Singing salvation, grace, life, dawn

If the Archbishop of Canterbury thing doesn’t work out, Rowan Williams could always fall back on his poetry, at least if this offering from his new collection Headwaters is anything to go by.

This is a translation of a Welsh poem by D. Gwenallt Jones. I think I can say without fear of contradiction that it is the first time any archbishop of the Church of England has used the words “turd” and “snot” in the same poem, but the last half-dozen lines in particular are stunning:


Take off the business suit, the old-school tie,
The gown, the cap, drop the reviews, awards,
Certificates, stand naked in your sty,
A little carnivore, clothed in dried turds.
The snot that slowly fills our passages
Seeps up from hollows where the dead beasts lie;
Dumb stamping dances spell our messages,
We only know what makes our arrows fly.
Lost in the wood, we sometimes glimpse the sky
Between the branches, and the words drop down
We cannot hear, the alien voices high
And hard, singing salvation, grace, life, dawn.
Like wolves, we lift our snouts: Blood, blood, we cry,
The blood that bought us so we need not die.

HT: Ben Myers.

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2 Responses to Singing salvation, grace, life, dawn

  1. Rick says:

    I heard Williams do a talk on Augustine on BBC3, and was quite impressed. I would listen to any number of his lectures. He has a nice voice, a civil tongue, and a pleasant demeanor. I am with you. There are other things than what he is currently doing at which he could be excellent.

  2. Mack Ramer says:

    It’s not exactly Auden but I do like it.

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