St. Clare: a Sonnet

Santa Chiara, lovely claritas

Santa Chiara, lovely claritas

August the 11th is the day the church remembers St. Clare, friend and companion of Francis, founder of the Poor Clares, her love for Christ, her share in the vision of St. Francis and her extraordinary gifts a soul-guide, friend, and leader made her a shining light and a clear mirror of Christ for thousands in her lifetime and still a light and inspiration to Christians from many denominations today. Here is my sonnet in her honour reflecting on the meaning of her name, and life as light and clarity. This sonnet will appear in my next volume of poetry The Singing Bowl to be published this November by the Canterbury Press. As always you can hear the poem by clicking on the ‘play’ button if it appears, or on the title.


Santa Chiara, lovely claritas

Whose soul in stillness holds love’s pure reflection,

Shining through you as Holy Caritas,

Lucid and lucent, bringing to perfection

The girl whom Love has called to call us all

Back into truth, simplicity and grace.

Your love for Francis, radiant through the veil,

Reveals in both of you your saviour’s face.

Christ holds the mirror of your given life

Up to the world he gives himself to save,

A sacrament to keep your city safe,

A window into his eternal love.

Unveiled in heaven, dancing in the light,

Pray for this pilgrim soul in his dark night.



Filed under christianity, literature

13 responses to “St. Clare: a Sonnet

  1. Sigh. So very beautiful. Thank you as always for being such a steward of beauty and craftsmanship.


    An idea for your next bowl: a cd with your reading with the book.

  3. “A sacrament to keep your city safe”

    Excellent reference to a strange and beautiful story! Perfect and lovely.

  4. Ian Fraser

    I thoroughly enjoy the simple beauty, messages and rhythms of your sonnets. Sounds the Seasons, some of the sonnets I read at my bible study group, has become something of a hit with the clergy at St. Peter’s, Harrogate. I am looking forward to The Singing Bowl, and speaking as a craftsman, in wood, to a wordsmith, I can appreciate the amount the effort needed to bring together a structure that fulfils a purpose, and, moreover is lovely to behold. Thank God for our gifts, and the wisdom to share them.

    • malcolmguite

      Thanks. Good to hear from a fellow craftsman. There’s probably quite a lot in common between working in wood and working in words

      • I think that they go together well, working wood, and working words, lots of resonances and analogies, and as any Christian knows, there is a carpenter from Nazareth who seeks joiners. One of my dearest friends, Barry Horton, another chippie, is amongst the wisest and most eloquent of people I know, his beliefs are in the field of esotericism, and we have many discussions and debates. This is my blog, btw, please feel free to have a wander through…..

  5. Me again, I note that a website is asked for, and I forgot to put a link to my blog here, sorry!

  6. Thanks for this. Our daughters middle name is after Clare (we spelled it Claire). She is Stella Claire, our clear, bright star. She is young but we will tell her why who we named her after and I think this poem will one day be a part of that telling. Looking forward to the book coming out.

  7. Hello Malcolm, I think you would find this an interesting read, just drawing out a bit the analogies of working with wood and working with words. The author, David Pye, was a designer, and lecturer at RCA, craftsman in wood, architect, and wordsmith, and this book is a classic, The Nature and Art of Workmanship:

    A key thesis in the book is the dichotomy and tension between the workmanship of certainty, and the workmanship of risk. It strikes me that you are within the realms of the workmanship of risk. Discerning new meanings and insights, with careful choice and linking of words, phrases, imagery, and perhaps not quite certain what the outcome will be.

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