Trinity Sunday; A Sonnet


Continuing my cycle of sonnets for the Church year. Here is one for Trinity Sunday. By coming to us as the Son, revealing to us the Father, and sending to us the Spirit, Jesus revealed the deepest mystery; that God is not distant and alone, but is three in one, a communion of love who comes to make His home with us.

The Rublev Icon, above, shows the Three in One inviting us to share in that communion. If, as I believe, we are made in the image of God, as beings in communion with one another in the name of that Holy and Undivided Trnity whose being is communion, then we will find reflections and traces of the Trinitarian mystery in all our loving and making. I have tried to suggest this throughout the poem and especially in the phrase ‘makes us each the other’s inspiration’ and Margot Krebs Neale has taken this idea of mutual and coinherent inspiration and remaking in the remarkable image she has made in response to this sonnet which follows the poem, an image which involves the mutually -inspired work of three artists and is one picture woven of three images. She writes to me about this image:

“The Triune Poet makes us for His glory,

And makes us each the other’s inspiration.”

sent me in this direction…

The picture of you is by Lancia Smith

the picture of me is by Peter Nixon

the picture of the infinite is by an artist i don’t know

the composition is by me

As usual you can hear the poem by clicking on the ‘play’ button if it appears or on the title of the poem.

Readers who are interested in my use of the word ‘coinherent’ will find out more by watching the video of my talk about the British theologian Charles Williams, a friend and fellow inkling of CS Lewis which can be found here.

Trinity Sunday

In the Beginning, not in time or space,

But in the quick before both space and time,

In Life, in Love, in co-inherent Grace,

In three in one and one in three, in rhyme,

In music, in the whole creation story,

In His own image, His imagination,

The Triune Poet makes us for His glory,

And makes us each the other’s inspiration.

He calls us out of darkness, chaos, chance,

To improvise a music of our own,

To sing the chord that calls us to the dance,

Three notes resounding from a single tone,

To sing the End in whom we all begin;

Our God beyond, beside us and within.


Filed under imagination, Poems, Theology and Arts

18 responses to “Trinity Sunday; A Sonnet

  1. Ever since I saw it first aged 13 in Moscow, I have LOVED the Andrei Rublev Trinity! I could not say why. Their smiles, the sense of unity and individuality combined.

  2. Charles Twombly

    Malcolm, deep thanks for this.

  3. I love the mystery of three in one

  4. Lovely; thanks! Did I detect a difference between the audio and the text at the end of line 2?

    • malcolmguite

      Yes. Well spotted. The written text is the true one I just misread it when I was recording the audioboo!

  5. Herb Buller

    Please make it easier to forward these posts. After all, what you write is inspirational and encouraging. Who cares if it goes to the wrong address.

    • malcolmguite

      Not sure what you’re asking me to do here. Everything is as far as I know open and forwardable just copy the URL for any post and forward it to whomsoever you please

  6. love the feeling,meter, of rush as in trying to catch the truth of trinity quickly before our finite minds wander off or explode

    • yes, Nancy, these are two options my mind has taken in the face of what is bigger than what it can take…your comment is beautiful and yes poetry can catch the essence in a way that we can take as much or as little as we are prepared “summon the summoners”.

  7. anyone interested in a translation into French?
    Well, I tried:
    Au commencement, ni dans le temps ni dans l’espace,
    Mais dans le Vivant avant l’espace ou le temps,
    Dans la vie, dans l’Amour, dans la Grâce co-immanente
    En trois en un et un en trois, dans la rime,
    Dans la musique, dans tout le récit de la Création,
    A son image, son imagination,
    Le poète Trinitaire nous fait pour sa gloire,
    Et fait de chacun de nous, l’inspiration de l’autre.
    Il nous appelle hors des ténèbres, du chaos, du hasard,
    Pour improviser une musique qui soit nôtre,
    Pour faire vibrer la corde qui nous appelle à la danse,
    Trois notes retentissantes d’un ton unique,
    Pour chanter la Fin qui est notre commencement à tous;
    Notre Dieu, au-delà, à côté et en nous.
    Strangely, after doing this for someone, I understood the poem differently, it seemed that the ideas are the same but that French gives it a rationality, I had been less sensitive to in English. Maybe that is just how I take each of these language rather than the languages themselves.

  8. malcolmguite

    I love this ‘retentissantes’ is a fabulous word!

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