A Sonnet for Petertide.


The 29th of June is St. Peter’s day, when we remember the disciple who, for all his many mistakes, knew how to recover and hold on, who, for all his waverings was called by Jesus ‘the rock’, who learned the threefold lesson that every betrayal can ultimately be restored by love. It is fitting therefore that it is at Petertide that new priests and deacons are ordained, on the day they remember a man whose recovery from mistakes and openness to love can give them courage. So I post this poem not only for St. Peter but for all those being ordained this weekend and in memory of my own ordination as a priest on this day 26 years ago.

This poem comes from my collection Sounding the Seasons published by Canterbury Press. You can also buy it on Amazon Uk or US or order it in any bookshop. My Canadian readers can get it from Steve Bell.

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

St. Peter

Impulsive master of misunderstanding

You comfort me with all your big mistakes;

Jumping the ship before you make the landing,

Placing the bet before you know the stakes.

I love the way you step out without knowing,

The way you sometimes speak before you think,

The way your broken faith is always growing,

The way he holds you even when you sink.

Born to a world that always tried to shame you,

Your shaky ego vulnerable to shame,

I love the way that Jesus chose to name you,

Before you knew how to deserve that name.

And in the end your Saviour let you prove

That each denial is undone by love.


Filed under christianity

13 responses to “A Sonnet for Petertide.

  1. Maggie Wells

    What a powerful poem. It made me realize that Peter was blessed to be named by very God. Your poem gave me a sense of the impact of that event.

  2. Wow. Excellent. Peter has always ‘spoken’ to me, too….I am the worst of all of his foibles.

  3. I love the way that Jesus chose to name you,
    Before you knew how to deserve that name.

    The many human sides of Peter your portray resonates so meaningfully to me. That I would be bolder to step out more and trust that God is drawing me with each faulty step toward the name he is calling me – to be.

  4. Pingback: A Sonnet for Petertide – SEO

  5. Enda M McDonagh

    Thank you for sonnet for Petertide and congratulations on 26th Anniversary of your ordination. I recently celebrated my 62nd same digitals different order and no poems to my name. I am always delighted to receive yours and keep forgetting to order .your collections. I will do it right now in case I forget it again. warmest greetings and prayerful good wishes. Enda Mc Donagh


    • malcolmguite

      Thanks Enda so glad you’re enjoying these and congratulations on your 62nd(!!) anniversary- that’s a very good innings!

  6. Darrell Harris

    So very powerful, personal and human. Thank you! Is there a St Paul one coming? Or are they not celebrated on the same day in the UK? Again, thanks Padre!

    • malcolmguite

      Yes we sometimes do Peter and Paul together and I have a separate sonnet on St. Paul which I usually post on Jan 25th the feast of his conversion. Just put ‘Paul’ in the search box on my blog and you’ll find it! M

  7. Cindy Lange

    St. Peter always comforts me. He feebly on the water, and is criticized for sinking, but he’s the only one he stepped out of the boat.

  8. (SIster) Helen Cameron, IBVM

    Malcolm, I love this and I love Peter – so full of all our human foibles and such a model of how to gather up my fragmented desire for discipleship and start again. This was a wonderful gift on this feast day. Thank you!

  9. Jane Robertson

    I will, God willing, be ordained priest tomorrow. Our retreat leader mentioned you so being someone who has always met God through poetry I had to look you up! This poem feels like a gift on the eve of something so wonderful yet terrifying. I suspect your words will become companions on the road ahead. Thank you.

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