school holidays (when I’m off, as I’m a teaching assistant)?
    Best wishes,
    Chris Oliver

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Hi Chris.

    Thanks for saying hello.

    I’m sorry you’ve been disappointed but hope very much that you’ll be able to join us at sometime in the future. This year’s dates can be found here - I wonder whether the Read & Share gathering on the 27th July might work for you?

    There are also a number of Retreat dates you might consider. And if none of these dates work for you we hope you’ll keep in touch with us via this website. Some of our fellow writers are ‘virtual members’.

    We do sometimes have summer season sessions too when visiting tutors guide us.

    Our Media & Publicity email address is Hope this helps. Be assured of a warm welcome if you are able to join us. We’re a mixed – and (we hope) very friendly group.


    1. Hi,

      Thank you for your reply.

      I will try to join you on the 27th July, and will look out for other dates I can make.
      Look forward to meeting you.

      Best wishes,


    1. Hi!
      Thanks for the reminder.
      Do I need to bring anything along? Do you share your writing?
      See you on Thursday hopefully,
      Chris 😁

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Hi Chris. Just a notebook and pen. Time for a couple of exercises – one in poetry, one in prose. Tea / coffee / chat in between. Nothing frightening. Mixed, open, receptive, warm group. Participants are invited to share their work but it’s absolutely voluntary and no-one turns a hair if someone hasn’t ‘quite finished mine yet,’ or whatever. I take particular pleasure in listening to others’ often really inspiring work. Door usually open from 10am in time for a 10.30 start. Hope to see you soon.


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