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 28 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.

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, imagination, Poems

11 responses to “A Sonnet for Petertide.

  1. Evangeline M. (Ruth) DeMaster

    “And in the end your Saviour let you prove
    That each denial is undone by love.”
    Thank you, Malcolm. Such a helpful sonnet in the midst of rampant unknowing!

  2. Judith King

    Congratulations Malcolm, A beautiful and very touching poem, Judith


  3. Reblogged this on Pastor Michael Moore's Blog and commented:
    A beautiful Sonet from Malcolm Guite about one of my favorite Disciples… ready, shoot, aim Peter ❤️❤️

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  5. What a great tribute to a very relatable disciple. I wish I had had this poem to share with my youth group when we were studying the life of Peter.
    Thanks so much for sharing this!

  6. bgulland72

    I love the insight that God in Christ takes the initiative to call & name us before we can live up to it, thanks

  7. David C Brown

    Peter is so distinctive as an apostle, yet in his failures just like us.

    Adjusted by Christ’s might in the creation,
    Beside the feet of Jesus Peter knelt
    Acknowledging the sinfulness he felt.

    Adjusted by the Father’s revelation
    He found the humble Carpenter who trod
    Beside him was the Christ, the Son of God.

    Adjusted by severeness of rebuke
    He learned that Christ was ready to fulfil,
    Cost what it would, the details of God’s will.

    Adjusted by the glory of the Father
    He heard that no man’s glory might be linked
    With Christ since the Beloved is distinct.

    Adjusted by the Master’s loving look
    Appreciation of his vileness swept
    Across his being, and he turned and wept.

    Adjusted by the Shepherd’s yen to gather
    He came with those whom Jesus folded in
    To form a circle Christ could come within.

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