Easter is a moveable feast. It arrives late this year, so March includes almost the entirety of Lent; a word that comes to us from the Old English lencten which is also related to ‘spring’. It is a season of change and reflection, but also the optimism of new life.

This year the readers of Literary Life will be joined by our friend Malcolm Guite as we read and discuss his beautiful book The Word in the Wilderness: A Poem a Day for Lent and Easter.

He reminds us in the introduction that

Lent is a time to reorient ourselves, clarify our minds, slow down, recover from distraction and focus on the values of God’s kingdom. Poetry, with its power to awaken the mind, is an ideal companion for such a time. This collection enables us to turn aside from everyday routine and experience moments of transfigured vision as we journey through the desert landscape of Lent and find refreshment along the way.

I hope you will join us, along with our other friends Dante, John Donne, George Herbert, Seamus Heaney, Rowan Williams, and others.  With Eliot perhaps we can ‘Redeem the unread vision of the higher dream’.

Habakkuk 2:3

For still the vision awaits its appointed time;
it hastens to the end—it will not lie.
If it seems slow, wait for it;
it will surely come; it will not delay.

Homecoming

Two rivers deepening into one;
less said, more meant; a field of corn
adjusting to harvest; a battle won
by yielding; days emptied to their brim;
an autumn; a wedding; a logarithm;
self-evidence earned, a coming home
to something brand new but always known;
not doing, but being – a single noun;
now in infinity; a fortune found
in all that’s disposable; not out there, but in,
the ceremonials of light in the rain;
the power of being nothing, but sane.

Homecoming by Gwyneth Lewis


Continue reading “Homecoming”

Prayer

Prayer the Churches banquet, Angels age,
Gods breath in man returning to his birth,
The soul in paraphrase, heart in pilgrimage,
The Christian plummet sounding heav’n and earth;

Engine against th’ Almightie, sinner’s towre,
Reversed thunder, Christ-side-piercing spear,
The six daies world-transposing in an houre,
A kinde of tune, which all things heare and fear ;

Softnesse, and peace, and joy, and love, and blisse,
Exalted Manna, gladnesse of the best,
Heaven in ordinarie, man well drest,
The milkie way, the bird of Paradise,

Church-bels beyond the stars heard, the souls bloud,
The land of spices, something understood.

Prayer by George Herbert


Continue reading “Prayer”

Poetry at Work, Chapter 10: The Poetry of Beauty in the Workplace

The worst view I ever had from my assigned office at work was of the building’s designated smoking area. I had the most coveted type of office – a closed-door office, with a window. Except the window faced the smoking area outside the building, with its awning-like protection and clouds of smoke.


Continue reading “Poetry at Work, Chapter 10: The Poetry of Beauty in the Workplace”