Russian -inspired icon of the transfiguration, artist unknown

Continuing my series of sonnets ‘Sounding the Seasons’ of the Church’s year, here is a sonnet for the feast of the transfiguration. The Transfiguration is usually celebrated on August 6th, but sometimes on the Sunday nearest, and sometimes in mid-Lent, which is a good time for it, as I believe the glimpse of glory in Christ they saw on the mount of the Transfiguration was given in order to sustain the disciples through darkness that would lead to Good Friday. Indeed it is for a disciple, looking back at the transfiguration from Good Friday, that I have voiced the poem. As always please feel free to copy or use the poem in prayer or liturgy; you can hear me read the poem by pressing the ‘play’ button or clicking on its title.


For that one moment, ‘in and out of time’,
On that one mountain where all moments meet,
The daily veil that covers the sublime
In darkling glass fell dazzled at his feet.
There were no angels full of eyes and wings
Just living glory full of truth and grace.
The Love that dances at the heart of things
Shone out upon us from a human face
And to that light the light in us leaped up,
We felt it quicken somewhere deep within,
A sudden blaze of long-extinguished hope
Trembled and tingled through the tender skin.
  Nor can this this blackened sky, this darkened scar
  Eclipse that glimpse of how things really are.


Filed under christianity, literature

23 responses to “Transfiguration

  1. Elizabeth Winder Noyes

    A sonnet to remind me that artists need to reflect back to the world the only true and beautiful reality.

  2. I continue to be blessed by your sonnets and shared this one on fb.
    It’s possible that you might be interested in the latest post on my blog, The Life I Read, on the “mutable meaning of a supposedly immutable book” where I discuss illustrations in children’s Bibles. Blessings, K Cummings Pipes

  3. Malcolm, I’d love to link but I’m having trouble. You might try a copy & paste.

  4. Pingback: CS Lewis Summer Institute at Oxbridge 2011: Looking Back, Looking Ahead - Hieropraxis | Hieropraxis

  5. Paul Durksen

    You remind us to never give up no matter how bleak our circumstances may appear. Thanks for that encouragement.

  6. A fine introduction to your work. I will have more.

    • malcolmguite

      Thank you Byron, im glad you liked this one and I hope you enjoy some of the other sonnets too. You can follow through the sonnets on the blog by clicking ‘sonnets’ on the ‘tag cloud’ in my ‘side bar’

  7. Thanks Malcolm. I’ve been committing “Mozart at Greenbelt” to memory while walking my dog the past few days. It is a deeply stirring poem for me – as is this.

    There is so much of Spring in your poems and in your spirit – “the dearest freshness deep down things.”

    Hi to Maggie and Felicity! Peace to you and yours.

  8. Pingback: Living the Legacy of C.S. Lewis » Blog Archive » Looking Back, Looking Ahead – by Dr. Holly Ordway

  9. Karen Looby

    A beautiful poem. Thanks to Steve Bell for pointing the way to your works.

  10. Pingback: A Sonnet for the Church of St Edward King and Martyr - Hieropraxis | Hieropraxis

  11. A breakthrough moment of “vision over visibility”, to quote a Bard-y Bono. Your poem captures the shine of something beautiful appearing through blackness and dirt. The timbre of a monk singing as he scrubs a very beautiful floor. Thank you for the craftsmanship and beauty that you have brought to this blog. I’m thankful.

  12. Used this at All Saints Milton this morning: very helpful, thank you.

  13. Heather Howell

    Thankyou for the Transfiguration sonnet. I used it near the end of yestrday’s sermon, and it clearly struck responsive appreciative chords in members of the congregation, as well as in me.

  14. Pingback: A Few of My Favorite Things {September 2016} | The Trotter Family

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