We should think of our humanity as a privilege. Marilyn Robinson

Malcolm Guite & Andrea Mantegna: Ascension

Poem and Image

Ascension by Malcolm Guite & by Andrea Mantegna


by Malcolm Guite

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.


Andrea Mantegna: The Ascension, left panel of the Uffizi Triptych, 1461, 86 x 43 cm, tempera on panel. Uffizi, Florence.

Malcolm Guite: Ascension, sonnet drawn from Malcolm Guite’s collection Sounding the Seasons, published by Canterbury Press in England. The book is now back in stock on both Amazon UK and USA . The book is now also out on Kindle.

Malcolm Guite about this poem: “In the mystery of the Ascension we reflect on the way in which in one sense Christ ‘leaves’ us and is taken away into Heaven, but in another sense is given to us and to the world in a new and more universal way. He is no longer located only in one physical space to the exclusion of all others. He is in the Heaven which is at the heart of all things now and is universally accessible to all who call upon him. And since his humanity is taken into Heaven, our humanity belongs there too and is in a sense already there with him. ‘For you have died,’ says St. Paul, ‘and your life is hidden with Christ in God.’ In the Ascension Christ’s glory is at once revealed and concealed and so is ours. The sonnet form seemed to me one way to begin to tease these things out.”

Malcolm Guite: “Please feel free to make use of this and other sonnets in church services and to copy and share them. If you can mention the book from which they are taken that would be great.”