The Rose, by Malcolm Guite

Emil Ivanov, The Rosette Nebula,

Photography Credit: Emil Ivanov, The Rosette Nebula

A white rose opens in a quiet arbour
Where I sit reading Dante, Paradise
unfolding in me, opens hour by hour,
In sunlight and amidst the hum of bees
On a late afternoon. I think of how
Everything flowers, the whole universe
Itself is still unfolding even now,
Sprung from a stem of singularity
Which petals time and space. I think of how
The very elements that let my body be
Began and will continue in the stars
Whose light and distance frame our mystery,
And how my shadowed heart still loves, still bears
With every beat that animates my being,
Eternal yearnings through the turning years.
I turn back to the lines that light my seeing
And lift me to the limits of all thought
And long that I might also find that freeing
And enabling Love, and so be caught
And lifted into His renewing Heaven.
Evening glimmers and the stars come out.
Venus is shining clear. My prayers are woven
Into a sounding song, a symphony,
As all creation gives back what is given
In music made to praise the Mystery
Who is both gift and giver. Something stirs
A grace in me beyond my memory.
I close the book and look up at the stars.

—From Three Poems on the Paradiso by Malcolm Guite, from our Summer 2013 issue “Heaven and Hell.” 

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