A Sonnet for Julian of Norwich

saintj85The 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. 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 is in my book The Singing Bowl which you can buy on Amazon or order from any good bookshop.. I will be preaching about Julian this Sunday the 11th May at St. Edward’s King and Martyr at 11 am. All Welcome. I’m posting this a little early in case you would like to incorporate the poem into church services or other celebrations.

As always you can hear the poem by clicking on the ‘play’ button or on the title.

Mother Julian


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.


From the Amhurst Manuscript of Julian’s showings


Filed under christianity, literature

10 responses to “A Sonnet for Julian of Norwich

  1. Only love forever… Love this Malcolm.

  2. I used to keep an acorn on my desk in tough times to remind me of Julian’s hazelnut. “This is, and it will continue to be, because God loves it. And so it is with everything God loves.”
    That “anchor-hold / Deep in the love of God” – perfect image.

  3. Bethany R.

    Hope-filled and lovely. Thank you for sharing this with us.

  4. Pingback: Julian of Norwich | Lizzie Ludlow's blog

  5. Malcolm, thank you for your blog and for all your sonnets now on my Kindle and given to friends in book form. At St Matthew’s in Sherwood (near Brisbane in Aus) we used your Julian of Norwich sonnet at Communion last Wednesday (one day early) and the feedback from the congregation of eight was universal acclaim. The whole thing works very well so won’t take any lines out of context. Thank you. Revd Peter Shayler-Webb

    • malcolmguite

      Thanks for that encouragement Peter. It’s good to know that the poems have made their way as far as Australia ! I’m glad your church is finding them helpful M

  6. A little delayed in replying, however I wanted to let you know that I forwarded this on to Revd Susan Blagden, St Hywyn’s, Aberdaron, who read it at our Thursday morning Eucharist on 8th May. thank you it was a joy to me to hear it read aloud.

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