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The root of all goodness

This sonnet by Malcolm Guite calls on Christ as the root, drawing on the image of the ‘tree of Jesse’,  the family tree which leads to David, and ultimately to Christ as the ‘son of David.  However, Malcolm writing about the source of inspiration for this poem explains , that for him  the title ‘radix, goes deeper, as a good root should’.  He writes:

“It goes deep down into the ground of our being, the good soil of creation. God in Christ, is I believe, the root of all goodness, wherever it is found and in whatsoever culture, or with whatever names it fruits and flowers, a sound tree cannot bear bad fruit said Christ, who also said, I am the vine, you are the branches. I have tried to express some of my feelings for Christ as root and vine … “. 

O Radix

All of us sprung from one deep-hidden seed,
Rose from a root invisible to all.
We knew the virtues once of every weed,
But, severed from the roots of ritual,
We surf the surface of a wide-screen world
And find no virtue in the virtual.
We shrivel on the edges of a wood
Whose heart we once inhabited in love,
Now we have need of you, forgotten Root
The stock and stem of every living thing
Whom once we worshiped in the sacred grove,
For now is winter, now is withering
Unless we let you root us deep within,
Under the ground of being, graft us in.

~ Malcolm Guite  (from his Advent Anthology,  ‘Waiting on the Word’, Canterbury Press).

See O Radix, A Third Advent Reflection and Sonnet | Malcolm Guite (wordpress.com)


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