‘Rublev’, by Rowan Williams

One day, God walked in, pale from the grey steppe,
slit-eyed against the wind, and stopped,
said, Colour me, breathe your blood into my mouth.

I said, Here is the blood of all our people,
these are their bruises, blue and purple,
gold, brown, and pale green wash of death.

These (god) are the chromatic pains of flesh,
I said, I trust I shall make you blush,
O I shall stain you with the scars of birth

For ever, I shall root you in the wood,
under the sun shall bake you bread
of beechmast, never let you forth

To the white desert, to the starving sand.
But we shall sit and speak around
one table, share one food, one earth.

– Rowan Williams, ‘Rublev’ in After Silent Centuries (Oxford: The Perpetua Press, 1994).


  1. Another pretty fair poet – James K Baxter

    “Haere Ra”
    Farewell to Hiruharama –
    The green hills and the river fog
    Cradling the convent and the Maori houses –

    The peach tree at my door is broken, sister,
    It carried too much fruit,
    It hangs now by a bent strip of bark –

    But better that way than the grey moss
    Cloaking the branch like an old man’s beard,
    We are broken by the Love of the Many

    And then we are at peace
    Like the fog, like the river, like a roofless house,
    That lets the sun stream in because it cannot help it.


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