The 8th of May is the feast day of Julian of Norwich, sometimes known as Mother Julian or Lady Julian. She was an English Mystic of the late fourteenth Century, living as an Anchoress in Norwich. Her shewings, or Revelations of Divine Love, a series of mystical visions of and conversations with Jesus, remain a source of profound wisdom and a gift to the church, present and future. On May the 11th I will be reading this and some other Poems at a conference in Carrow Abbey on The City and the Book; Julian and her contemporary relevance. for a good introduction to her work I recommend Julia Bolton Holloway’s website, she is herself an anchoress in Florence, and Robert Llewlyn’s classic work ‘With Pity, not With Blame, now reprinted by the Canterbury Press.
This poem will itself be printed by Canterbury press as part of my forthcoming book ‘The Singing Bowl’.
As always you can hear the poem by clicking on the ‘play’ button or on the title.
Show me O anchoress, your anchor-hold
Deep in the love of God, and hold me fast.
Show me again in whose hands we are held,
Speak to me from your window in the past,
Tell me again the tale of Love’s compassion
For all of us who fall onto the mire,
How he is wounded with us, how his passion
Quickens the love that haunted our desire.
Show me again the wonder of at-one-ment
Of Christ-in-us distinct and yet the same,
Who makes, and loves, and keeps us in each moment,
And looks on us with pity not with blame.
Keep telling me, for all my faith may waver,
Love is his meaning, only love, forever.
4 responses to “A Sonnet for Julian of Norwich”
I love this sonnet. The illustration is from the Amherst, rather than the Westminster, Manuscript. It dates itself ‘1413’. It has annotations, eyeskip corrections which I think are in Julian’s own hand, correcting her scribe who writes in the Grantham, Lincolnshire, dialect. See http://www.umilta.net/Amherst.html
Ah thanks for pointing that out Julia. The image itself came from your site but I must have mis- labelled it in my haste. I’ll correct that. See you in Norwich on Friday!
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