As many churches celebrate a Harvest Festival in these next few weeks I thought I would offer some poetry for the season. Some churches may like to use my little sequence celebrating the days of creation Seven Whole Days, but as the parable of the sower in Matthew Chapter 13 is so often set at harvest tide and is taken up in harvest hymns I thought I would also offer the sonnet I have written about that parable for my forthcoming sequence of poems Parable and Paradox, which will come out with Canterbury Press next year. Please feel free to make use of this or my other poetry in churches, and if you wish, to include it in church bulletins, just put a line to say ‘used with permission of the poet’ and, if there is space, put a link to this site. Thanks. This sonnet came to me very simply and swiftly like a song being sung, and so I have divided the sonnet form up into three four line verses, with the couplet at the end, which could itself be a kind of chorus, if anyone feels like singing it.
As always you can hear me read the poem by clicking on the title or the ‘play’ button.
Matthew 13: 1-9
And he spake many things unto them in parables, saying, Behold, a sower went forth to sow; And when he sowed, some seeds fell by the way side, and the fowls came and devoured them up: Some fell upon stony places, where they had not much earth: and forthwith they sprung up, because they had no deepness of earth: And when the sun was up, they were scorched; and because they had no root, they withered away. And some fell among thorns; and the thorns sprung up, and choked them: But other fell into good ground, and brought forth fruit, some an hundredfold, some sixtyfold, some thirtyfold. Who hath ears to hear, let him hear.
I love your simple story of the sower,
With all its close attention to the soil,
Its movement from the knowledge to the knower,
Its take on the tenacity of toil.
I feel the fall of seed a sower scatters,
So equally available to all,
Your story takes me straight to all that matters,
Yet understands the reasons why I fall.
Oh deepen me where I am thin and shallow,
Uproot in me the thistle and the thorn,
Keep far from me that swiftly snatching shadow,
That seizes on your seed to mock and scorn.
O break me open, Jesus, set me free,
Then find and keep your own good ground in me.