*** DEBUG END ***

Malcolm Guite: Poet’s Corner

27 March 2020

In the midst of the present crisis, Malcolm Guite senses the rumour of resurrection

LIKE most of the dogs in Britain, George and Zara are both pleased and puzzled at seeing so much more of their owners. Fortunately, they — and we — are still free to go for walks.

As they lead me blithely along familiar paths towards the clear flowing stream of the Granta, I can feel the spring warming and unfolding all around me. Just as we are locking down, the earth herself seems to be opening up and breathing her flowers into being — not only the crocuses and daffodils that we have been enjoying for a while, but now the delicate white blossoms of flowering thorn transfigure the hedges, and the trees are quickened and sticky with the first buddings of what will soon be tender green leaves. The Granta itself, whose stream had of late been so muddied and swollen, darkened with floods and detritus, now runs clear and limpid, purling swiftly over its gravel bed, translucent and sparkling in the warm spring sun.

For the dogs, this is all of a piece, but we poor humans feel the contrast between the outer and the inner weather.

Fellow dog-walkers and I keep the requisite social distance from one another on the rare occasions when our paths cross, although “social distancing” has, in fact, made us far more sociable. We make sure to greet one another, to enquire after health, to exchange news of anyone who may need messages taking or shopping delivered. But, even as we speak, six feet apart, we sense each other’s anxiety. We feel the contrast between all the promise and allure of spring and our own experience of hunkering down through dark days, of waiting out the worst.

And yet the sun still shines and the buds open, and our terse exchanges are interrupted by bright scatterings of birdsong. Do we belie the promise of spring, or does the spring hold a hope for us, a rumour of resurrection?

I find myself remembering the wonderful passage in C. S. Lewis’s essay “The Grand Miracle”:

“The miracles that have already happened are . . . the first fruits of that cosmic summer which is presently coming on. Christ has risen, and so we shall rise. . . To be sure, it feels wintry enough still: but often in the very early spring it feels like that. Two thousand years are only a day or two by this scale. A man really ought to say, ‘The Resurrection happened two thousand years ago’ in the same spirit in which he says, ‘I saw a crocus yesterday.’ Because we know what is coming behind the crocus. The spring comes slowly down this way; but the great thing is that the corner has been turned.”

So, however worried my mind may be, I will open my heart to the spring as it comes, and receive it as a sign of hope. And, while George and Zara sniff the wind and “feed on air, promise-crammed”, I will recite the little spring blessing with which I concluded my last poetry collection:

With each unfolding seed, with every Spring,
He breathes the rumour of his resurrection,
As birdsong calls your hidden heart to sing.
So may this season be his benediction,
To lift your love, and bid your prayer take wing,
To thaw your frozen hope, to warm your mind,
For spring has come! Can Heaven be far behind?


Malcolm Guite has launched a new YouTube channel: A Spell in the Library.

Browse Church and Charity jobs on the Church Times jobsite

Letters to the editor

Letters for publication should be sent to letters@churchtimes.co.uk.

Letters should be exclusive to the Church Times, and include a full postal address. Your name and address will appear below your letter unless requested otherwise.

Forthcoming Events

Green Church Awards

Awards Ceremony: 6 September 2024

Read more details about the awards


Festival of Preaching

15-17 September 2024

The festival moves to Cambridge along with a sparkling selection of expert speakers

tickets available


Inspiration: The Influences That Have Shaped My Life

September - November 2024

St Martin in the Fields Autumn Lecture Series 2024

tickets available



Festival of Faith and Literature

28 February - 2 March 2025

The festival programme is soon to be announced sign up to our newsletter to stay informed about all festival news.

Festival website


Visit our Events page for upcoming and past events 

The Church Times Archive

Read reports from issues stretching back to 1863, search for your parish or see if any of the clergy you know get a mention.

FREE for Church Times subscribers.

Explore the archive

Welcome to the Church Times


To explore the Church Times website fully, please sign in or subscribe.

Non-subscribers can read four articles for free each month. (You will need to register.)