A Sonnet for Julian of Norwich

Icon of Julian with her cat by Br Robert Lentz OFM

The 8th of May is the feast day of Julian of Norwich, sometimes known as Mother Julian or Lady Julian. She was an English Mystic of the late fourteenth Century, living as an Anchoress in Norwich. Her Shewings, or Revelations of Divine Love, a series of mystical visions of and conversations with Jesus, remain a source of profound wisdom and a gift to the church, present and future. For a good introduction to her work I recommend Julia Bolton Holloway’s website, she is herself an anchoress in Florence, and Robert Llewlyn’s classic work ‘With Pity, not With Blame, now reprinted by the Canterbury Press.

This poem is from my book The Singing Bowl which you can buy on Amazon or order from any good bookshop.  Please feel free to use this poem in services, and print it in service bulletins, just include a brief acknowledgement that it comes from ‘The Singing Bowl’, Canterbury Press, 2013. Thanks

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

Mother Julian


Show me O anchoress, your anchor-hold

Deep in the love of God, and hold me fast.

Show me again in whose hands we are held,

Speak to me from your window in the past,

Tell me again the tale of Love’s compassion

For all of us who fall onto the mire,

How he is wounded with us, how his passion

Quickens the love that haunted our desire.

Show me again the wonder of at-one-ment

Of Christ-in-us distinct and yet the same,

Who makes, and loves, and keeps us in each moment,

And looks on us with pity not with blame.

Keep telling me, for all my faith may waver,

Love is his meaning, only love, forever.


From the Amhurst Manuscript of Julian’s showings


Filed under christianity, Poems

6 responses to “A Sonnet for Julian of Norwich

  1. Cynthia Mulliner

    Thank you for this lovely Sonnet, shall share it with our Rector who gave us a beautiful glimpse of Julian’s emphasis on Love at our midweek Eucharist this morning.

  2. Reblogged this on Pastor Michael Moore's Blog and commented:
    A beautiful Sonnet on Lady Julian’s feast day

  3. Your poem draws me to her. Thank you!

  4. Jackie Gooding

    Master craftsman who knows how to write,
    Like Herbert before you, Rev Guite:
    You’re a priest and a poet,
    Prolific: we know it –
    Can you spare my friend Robin some “light”?

    Rev Robin Stockitt has been my friend since 1982 when we met as teachers in Plateau State, Nigeria. He read your tome on Coleridge TWICE (!) and wrote on The Rime of the Ancient Mariner as his PhD (Tubingen) which I thought you might be interested to read. Jeremy Begbie was his tutor when studying God and imagination.
    When I visited Robin recently in N.Ireland (where they have a fantastic Victorian sea-view Air Bnb flat in Bangor) he showed me his own collection of poems. I suggested he should e-mail them to you to peruse. He’s already sent a draft to Canterbury Press hoping for publication but it wasn’t accepted. Having taught English for 42 years, I think the poems are good and deserve a wider audience. Robin’s e-mail is robin.stockitt@gmail.com and I’d be grateful if you could send him a message saying EITHER you’re happy to correspond with him OR you haven’t got the time. He’ll appreciate any advice you can give. I gave him “The Singing Bowl” which he’s enjoying.

    Thank you from your aged “groupie” Jackie Gooding, about to visit Jennifer Bell in Leicester.

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