Poetry is language that picks up where prose stumbles in exhaustion. On Palm Sunday, poet Malcolm Guite began posting a new sonnet sequence that demonstrates how poetry can speak where prose fails.
The sequence follows the Stations of the Cross, the traditional events of Christ’s Passion (not all of which appear in the Gospels). Guite’s poems have been extremely helpful to me this week in the journey toward Good Friday and Easter Sunday. What’s more, his sonnets express difficult (but glorious) theological concepts in palpable ways.
To give you a taste for what he’s written, here is the ninth sonnet (my favorite, so far). Click on the title to hear Guite read the poem himself:
IX. Jesus Falls the Third Time
He weeps with you and with you he will stay
When all your staying power has run out
You can’t go on, you go on anyway.
He stumbles just beside you when the doubt
That always haunts you, cuts you down at last
And takes away the hope that drove you on.
This is the third fall and it hurts the worst
This long descent through darkness to depression
From which there seems no rising and no will
To rise, or breathe or bear your own heart beat.
Twice you survived; this third will surely kill,
And you could almost wish for that defeat
Except that in the cold hell where you freeze
You find your God beside you on his knees.
Read the rest of the sonnet sequence on Guite’s blog. Be sure to say thanks in the comments.