Let not your hearts be troubled: a new sonnet

tumblr_mgadfnKBYV1qk4nc3o1_500Here is a new sonnet from my work in progress ‘Parable and Paradox’, a sonnet sequence on the sayings of Jesus, to be published next year.  This sonnet is a reflection on John 14:1-3.

 Let not your heart be troubled: ye believe in God, believe also in me. In my Father’s house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also.

This saying was not uttered on some sunny morning when all is going well, but on the night Jesus was betrayed, the night before he died, and in that poignant scene he shared their pain, and shares with all us the sheer tragedy of our mortality. But even as he prepared them for the sorrow of parting  he also instilled in them the hope of resurrection, the hope of Heaven and homecoming which they could not yet see.

This passage is very often chosen, and rightly so, as a reading at funerals, because it expresses both empathy and hope, and when I came to compose this sonnet I was gathering together the thoughts and prayers of the many funerals I have taken and hoping to write something that might be helpful, in opening these verses for people who choose to have them read at a funeral.

I have also developed these ideas a little in a sermon I preached this last Sunday at Girton which you can listen to here

As always you can hear me read the sonnet by clicking on the title or the play button

Let not your hearts be troubled


John 14:1-3


Always there comes this parting of the ways

The best is wrested from us, borne away,

No one is with us always, nothing stays,

Night swallows even the most perfect day.

Time makes a tragedy of human love,

We cleave forever to the one we choose

Only to find ‘forever’ in the grave.

We have just time enough to love and lose.


You know too well this trouble in our hearts

Your heart is troubled for us, feels it too,

You share with us in time that shears and parts

To draw us out of time and into you.

I go that you might come to where I am

Your word comes home to us and brings us home.


Filed under christianity, literature

12 responses to “Let not your hearts be troubled: a new sonnet

  1. Simply beautiful… Thank you!

  2. Thank you. Perfect timing as we are holding our annual service to remember those who have died on Sunday.

  3. I am definitely going to add this sonnet to my personal collection of resources for funerals. Thank you for posting it. I’m looking forward to the publication of your Parable and Paradox.

  4. Roger Verrall

    Thank you Simom.
    Beautiful paraphrase of a well loved passage.
    Like preacherwoman I would like to consider it for Our Time to Remember Service in October.
    And it certainly will be a funeral resource.
    Will recognize fully the source.
    Thank you
    Roger Verrall

  5. Roger Verrall

    Sorry I think t should have been Thank Malcom Guite( this post came though Simon Martin and Lay Anglcana so misread the authorship.
    Roger Verrall

  6. Reblogged this on wageletec and commented:

  7. Pingback: Of Roses and Other Beautiful Things | Scribo:Girl

  8. Malcolm,
    i have reposted this, assuming your permission, along with two other sonnets on the same portion of scripture, at http://dcbverse.blogspot.co.uk/2015/07/let-not-your-heart-be-troubled.html

  9. Pingback: Parable and Paradox | Scribo:Girl

  10. Jonathan D. Campbell

    I am a composer of choral music. Could I have written permission to set this to music for choir and piano, and to subsequently publish it?

    • malcolmguite

      Thanks Jonathan I am happy to give you my personal permission to set this piece and would be glad to hear your setting. If you subsequently published it for commercial sale you would also need my publisher’s permission but that should be fairly easy to obtain from Canterbury Press

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