Quiet lives and steady lights

It’s been quite a while since I offered a piece by modern poet Malcolm Guite. An academic and an Anglican priest, he is particularly interested in the relationship between religion and the arts. He often uses traditional forms such as the sonnet to frame his modern take on traditional subjects, such as the Christian calendar.

Here he writes for the feast of All Saints, though we can say that it touches the next day too, All Souls. It helps to read these pieces slowly and maybe a few times. Stay with a phrase that catches your attention, such as “quiet lives and steady lights undimmed”, “the ones we shunned and shamed” or “the gathered glories of His wounded love”.

Though Satan breaks our dark glass into shards Each shard still shines with Christ’s reflected light, It glances from the eyes, kindles the words
Of all his unknown saints. The dark is bright

With quiet lives and steady lights undimmed,
The witness of the ones we shunned and shamed. Plain in our sight and far beyond our seeing
He weaves them with us in the web of being.

They stand beside us even as we grieve,
The lone and left behind whom no one claimed, Unnumbered multitudes, he lifts above
The shadow of the gibbet and the grave,
To triumph where all saints are known and named; The gathered glories of His wounded love.

From “Sounding the Seasons” Canterbury Press

Fr Matthew