Malcolm Guite describes himself as “…a poet first of all. That’s a conversation killer. I’m a poet, priest, rock & roller, in any order you like, really. I’m the same person in all three.” In a 2016 interview with Lancia E. Smith, Lancia says of Dr. Guite, “he reminds us again and again with intelligence, beauty and skill that we are not dead yet. It seems with every passing day that we need that reminder the more greatly.” Today is no exception.
I’m just delighted to be spending time with you, Malcolm, albeit long distance as you are currently based in Linton near Cambridge, England. You have brought us a new poem, and a new song that arrived to you just yesterday. Brilliant! Welcome to day 18 of our 30 day poetry party. And to all the good folk that have dropped in to meet you, welcome.
You can connect with Malcolm and learn more about his books and work through his blog and his new youtube channel. His most recent book, After Prayer, is published by Canterbury Press and available here.
Lesley-Anne: We often say we wish we had more time for certain things. Are you spending your time differently in view of our current world challenges? If so, how?
Malcolm: Yes, the time I don’t spend traveling and attending meetings has become available for the deeper part of my vocation which is to try and serve the muse, to make poems which are as true and as beautiful as I am able to make them. Doing that needs time to read, listen and think, as well as time to write.
Lesley-Anne: Why is art important?
Malcolm: To answer that question, whatever kind of answer I gave, might be to suggest that Art has to be useful, to serve some end other than itself. But human art has no more purpose than God’s art. God did not bring creation into being because he needed it, but because it was a glorious thing and he wanted it to be there – he delighted in it and called it good, good in itself, not good for something else. I feel the same way about art.
Lesley-Anne: What is one surprising thing that happened today?
Malcolm: I picked up my guitar and wrote a new song – suddenly, just like that -something I haven’t done for years.
Thank you for sharing your thoughts with us, and these new creations.
Blessings and continued health and peace,
The Risen Jesus Greets His Disciples (John 20:19) We bolted every door but even so We couldn’t catch our breath for very fear: Fear of their knocking at the gate below, Fear that they’d find and kill us even here. Though Mary’s tale had quickened all our hearts Each fleeting hope just deepens your despair: The panic grips again, the gasping starts, The drowning, and the coming up for air. Then suddenly, a different atmosphere, A clarity of light, a strange release, And, all unlooked for, Christ himself was there Love in his eyes and on his lips, our peace. So now we breathe again, sent forth, forgiven, To bring this breathless earth a breath of heaven.
My guitar in my hands When I pick up this old guitar My mind and soul are free For every song I ever sang Will keep me company My songs can sail me out to sea Or trek the desert sands I roam through time and space at will, My guitar in my hands They sent me word three weeks ago That I should stay at home To help protect the NHS I may no longer roam But that’s all right, this magic box Lifts me to other lands And brings me safely home again, My guitar in my hands Chorus: With a guitar in your hands my friends You’ll never be alone You can ride the wind with the angel band Your can roll with the rolling stones You can sing your sorrows loud and clear You can bring your blessings home Those six strings summon all to hear So you’ll never be alone I’’ll be off to West Virginia Soon as this song takes hold Where the pickers were as poor as dirt But all their songs were gold I’m back there with the Carters now And all those old time bands They’ll keep me company tonight With guitars in their hands From the days of ancient Greece my friends, When Homer smote his lyre, To the studios of Nashville Where the best are up for hire, From the pubs and clubs of Dublin To Scotland’s silver strands You join a mighty company With a guitar in your hands Chorus: With a guitar in your hands my friends You’ll never be alone You can ride the wind with the angel band Your can roll with the rolling stones You can sing your sorrows loud and clear You can bring your blessings home Those six strings summon all to hear So you’ll never be alone This lockdowns locks give way to me They open with a pick Three simple chords can set me free It’s such an easy trick So I’ll stay home to save more lives I’ll meet all their demands Until we meet again my friends With guitars in our hands.