wordsout by godfrey rust
The sailing of the ark  < 27 of 45


Finally it seemed God had given them up 
and for four centuries there was no word,

just the crushing weight of military occupations,
a dowry for a nation that

had married once too often
with foreign gods; in the Judaean hills

the Maccabeans chose out their Messiahs
and shook their swords at heaven for its silence.

But all this time God was gathering his breath
to speak his last tremendous word,

and when it was delivered
it was squeezed out from a single human body

in the only, painful way there is and laid out
helpless, derelict and in the heart of nowhere.

Sonnets 27-36 deal with God’s incarnation in Jesus.

Four centuries The four hundred year period between the Testaments was noted for the absence of recognised prophetic writings.

Maccabeans Judas Maccabeus and his brothers led a series of fairly successful revolts against the Greek and later Roman occupying forces, and in this period the expectation of the Messiah as a political and military figure was at its highest.

last tremendous word The identification (here and in sonnets 28 and 29) of Christ as “the word” is made definitively in John 1.