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 blackened sky, this darkened scar
Eclipse that glimpse of how things really are.


Filed under christianity, literature

16 responses to “Transfiguration

  1. (SIster) Helen Cameron, IBVM

    A favorite feast and a beautiful sonnet. I would so love to put up a tent here, like Simon Peter, but we need to come off the mountain and continue the work!

  2. Mike Koncsics

    “Love dancing at the center of things” reminds me of Charles Williams’ The Greater Trumps with the dancing figure at the center that can only be seen momentarily by a few but is actually holding the entire Dance together.

  3. Christine Pearson

    Hi Malcolm,

    Just read and listened to your Transfiguration sonnet. Such a lovely and accomplished poem. Thank you. I especially like lines 7 and 14.

    I shall be reading it tonight at my prayer group.

    Blessings Christine Pearson

  4. Thanks for sharing Malcolm. We talk about being an Easter People living in a Good Friday World. This short glimpse of the divine glory experienced by the three brings us hope as we straddle the gap between the old age and God’s Kingdom. It is a sonnet for our times – “Nor can this blackened sky, this darkened scar Eclipse that glimpse of how things really are”. I’ll be quoting your sonnet in my sermon Sunday – with gratitude.

  5. Word ~ langage transfigured.

  6. Thank you! Lovely poem. Those words make my spirit rise up in me, in hope.

  7. “Who appeared in glory, and spake of his decease which he should accomplish at Jerusalem.” How close the suffering and the glory! How it must have sustained the three who had seen the glory.

  8. Tha ks as always!! Happy Feast! Will end my sermonw this today…

    Vcs Osb

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  12. Amy Bentley Lamborn

    Beautiful poem. I used it in my sermon today.

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