wordsout by Godfrey Rust                                       The sailing of the ark  37 of 45  HOME    


We move with a certain grace, like skaters
going quickly on the thin ice 

of our lives and theology, afraid
of what might happen if we stop too long 

to contemplate the depths beneath. This
picture, drawn by a dying woman, pulls apart 

the brittle surface of our lives to show
the gaps in our broken world let in no darkness 

but the light that always shines
unseen behind it; its jagged 

border frames the outline of a body
created purely out of pain; and that 

the pieces of our lives are held in place
by what so often looks just like his absence.

The extraordinary sculpture which is described and shown here was used as a focus for meditation in a ‘day of silence’ led by David Runcorn in which Tessa and I took part, and during which this sonnet was written. Scilla Verney died before completing the engraving, but a version has been created from her sketches at David Runcorn’s (then) church, St Stephen’s Ealing. I think its power derives principally from its paradox: the crucified (female) “figure” at its centre is not there.