Those of you who enjoyed my choice of sonnet last week about the gift of carers might find sustenance in another poem by Malcolm Guite. In this poem we are first brought face to face with the harshness of winter, the apparent absence of life and hope, the sense that all around us is dead and icy cold. In the current Coronavirus lockdown, there is a certain similarity of finding ourselves in a hard, cold place. We are socially isolated (even allowing for modern methods of communication) and hunkering down, in the hope that we may be able to weather this season and come out the far side into a new spring of optimism and good health.
These bleak and freezing seasons may mean grace
When they are memory. In time to come
When we speak truth, then they will have their place,
Telling the story of our journey home,
Through dark December and stark January
With all its disappointments, through the murk
And dreariness of frozen February,
When even breathing seemed unwelcome work.
Because through all of these we held together,
Because we shunned the impulse to let go,
Because we hunkered down through our dark weather,
And trusted to the soil beneath the snow,
Slowly, slowly, turning a cold key,
Spring will unlock our hearts and set us free.
The second stanza of this poem gives us hope that we may be able to pull through this together. In the same way that we can see signs of spring all around us in the warm sunshine, the daffodils and the early blossom, so we can trust that our loving Heavenly Father will set us free from a season of fear and uncertainty.
I remember a former Dean of Ripon talking about his young grandson’s incredulous and joyous comment to him one March: “Are you saying that we will see lambs AGAIN this year?” as the little lad realised that the previous year hadn’t been a one-off experience of new life. And so we hope to be released from the nightly ritual of watching the TV news with anxiety, in the belief that the promised Resurrection of Jesus at Eastertime will bring us a new hope of new life in a new season. Sarah Bourne – 26th March 2020 email@example.com