Suddenly they saw him
the way he was,
the way he really was
all the time,
although they had never
seen it before,
the glory which blinds
the everyday eye
and so becomes invisible.

This is how
he was, radiant, brilliant,
carrying joy
like a flaming sun
in his hands.

This is the way he was–is–
from the beginning,
and we cannot bear it.

So he manned himself,
came manifest to us;
and there on the mountain
they saw him, really saw him,
saw his light.

We all know that if we really
see him we die.

But isn’t that what is
required of us?

Then, perhaps, we will see
each other, too.

–Madeleine L’Engle


  1. This poem–I am speechless. I love Madeleine L’engle.

    I once saw a short film in which a young woman saw everyone as they really were…the homeless man was a king, the old woman a sprightly young girl, etc.

    I want to be able to see like that.

    Thank you for sharing this–and the accompnaying photo, which is perfect, and reminds me of, “Behold, I stand at the door and knock.”…Jesus, ready to transform us, if we will let Him in.

  2. oh, i love the connection to “i stand at the door and knock.” this is our bathroom door aflame with the late winter sun…something everyday, but also changed.

    i found this poem in an amazing book called Imaging the Word–it’s a book of art and poems for each Sunday’s readings in the lectionary. i’ll be sharing more from it throughout lent.

    i just love the lines “carrying joy/like a flaming sun/in his hands.”

    thank you, Susan, for your open-hearted response.

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