Tag Archives: Christ

A sonnet for the Venerable Bede

bedeThe 25th of May is the day the Church remembers and celebrates the Venerable Bede, who died on that day in 735  Bede was a Saint and Scholar, whose wonderful Ecclesiastical History of the English People, is still the major source for early English History, as well as being, in itself a deeply inspiring book. He is buries in Durham cathedral and set above his tomb, in beautiful shimmering letters is the text of one of the prayers he wrote. My sonnet in celebration of Bede draws on this prayer so I give its text here in both Latin and English and have posted a photograph of it below the poem.

As always you can hear the poem by clicking on the title or the ‘play’ button. This poem is from my collection of verse ‘The Singing Bowl’, published by  Canterbury Press

Bede’s Prayer:

Christus est stella matutina, Alleluia

Qui nocte saeculi transacta, Alleluia

Lucem vitae sanctis promittit, Alleluia;

Et pandit aeternam, Alleluia

 

(Christ is the morning star who when the night of this world is past brings to his saints the promise of the light of life & opens everlasting day.)



Bede

I kneel above your bones and read your words.

Church-Latin letters, shimmering in gold,

A kingdom-glimmer through the dark and cold,

A revelation gleaming on the shards

Of all our broken lives and promises.

Christus est stella matutina

Qui nocte saeculi transacta

Christ is the morning star. He promises

The light of life when this dark night is past…

Lucem vitae sanctis promittit

You speak for all his Wounded witnesses,

The morning star will shine on us at last.

Scholar and saint, illuminate the way

That opens into everlasting day.

Bede's Prayer

Bede’s Prayer

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7 sonnets on the Lord’s Prayer: 6 The Time of Trial

As Evil slams its hammer

As evil slams its hammer

This is the sixth in the sequence of seven sonnets on the Lord’s Prayer which I am posting this week as part of the Church Of England’s Thy Kingdom Come week of prayer leading up to Pentecost. The Sonnets will be published together in my new book Parable and Paradox at the end of this month.

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

I am grateful to Philippa Pearson for choosing the images that accompany this series.

Lead Us Not into Temptation, But Deliver Us from Evil

 

Oh do not bring us to the time of trial,

Deliver us, deliver us from evil.

How is it that your own petitions fail

As evil slams its hammer to the anvil?

For you were brought to trial and not delivered

You let the prince of darkness do his worst

The sun shrank from that sight, the whole world shivered,

The fount of blessing let himself be cursed.

 

How is it? Is it that your dereliction

Makes possible the answer to my prayer?

Am I delivered by your bitter passion,

As you face every evil for me there?

Unanswered answerer, forsaken friend,

Bring me to my beginning through your end.

 

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7 sonnets on the Lord’s Prayer: 5 Forgive as we Forgive

Oh lift my given load that I, forgiven, Might give away forgiveness, free as heaven.

Oh lift my given load that I, forgiven,
Might give away forgiveness, free as heaven.

This is the  fifth in the sequence of seven sonnets on the Lord’s Prayer which I am posting this week as part of the Church Of England’s Thy Kingdom Comeweek of prayer leading up to Pentecost. The Sonnets will be published together in my new book Parable and Paradox at the end of this month.

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

I am grateful to Philippa Pearson for choosing the images that accompany this series.

Forgive Us as We Forgive

 

Forgive as we forgive: the prayer you give us,

Comes home so close yet radiates so far.

We set the limits on our own forgiveness;

As generous or grudging as we are.

The wounds we give and take in all our weakness,

The injuries that smoulder, burning slow,

The sins that others visited upon us,

Are ours to hold or utterly let go.

 

You tell the story of the wretched debtor,

The one forgiven everything he owed,

Who then exacted payment, to the letter,

From one who could not bear the given load.

Oh lift my given load that I, forgiven,

Might give away forgiveness, free as heaven.

 

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7 sonnets on the Lord’s Prayer: 4 Daily Bread

And send away to others all they reap,

And send away to others all they reap,

This is the  fourth in the sequence of seven sonnets on the Lord’s Prayer which I am posting this week as part of the Church Of England’s Thy Kingdom Come week of prayer leading up to Pentecost. The Sonnets will be published together in my new book Parable and Paradox at the end of this month.

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

I am grateful to Philippa Pearson for choosing the images that accompany this series.

Daily Bread

 

Give us this day our daily bread we pray,

As though it came straight from the hand of God,

As though we held an empty plate each day,

And found it filled, by miracle, with food,

Although we know the ones who plough and sow,

Who pick and plant and package whilst we sleep

With slow backbreaking labour, row by row,

And send away to others all they reap,

 

We know that these unseen who meet our needs

Are all themselves the fingers of your hand,

As are the grain, the rain, the air, the land,

And, slighting these, we slight the hand that feeds.

What if we glimpsed you daily in their toil

And found and thanked and served you through them all?

 

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7 sonnets on the Lord’s Prayer: 3 Thy Kingdom come

And we, who have been first, will be the last

And we, who have been first, will be the last

This is the  third in the sequence of seven sonnets on the Lord’s Prayer which I am posting this week as part of the church Of England’s Thy Kingdom Comeweek of prayer leading up to Pentecost. The Sonnets will be published together in my new book Parable and Paradox at the end of this month. I am grateful to Philippa Pearson for choosing the images that accompany this series.

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

Thy Kingdom Come, Thy Will Be done

 

Thy kingdom come thy will be done on earth

Can we imagine what we’re asking for?

When all we know and all we think we’re worth

As vanity might vanish, disappear,

Fading before the splendours you reveal:

The beggars crowned with glory, all the meek

Exalted even as the mighty fall,

And everywhere the triumph of the weak.

 

And we, who have been first, will be the last

And queue for mercy like the refugees

Whom only moments earlier we passed

By on the other side. For now the seas

That separated are no more. The Sun

Is risen like justice, and his will is done.

 

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7 sonnets on the Lord’s Prayer: 2 Hallowed be thy Name

And summons us to stand on holy ground

And summons us to stand on holy ground

This is the  second in the sequence of seven sonnets on the Lord’s Prayer which I am posting this week as part of the church Of England’s Thy Kingdom Come week of prayer leading up to Pentecost. The Sonnets will be published together in my new book Parable and Paradox at the end of this month.

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

I am grateful to Philippa Pearson for choosing the images that accompany this series, and to Margot Krebs Neale for the image which follows the poem

Hallowed be Thy Name

 

There’s something in the sound of the word hallow;

A haunting sense of everything we’ve lost

Amidst the trite, the trivial, the shallow,

Where nothing lingers, nothing seems to last.

But Hallowed, summons up our fear and wonder,

And summons us to stand on holy ground.

To sense the mystery that stands just under

Familiar things we’ll never understand.

 

Hallowed be thy name: the name unspoken,

The name from which all other names arise,

The name that heals the sick and binds the broken,

Whose living glory calls the dead to rise.

You make this prayer my rising and my rest

That I might bless the name by which I’m blessed.

Holy Ground

Holy Ground

 

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7 sonnets on the Lord’s Prayer: 1 Our Father

His 'welcome home.

His Welcome Home.

From the 8th – 15th, of May, the Week running up to Pentecost, the Church of England is especially celebrating the Lord’s Prayer and using it to pray for renewal in church and Nation. Full details of this celebration can be found on the  Thy Kingdom Come website.

As part of that celebration I am posting over the next seven days the sequence of sonnets I have written on the Lord’s Prayer which will be published at the end of this month in my new book Parable and Paradox Here is the first of them. In this sonnet I am trying to recover the sense of sheer surprise and grace the disciples must have experienced on first being given this prayer. They all knew that Jesus had a special relationship with the Father, that he was in some sense ‘the only begotten Son’, and when they asked him to teach them how to pray I’m sure they did not expect to share the intimate words he shared with his Father, but rather to be given a form of prayer suited to their lowly status as servants or disciples. They must have been utterly astonished to be invited to pray, just as Jesus did, to pray as already beloved children! This poem is voiced for one of the disciples expressing that astonishment.

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

Our Father

 

I heard him call you his beloved son

And saw his Spirit lighten like a dove,

I thought his words must be for you alone,

Knowing myself unworthy of his love.

You pray in close communion with your Father,

So close you say the two of you are one,

I feel myself to be receding further,

Fallen away and outcast and alone.

 

And so I come and ask you how to pray,

Seeking a distant supplicant’s petition,

Only to find you give your words away,

As though I stood with you in your position,

As though your Father were my Father too,

As though I found his ‘welcome home’ in you.

 

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