A Sonnet for Ascension Day

 Here is a sonnet for Ascension Day, the glorious finale of the Easter Season. I’m posting it a day in advance, in case anyone would like to use it in a service, either on the day itself or else this Sunday.

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 .


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Filed under Girton

12 responses to “A Sonnet for Ascension Day

  1. Clifford Grier

    Thank you Malcolm. Another beautiful poem! I shall share your poem on my Church WhatsApp as you suggest! Thank you for your generous spirit!
    I sometimes ponder the fact that we are ‘hidden’in Christ: I suppose we are hidden because others can’t see that we are, but we know it to be true! 😊

  2. “His light in us, and ours in him concealed.”
    ~ Malcolm Guite
    Thank you for this. I will got out shining!

  3. Cynthia Mulliner

    Thank you for such a beautiful description of the Ascension. The idea of our inclusion is so special , and Yes, I too, will feel I can go out Shining in His light.

  4. debra stevenson

    Thanks Judy I love the way he speaks it into hearts

    Sent from my iPhone


  5. Thank you so much for sharing this moving and prayerful sonnet, and a very blessed Ascension Day to you.

  6. bgulland72

    He is in the Heaven which is at the heart of all things now… that’s a beautiful and eye-opening thought especially, thanks, and for the whole 🙂

  7. Vera Ivanova

    Hi, Malcolm, I like your poetry and I was inspired and translated into Bulgarian A Sonnet on Ascension Day. Can I submit it to some online magazine and also send it to my pastor to be used in his sermon? Thanks in advance! Best regards, Vera

    • malcolmguite

      Dear Vera thanks for this I am honoured that you should translate my poem. Yes of course send it to your pastor. If you submit it to an online magazine just mention that it is from my book Sounding The Seasons published by Canterbury Press

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