Waiting on the Word: A Poem a day for Advent, Christmas and Epiphany by Malcolm Guite
We are never very good at waiting, at being patient. It’s hard enough when we adults are waiting for a train or a bus. For children the waiting for your birthday treat stretches patience beyond all time. Waiting can be a fraught process framed by the moment beforehand and the moment to come. Time, anticipation, hope, expectation are all enfolded into one.
The season of Advent falls when the days are the shortest and darkness competes with the cold of early frosts. Yet we are expectant of a brightness which will transform all darkness.
This new anthology by Malcolm Guite, framed by his earlier work for Lent and Easter, takes as its starting point the Prayer Book Advent collect – the casting away of the works of darkness, and the putting on of the armour of light in preparation for the coming of the Word – the Logos.
If we are not very good at waiting then we are perhaps not very good at using our imaginations in the waiting rooms we inhabit. Good news: this anthology will guide us well for it is “a sweet original joy”.
A poem a day fires our imagination opening the reader to the potential of the waiting. Many of the poems are well known but the wait for the new or less familiar is delightful. Each poem is amplified and explored by a meditation creating a depth of connection founded on deep insight and love of words and rhythm.
Waiting is indeed a transforming business. This anthology enlightens the possibilities of the imagination of the waiting and our perception of the Incarnation. This is far from an everyday encounter with the mystery of the stable or the challenge of the Epiphany. The words sustain the reader in their form and flow – and take Malcolm’s advice be subversive and read aloud the poems enabling the truthful flow of the Word to fill the moment as the Light fills the world in the power of the Logos. This is a wonderful accompaniment towards the Light.
Reviewed by Revd Jonathan Plows
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