Hildegard of Bingen: A Sonnet

Tending the tree of Life by Hildegard of Bingen

Tending the tree of Life by Hildegard of Bingen

The 17th of September is the feast day of Abbess Hildegard of Bingen, a remarkable and prophetic woman, who described herself as ‘a feather on the breath of God’, and whose many works in theology, music, visual art, poetry and drama are still inspiring people today. Indeed she is coming more and more into her own, as one of her key ideas ‘Viriditas’, or the greening and life-renewing work of the Holy Spirit, seems especially apposite for our time. See this page on her by a contemporary Benedictine. Appropriately for Hildegard’s day, I will be taking part in a service at Ely Cathedral this evening at 6:30pm called Dark Reflections: Poetry Environment and Lament

Do come along if you can.

The photo below is by Margot Krebs Neale

I wrote this sonnet at Launde Abbey in Leicestershire where I shall be giving an Advent retreat next year. It is published in my new volume of poetry The Singing Bowl, Canterbury Press,  available on Amazon in both the US and the UK

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

Hildegard of Bingen

A feather on the breath of God at play,

You saw the play of God in all creation.

You drew eternal light into each day,

And every living breath was inspiration.

You made a play with every virtue playing,

Made music for each sister-soul to sing,

Listened for what each herb and stone was saying,

And heard the Word of God in everything.

 

Mother from mother earth and Magistra, 

Your song revealed God’s hidden gift to us;

The verdant fire, his holy harbinger

The greening glory of viriditas.

‘Cherish this earth that keeps us all alive’

Either we hear you, or we don’t survive.

 

Photo by Margot Krebs Neale

Photo by Margot Krebs Neale

3 Comments

Filed under christianity, Poems

3 responses to “Hildegard of Bingen: A Sonnet

  1. Mike Koncsics

    I believe the link to the mentioned article by a contemporary benedictine is now http://benedictinewomen.org/blog/honoring-hildegard-of-bingen/

  2. Ian farley

    Hi Malcolm You won’t know me but I have heard you a few times ,most recently at the Diocese of Chelmsford Refresh.Thank you for yesterday’s sonnet….which I have acted on in that i contacted Launde Abbey to book your Advent retreat 2018.They have no record of you leading any retreat.Can you advise?

    Ian Farley

    Sent from my iPad

    >

    • malcolmguite

      Ah. That’s my fault. I was reposting an old blog post with the poem and I must have forgotten to change that bit of the post. I led that advent retreat at Launde about 3years ago! Sorry about that!

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