The Words of Life by Malcolm Guite

Then Simon Peter answered him, Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life – John 6:68

You have the words of life, where should we go
Except to you, to try and take them in?
We want your words to quicken us, to know
And be transformed by knowledge deep within.
How is it then, these words seem dead in us?
We neither let them go nor let them live,
Their empty echoes always seem to haunt us,
As daily we refuse what they might give.

Oh Teacher we need more than just the hearing,
More than these readings we have set apart,
Somehow the two-edged sword we have been fearing
Must pierce at last the well-defended heart.
Unsheathe it now and help us take the pain,
Pierce to the point where we can start again.

Malcolm Guite is an English poet, singer-songwriter, Anglican priest, and academic. Born in Nigeria to British expatriate parents, Guite earned degrees from Cambridge and Durham universities. His research interests include the intersection of religion and the arts, and the examination of the works of J. R. R. Tolkien, C. S. Lewis, Owen Barfield, and British poets such as Samuel Taylor Coleridge. He is currently a Bye-Fellow and chaplain of Girton College, Cambridge, and associate chaplain of St Edward King and Martyr in Cambridge. On several occasions, he has taught as visiting faculty at several colleges and universities in England and North America. Learn more about Malcolm Guite at