Posts Tagged: Malcolm Guite

Ascension Day


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 ourselves 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 .

Malcolm Guite.

Love-Laden Keening: All Souls Day


"We sing for a moment, not only with the angels, but with those whom we have loved and see no longer, those with whom we are still bound together in the communion of saints..."

Read more here: the sonnet and introduction by Malcolm Guite that have inspired me to create this picture Sanctus, Sanctus, Sanctus: A Requiem Sonnet for All Souls Day.

Songs set to photographs: a challenge

Continuing to put Malcolm Guite's beautiful songs on YouTube with photographs.
His songs are so full of images, it seems a real challenge.
But I do what I did with some of his poems before, I just listen to the feelings that those images summon up for me and then choose photographs in what I have. Sometimes I will take a picture specifically or make a composite picture but I try to not make it too busy so the beauty of the song remains central.

Redemption Song (A song for Ruth)

Sing a song of sowing
Carrying the seed
A song of hopeful planting
To meet a future need
Sing a song of letting go
And falling to the ground
Of burying that feels like loss
Still waiting to be found

There are no songs of famine
Hunger has no voice
The poor must scavenge what they can
While the rich are spoiled for choice
The stones of fear and anger
Will strike you from behind
Hunger hates the stranger
And cleaves to his own kind

Sing a song of exile
Loneliness and loss
A song of broken bridges
Nobody can cross
A song of desperation
For a word you can understand
A song of fearful labour
On someone else’s land

Then sing a song of marriage
The grace of bride and groom
The fruitful vine around the door
Joy within the room
A song of love and longing
For the children yet to be
A quiver-full of future hopes
Aimed at eternity

Sing a song of mourning
The shadows and the tombs
The bitterness of broken hearts
And disappointed wombs
Sing a song of empty words
And unexpressed despair
Of reaching out at midnight
For the one who isn’t there

Sing a song of waiting
Weeping on the earth
A song of expectation
Longing for new birth
Sing a song of patience
Of watching through the night
Sing those hours before the dawn
Then sing the coming light

Sing a song of harvest
Of one who bind the sheaves
And one who gleans along the edge
The good another leaves
Sing a song of winnowing
And taking into store
Of Barley heaped like glowing gold
All on the threshing floor

Sing out before the Lord of Life
Your songs of joy and pain
Sing of the years the locusts ate
That cannot come again
Sing to Him your hopes and fears
Your tales of right and wrong
And He will make your voice a part
Of His Redemption Song

©Malcolm Guite 2011
From the album "Dancing through the fire"
Cambridge Riffs Records

©Margot Krebs Neale

A song and its music set to photographs

Ragged Light Of The Evening
Malcolm Guite

I could make a bonfire of our vanity
Wouldn’t smoke out your memory
Something’s alight at the heart of that fire
You walk towards me through the ghosts of desire.

Hidden hearts still call to each other
But when you fall there's no return
If I ever learn to call you my lover
I do believe my tongue would burn.

You changed like an angel on the edge of my sight
The gift of your love was just a trick of the light
I still feel your touch in the shimmering rain
I'd rather be buried than feel that again.

Yes I brought you everything I believed in
Only to find the god withdrawn
I let you love me in the ragged light of the evening
But I loved you in the whisky light of dawn.

We walked together to the very edge
We kicked aside the last minute bridge
For all the years we've both fallen through
I still tremble on that brink with you.

Hidden hearts still call out to each other
But when you fall there's no return
If I ever learn to call you my lover
I do believe my tongue would burn.

You can tone down the colours, you can fade it to grey
You can move to the border where time fades away
Bury the feelings, scrub out the stain
In the blink of an eye it’s vivid again.

I brought you everything I believed in
Only to find the god withdrawn
I let you love me in the ragged light of the evening
And leave me in the whisky light of dawn.

From the album "The Green Man and other songs"
Copyright © Malcolm Guite 2007
Cambridge Riffs Records

Numbers, a song by Malcolm Guite


From the album Dancing through the fire
Cambridge Riffs Records

Numbers ©Malcolm Guite 2011

It took two loving bodies,
Bringing comfort through the night,
And two hearts beating faster
To bring Billy to the light,
Around a thousand kisses
Saw that baby on the way,
But it only took one finger
To blow it all away

It took a mother’s labour pains
It took a skillful midwife too,
Two grandmas knitting double-time
Those suits of baby blue,
It took years of love to raise him right
With room to grow and play
But it only took one second
To blow it all away

We cannot count the multitude
Who made us what we are
The many friends who formed us
And who carried us this far;
A hundred acts of kindness
That no one can repay
One finger, and one trigger
Can blow it all away

It took that teenage boy a while
To find his own two feet
So he took his best friend with him
On that sixteenth birthday treat
And the two boys took a shortcut
Down a darkened alleyway
And they walked into the crossfire
That took Billy’s life away

I don’t know how the gunman
Tells the story of that day
He was ‘taking care of business’
When some kid got in the way
We make it hard to grow up right
And hard to make things pay
But we sure make it easy
To blow everything away

It took forty-seven minutes
For the funeral to pass
Though it felt like we were crawling
Over miles of broken glass
And I saw it all in front of me
When I closed my eyes to pray:
The finger, and the trigger
And the life they took away

Malcolm Guite Vocals.Guitar.

Holy Cross Day

I am borrowing Malcolm Guite's description of Holy Cross Day and one of his poems from the Sonnets of the Cross in Sounding the Seasons; seventy Sonnets for the Christian Year Canterbury Press 2012

"Today, is Holy Cross day. It originally commemorated the day when Helena the Mother of Constantine was believed to have found the true cross, astonishing the inhabitants of Jerusalem by searching the rubbish tip of Golgotha and, on unearthing this discarded sign of shame, exalting it as the greatest treasure on earth. But this festival has become since then a day when any of us can again find the cross, still a discarded sign of shame, and find in it the greatest treasure and the source of grace."

The painting is by Alexandra Drysdale


A sonnet by Malcolm Guite on Holy Cross Day


He gives himself again with all his gifts
And now we give him something in return.
He gave the earth that bears, the air that lifts,
Water to cleanse and cool, fire to burn,
And from these elements he forged the iron,
From strands of life he wove the growing wood,
He made the stones that pave the roads of Zion
He saw it all and saw that it is good.
We took his iron to edge an axe’s blade,
We took the axe and laid it to the tree,
We made a cross of all that he has made,
And laid it on the one who made us free.
Now he receives again and lifts on high
The gifts he gave and we have turned awry.

p1030799smMalcolm Guite, the poet and Alexandra Drysdale, the painter. Michaelhouse, Cambridge, Easter 2011

Nos désirs

I took this photograph in Rennes after violent clashes between demonstrators, rioters and the police.

When I came back I read the last sonnet in the sequence of seven sonnets on the Lord’s Prayer by Malcolm Guite.

Here it is :

Thine is the Kingdom, and the Power, and the Glory

The kingdom and the power and the glory,
The very things we all want for ourselves!
We want to be the hero of the story
And leave the others on their dusty shelves.
How subtly we seek to keep the kingdom,
How brutally we hold on to the power,
Our glory always means another’s thralldom,
But still we strut and fret our little hour.

What might it mean to let it go forever,
To die to all that desperate desire,
To give the glory wholly to another,
Throw all we hold into that holy fire?
A wrenching loss and then a sudden freedom
In given glories and a hidden kingdom.

For all parties to reflect.


P1050316silent crossSG


November pierces with its bleak remembrance
Of all the bitterness and waste of war.
Our silence tries but fails to make a semblance
Of that lost peace they thought worth fighting for.
Our silence seethes instead with wraiths and whispers,
And all the restless rumour of new wars,
The shells are falling all around our vespers,
No moment is unscarred, there is no pause,
In every instant bloodied innocence
Falls to the weary earth ,and whilst we stand
Quiescence ends again in acquiescence,
And Abel’s blood still cries in every land
One silence only might redeem that blood
Only the silence of a dying God.

Malcolm Guite.

“We make His love too small”

A poem by Malcolm Guite

An extract of the explanation Malcolm gives about his poem is:

"We sometimes make his love, and the object of his love too small! We diminish and dwindle it down to some small time religious patter about the way we feel. In this sonnet I am trying to be open again to the literally Cosmic dimensions of John 3:16!"

Greece 039crsg

For God So Loved the World

The whole round world, in Greek the total cosmos,
Is all encompassed in this loving word;
Not just the righteous, right on, and religious,
But every one of whom you’ve ever heard,
And all the throng you don’t know or ignore,
For everyone is precious in his sight,
Chosen and cherished, loved, redeemed before
The circling cosmos ever saw the light.
He set us in the world that we might flourish
That His beloved world might live through us
We chose instead that all of this should perish
And turned his every blessing to a curse.
And now he gives himself, as Life and Light
That we might choose in Him to set things right.

More about his poem here For God so loved the World on Malcolm's blog.