A Sonnet for Ascension Day

 Here is a sonnet for Ascension Day, the glorious finale of the Easter Season. I’m posting it a couple of days in advance, in case anyone would like to use it in a service.

In the mystery of the Ascension we reflect on the way in which, one sense Christ ‘leaves’ us and is taken away into Heaven, but in another sense he is given to us and to the world in a new and more universal way. He is no longer located only in one physical space to the exclusion of all others. He is in the Heaven which is at the heart of all things now and is universally accessible to all who call upon Him. And since His humanity is taken into Heaven, our humanity belongs there too, and is in a sense already there with him.”For you have died”, says St. Paul, “and your life is hidden with Christ in God”. In the Ascension Christ’s glory is at once revealed and concealed, and so is ours.  The sonnet form seemed to me one way to begin to tease these things out.

This sonnet is drawn from my collection Sounding the Seasons, published by Canterbury Press here in England. The book is now back in stock on both Amazon UK and USA . The book is now also out on Kindle.

Please feel free to make use of this, and my other sonnets in church services and to copy and share them. If you can mention the book from which they are taken that would be great.
As always you can hear the sonnet by clicking on the ‘play’ button if it appears in your browser or by clicking on the title of the poem.

I’m grateful to Oliver Neale for the image above, the image below was taken as we launched rockets to celebrate Ascension day at Girton College:

We have lift off!


We saw his light break through the cloud of glory
Whilst we were rooted still in time and place
As earth became a part of Heaven’s story
And heaven opened to his human face.
We saw him go and yet we were not parted
He took us with him to the heart of things
The heart that broke for all the broken-hearted
Is whole and Heaven-centred now, and sings,
Sings in the strength that rises out of weakness,
Sings through the clouds that veil him from our sight,
Whilst we our selves become his clouds of witness
And sing the waning darkness into light,
His light in us, and ours in him concealed,
Which all creation waits to see revealed .


Filed under christianity

13 responses to “A Sonnet for Ascension Day

  1. annembutler

    I love this! Thank you for sharing your gifts to bless others, pointing us to God with beautiful, meaningful words and images.

    • malcolmguite


    • Patricia Youngdale, Austin, TX

      This qualifies as the “melodious sonnet” sung by flaming tongues above!

      Come, Thou Fount of every blessing
      Tune my heart to sing Thy grace
      Streams of mercy, never ceasing
      Call for songs of loudest praise
      Teach me some melodious sonnet
      Sung by flaming tongues above
      Praise the mount, I’m fixed upon it
      Mount of Thy redeeming love.

      Thank you, Malcolm … from Patricia

  2. janieseltzer

    Stunning Malcom, just stunning! Thank you!


  3. This sentence in particular is really great:

    “He is in the Heaven which is at the heart of all things now and is universally accessible to all who call upon Him.”

  4. Sylvia

    I will read this at tonight’s service Thank you

  5. David C Brown

    Wonderful to be associated withe the ascended Man! “He took us with Him …”

  6. Rosemary Reader and Writer

    Thank you for this wonderful and insightful sonnet. I will be reading at Evensong tomorrow.

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