A Lectionary Poem: Transfiguration Sunday

A Poem for Sundays

there is a place beyond belief,
where faith is true
and false this promised land
I incarnate god and god
incarnates me, and together
with the incarnations of humanity,
we seek to find, create to destroy,
this Jehovah, this God, this

in the land of milk and honey, curdled
sweet. a river of creeds runs over rocks
drowning, quenching deserted throats.
the wrath of god entombed in
its violent weight
the love of god kneeling before
the indignity of humanity.
i black the eye of Christ Jesus splits my lip.

on the mountaintop, we see god, and scream
transfiguration! in faithful fury
revelation bows to doubt.
there is a place beyond belief,
where my faith is true,
and false —a fiction
where in the Judas kiss I atone
for sins I have not committed.


I write a great deal, and am generally confident in what I pen. This is never true of my poetry. Generally because I have written so much awful poetry in my life and read so much awful religious poetry. At the same time, my friend Sue Schmidt has reintroduced me to the power of good religious poetry, reminding me of how meaningful the work of Gerald Manley Hopkins or Wendell Berry can be, expressing deep touchtones of faith.

My post on Transfiguration Sunday never quite could come together, but this poem did. I hope you find it meaningful, if not the best poetry you’ve read (which I don’t expect it to be!)

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About David R. Henson

David Henson received his Master of Arts from Graduate Theological Union in Berkeley, California, after receiving a Lilly Grant for religious education for journalists. He is ordained in the Episcopal Church as a priest. He lives in North Carolina, is a father of two boys, and the husband of a medical resident.

Connect with David through his Facebook page, Twitter, or Instagram.

  • http://silentshores.wordpress.com/ Jeff White

    I like your use of paradox as it gives a koan-like feel in some places.