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Detail from Behind School Street painting by Bruce Herman

Poem: A Lens

Malcolm Guite

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That All, which always is all everywhere
—Donne

Not that we think he is confined to us,
Locked in the box of our religious rites,
Or curtained by these frail cathedral walls,
No church is broad or creed compendious 
Enough. All thought’s a narrowing of sites.
Before him every definition fails,
Words fall and flutter into emptiness,
Like motes of dust within his spaciousness.

Not that we summon him, but that he lends
The very means whereby he might be known,
Till this opacity of stone on stone, 
This trace of light and music on the air,
This sacred space itself becomes a lens
To sense his presence who is everywhere.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Behind School Street painting by Bruce Herman Bruce Herman, Behind School Street, 1984 Artwork used by permission of the artist
The artist Bruce Herman and poet Malcolm Guite, along with composer J.A.C. Redford, are collaborating on a multimedia project called Ordinary Saints. The project, which began with paintings the artist made to work through the unexpected death of both his parents, includes linked poems, paintings, and music that will eventually be presented as a book, and exhibition tour, and public performances.
Contributed By Poet and singer-songwriter Malcolm Guite Malcolm Guite

Malcom Guite is a poet, priest, and lead singer and guitarist for the blues-rock band Mystery Train.

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