I have a hut in a wood

By | 11th August 2023

Dear friends,

Pictured here is “The Hut” – amongst its companion cabins, Kairos, Trinity and Julian, now is always the moment to reach out, set aside, pray and find God.

We look forward to seeing you over the summer and I hope you will enjoy these two old prayers – or are they prose?

Every blessing,


I have a hut in a wood: only my Lord knows it;
an ash tree closes it in on one side,
and a hazel like a great tree by a rath on the other.

The size of my hut, small, not too small,
a homestead with familiar paths.
From its gable a she-bird sings a sweet song in her thrush’s cloak.

A tree of apples of great bounty like a mansion, stout:
A pretty bush, thick as a fist, of small hazel nuts,
branching and green.

Fair white birds come, herons, seagulls,
the sea sings to them, no mournful music:
brown grouse from the russet heather.

The sound of the wind against a branching wood,
grey cloud, river falls,
the cry of the swan, delightful music!

Beautiful are the pines which make music for me unhindered:
Through Christ I am no worse off at any time than you.

Though you relish that which you enjoy exceeding all wealth,
I am content with that which is given me by my gentle Christ.

With no moment of strife, no din of combat such as disturbs you,
Thankful to the Prince of Peace who gives every good to me in my hut.

(Early Irish Lyric, 10th century – italics added).

Grant me, sweet Christ, the grace to find, Son of the Living God,
A small hut in a lonesome spot. To make it my abode.

A little pool but very clear, to stand beside the place
Where every sin is washed away. By sanctifying grace.

A pleasant woodland all about, to shield it from the wind
And make a home for singing birds. Before it and behind.

A southern aspect for the heat, a stream along its foot,
A smooth green lawn with rich topsoil. Propitious to all fruit.

My choice of those to live with me and pray to God as well,
Quiet friends of humble mind. Their number I shall tell.

A lovely church, a home for God, bedecked with linen fine,
Where o‟er the whitened Gospel page. The Gospel candle shine.

A little house where all may dwell, and body’s care be sought,
Where none shows lust or arrogance. None thinks an evil thought.

And all I ask for housekeeping, I get and pay no fees,
Leeks from the garden, poultry, game. Salmon, fruit and bees.

My share of clothing and of food from then King of fairest face,
And I to sit at times alone. And pray in every place.

(Abbot Manteith 6th Century)