This poem by Rowan Williams has become a favourite of mine. Glory and defeat, victory and humility, all there.
For Inna Lisnianskaya
Barefoot, down the long woodland corridors of frost,
Over the needles, walks the forgotten
mistress of the king. She smells of grapes,
candles, black furs. Of cooking smells,
and smoke in a cramped flat. She will disturb
The clinical forest air with haze
and trembling. In the shining kingdom,
in the rich winter malls, she opens for business
with a stall of odds and ends, cheap and irregular,
and scented with a lost indoors. Don’t beg,
she says, from the rich, only the poor;
Get absolution from the sinner, not the saint.