This sonnet is the first in a series focussing on Jesus’ temptation in the wilderness from Luke 4:1-15. This sonnet focuses on the first temptation, to turn “this stone into bread”.
If it’s helpful, you may listen to me read the sonnet via the player below.
He was hungry what with the fasting,
And wandering forty days in the desert,
Cooking up a plan, the Tempter came asking,
“If you are the Son of God, assert
Your need, lay hold of the food,
Roll out your power, punch down appetite
Do not deny yourself anything good;
Make this stone bread, it is your right.”
“Man does not live (and a man I am)
By his own word, need, and will
But he lives, rests, rises by God’s own plan
Trusting in the fire, knowing by being still.”
Not commanding but bearing that hunger for me
My stone-heart doubles soft with leavened humility.
artwork: Print 3540 in Volume 28 of the Bowyer Bible in Bolton Museum, England. Etching by Jan Luyken; photo by Harry Kossuth; file created by Phillip Medhurst.