A poem for Holy Week

Malcolm Guite is a British poet who, over the past few years, has become one of my favorite poets (on a short list with George Herbert, Seamus Heaney, Billy Collins). He’s consistently insightful on matters of faith, and his language is simple, clear, and beautiful. He wrote an entire collection of sonnets based on George Herbert’s poem ‘Prayer’ that helped me understand both Herbert’s poem and prayer itself more deeply. Here’s a poem by Guide for Holy Week, from Sounding the Seasons (Canterbury Press).

Jesus Weeps

Malcolm Guite

Jesus comes near and he beholds the city

And looks on us with tears in his eyes,

And wells of mercy, streams of love and pity

Flow from the fountain whence all things arise.

He loved us into life and longs to gather

And meet with his beloved face to face

How often has he called, a careful mother,

And wept for our refusals of his grace,

Wept for a world that, weary with its weeping,

Benumbed and stumbling, turns the other way,

Fatigued compassion is already sleeping

Whilst her worst nightmares stalk the light of day.

But we might waken yet, and face those fears,

If we could see ourselves through Jesus’ tears.

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