Posts Tagged: Malcolm Guite

Holy Cross Day

I am borrowing Malcolm Guite's description of Holy Cross Day and one of his poems from the Sonnets of the Cross in Sounding the Seasons; seventy Sonnets for the Christian Year Canterbury Press 2012

"Today, is Holy Cross day. It originally commemorated the day when Helena the Mother of Constantine was believed to have found the true cross, astonishing the inhabitants of Jerusalem by searching the rubbish tip of Golgotha and, on unearthing this discarded sign of shame, exalting it as the greatest treasure on earth. But this festival has become since then a day when any of us can again find the cross, still a discarded sign of shame, and find in it the greatest treasure and the source of grace."

The painting is by Alexandra Drysdale


A sonnet by Malcolm Guite on Holy Cross Day


He gives himself again with all his gifts
And now we give him something in return.
He gave the earth that bears, the air that lifts,
Water to cleanse and cool, fire to burn,
And from these elements he forged the iron,
From strands of life he wove the growing wood,
He made the stones that pave the roads of Zion
He saw it all and saw that it is good.
We took his iron to edge an axe’s blade,
We took the axe and laid it to the tree,
We made a cross of all that he has made,
And laid it on the one who made us free.
Now he receives again and lifts on high
The gifts he gave and we have turned awry.

p1030799smMalcolm Guite, the poet and Alexandra Drysdale, the painter. Michaelhouse, Cambridge, Easter 2011

Nos désirs

I took this photograph in Rennes after violent clashes between demonstrators, rioters and the police.

When I came back I read the last sonnet in the sequence of seven sonnets on the Lord’s Prayer by Malcolm Guite.

Here it is :

Thine is the Kingdom, and the Power, and the Glory

The kingdom and the power and the glory,
The very things we all want for ourselves!
We want to be the hero of the story
And leave the others on their dusty shelves.
How subtly we seek to keep the kingdom,
How brutally we hold on to the power,
Our glory always means another’s thralldom,
But still we strut and fret our little hour.

What might it mean to let it go forever,
To die to all that desperate desire,
To give the glory wholly to another,
Throw all we hold into that holy fire?
A wrenching loss and then a sudden freedom
In given glories and a hidden kingdom.

For all parties to reflect.


P1050316silent crossSG


November pierces with its bleak remembrance
Of all the bitterness and waste of war.
Our silence tries but fails to make a semblance
Of that lost peace they thought worth fighting for.
Our silence seethes instead with wraiths and whispers,
And all the restless rumour of new wars,
The shells are falling all around our vespers,
No moment is unscarred, there is no pause,
In every instant bloodied innocence
Falls to the weary earth ,and whilst we stand
Quiescence ends again in acquiescence,
And Abel’s blood still cries in every land
One silence only might redeem that blood
Only the silence of a dying God.

Malcolm Guite.

“We make His love too small”

A poem by Malcolm Guite

An extract of the explanation Malcolm gives about his poem is:

"We sometimes make his love, and the object of his love too small! We diminish and dwindle it down to some small time religious patter about the way we feel. In this sonnet I am trying to be open again to the literally Cosmic dimensions of John 3:16!"

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For God So Loved the World

The whole round world, in Greek the total cosmos,
Is all encompassed in this loving word;
Not just the righteous, right on, and religious,
But every one of whom you’ve ever heard,
And all the throng you don’t know or ignore,
For everyone is precious in his sight,
Chosen and cherished, loved, redeemed before
The circling cosmos ever saw the light.
He set us in the world that we might flourish
That His beloved world might live through us
We chose instead that all of this should perish
And turned his every blessing to a curse.
And now he gives himself, as Life and Light
That we might choose in Him to set things right.

More about his poem here For God so loved the World on Malcolm's blog.