Russian -inspired icon of the transfiguration, artist unknown

Continuing my series of sonnets ‘Sounding the Seasons’ of the Church’s year, here is a sonnet for the feast of the transfiguration. The Transfiguration is usually celebrated on August 6th, but sometimes on the Sunday nearest, and sometimes in mid-Lent, which is a good time for it, as I believe the glimpse of glory in Christ they saw on the mount of the Transfiguration was given in order to sustain the disciples through darkness that would lead to Good Friday. Indeed it is for a disciple, looking back at the transfiguration from Good Friday, that I have voiced the poem. As always please feel free to copy or use the poem in prayer or liturgy; you can hear me read the poem by pressing the ‘play’ button or clicking on its title.


For that one moment, ‘in and out of time’,
On that one mountain where all moments meet,
The daily veil that covers the sublime
In darkling glass fell dazzled at his feet.
There were no angels full of eyes and wings
Just living glory full of truth and grace.
The Love that dances at the heart of things
Shone out upon us from a human face
And to that light the light in us leaped up,
We felt it quicken somewhere deep within,
A sudden blaze of long-extinguished hope
Trembled and tingled through the tender skin.
Nor can this this blackened sky, this darkened scar
Eclipse that glimpse of how things really are.


Filed under christianity, literature

7 responses to “Transfiguration

  1. Karen

    Thank you for this beautiful poem! The reality it speaks of gives great encouragement to my heart this day.

  2. It was wonderful to hear you at the Glen. Thank you!

  3. Alma Brayden

    What a wonderful sonnet. So powerful, so true.

  4. I love this sonnet and have returned to it many times since I bought your ‘Sounding the Seasons’ book of sonnets. The lines “The love that dances at the heart of things Shone out among us from a human face” speak to me also of the Incarnation. I have on 2 occasions visited Mount Tabor, one of the traditional sites of the Transfiguration. On the 2nd of these was during a retreat and I took your poem with me. Thank you. I have linked to your site in a post on my blog today.

  5. Diana Hershey

    Malcolm thank you for this. My heart rose in hope and joy.

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