The Place That Shelters

desk and garden in retreat room at New Camaldoli

A bumblebee buzzes under the eave

as I take a sip from my coffee cup.

Though the sun has yet to peep

over the mountaintop,

light is seeping into the world.

All is still

except for the bee and me.

Jasmine and juniper,

salvia and fig tree,

even chipmunks and quail

wait in silence.

All is still 

but the bee and me

and the rolling restless sea.

Soon, soon

stirrings will burst

into full-throated blessing,

the rest and prayer

of this longed-for retreat day,

but in this moment

we perch on the threshold

and see,

   as guests at the feast would,

   the bee and me seeking and sipping,

   creatures alike in our need,

that this day will be good,

yes, very good indeed.

California coast from New Camaldoli

Published by

Mary Camille Thomas

Mary Camille Thomas is a native of Santa Cruz, California who considers herself lucky to have returned after living internationally and on the road. She is a librarian by profession, and her poetry has appeared in The Moving Force Journal, Porter Gulch Review, and Sisters Singing. She is currently working on a novel called What Lies Buried and a collection of poems of the spirit.

9 thoughts on “The Place That Shelters”

  1. It has been determined that the bee is the most important insect in the world. It is only proper that you paid homage to this creature (and yourself). Well done.


  2. Wow! It CAN be that simple IF we are receptive to the blessing that always surrounds us.
    Your poem is like a gentle wake up call.
    I especially loved the recurring “bee and me”, just like two kindred pilgrims reflecting on reality!
    Well done, Mary! Thank You!


  3. Thank you for this poem and for mentioning the book. I am planning a retreat at New Camaldoli and am
    wondering from which room/ cottage this photo was taken?


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