Thoroughly Alive

We must hunger after the beautiful and the good...


Christmas in Cadence :: 2 :: Malcolm Guite

Today's Christmas poem is by one of my best-loved contemporary poets. My dad and I both have delighted in Malcolm's Guite's poetry, particularly his sonnets in Sounding the Seasons, a cycle of seventy sonnets following the church year. Malcolm's poems have been a regular addition to my devotions. I find myself savoring his words, saying them over in my mind long after I have read them. I'm delighted to share one of his sonnets from Sounding the Seasons here, because I think his book get at what I'm after in this particular series of posts: an awareness of the cadence underlying life. There is a rhythm to celebration and to rest, a music beneath the ordinary hours and the the high, holy days, and sometimes words like the ones below renew our awareness of it. With this in mind, I have chosen the following poem because I love that the poem is about the way that Christmas reorients the whole world, and our own hearts with it. On the Edge

Christmas sets the centre on the edge; The edge of town, the outhouse of the inn, The fringe of empire, far from privilege And power, on the edge and outer spin Of  turning worlds, a margin of small stars That edge a galaxy itself light years From some unguessed at cosmic origin. Christmas sets the centre at the edge.

And from this day our world is re-aligned A tiny seed unfolding in the womb Becomes the source from which we all unfold And flower into being. We are healed, The end begins, the tomb becomes a womb, For now in him all things are re-aligned.

By Malcolm Guite, used with the very kind permission of the author.

Please do take a peek at his lovely blog here (poems regularly posted!) and you can find his books, including his newest collection of poems, The Singing Bowl, here. Also, I can't let the opportunity pass to please urge you all once more (see previous thoughts here) to read his Faith, Hope, and PoetryThat book, like some of Wendell Berry's writing, articulated things I felt but could not yet quite say. He defends the truth of "imagination as a truth-bearing faculty," and has deeply shaped the way I think about the whole topic of imagination, story, and faith.

And, with a shy smile, I must also include the following photo of Malcolm and myself, taken in England a few weeks back. Such a lovely moment. I just couldn't keep it to myself.

photo (33)

Sarah Clarkson2 Comments