Wednesday, March 9, 2011

The Discovery of Hopkins

Here's a little blessing that I wanted to share from my studies this morning; I just discovered Gerard Manley Hopkins, a peculiar and quite tragic chap whose story (the man, the poet) is well worth a look.

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This poem deserves to be recited enthusiastically, so go ahead and treat yourself (and any audience that you can muster);
‘As kingfishers catch fire, dragonflies dráw fláme’

As kingfishers catch fire, dragonflies dráw fláme;
As tumbled over rim in roundy wells
Stones ring; like each tucked string tells, each hung bell’s
Bow swung finds tongue to fling out broad its name;
Each mortal thing does one thing and the same:
Deals out that being indoors each one dwells;
Selves—goes itself; myself it speaks and spells,
Crying Whát I do is me: for that I came.

Í say móre: the just man justices;
Kéeps gráce: thát keeps all his goings graces;
Acts in God’s eye what in God’s eye he is—
Chríst—for Christ plays in ten thousand places,
Lovely in limbs, and lovely in eyes not his
To the Father through the features of men’s faces.

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- Selah


  1. Amen! This is freaky. I love Hopkins Peter!

  2. Snap!

    The first stanza turned up in a textbook I was reading this morning and, well, lets just say my studies digressed...

    I haven't managed to read much yet but what I've found has been startlingly beautiful, and such an interesting back-story too...

    It seems there's something waiting to be discovered around every corner; it sure is a wide world of wonders.

    Any other secrets you want to let me in on or are you waiting to see what I'll unearth myself?

  3. His story really struck me in light of recent conversations.

    His life seemed to be one of almost complete disorientation which: flew in the face of convention, snatched defeat from the jaws of victory, ended in perfectly puzzling contentment and, despite his best efforts to the contrary, bequeathed a treasure of wholly original works of astounding beauty that continue to defy critical analysis to this day.

    In short, a life of glorious, triumphant (technical) failure.

    I think I might have stumbled upon a fruitful field of study here...

  4. Indeed, Jesus is the high master of failure, par excellance. And as His (wanna-be) disciples this science (glorious extrodinary failure) must surely be one we study carefully.

  5. Y'know, it's strange, I was actually summarising the biographies I'd read of Hopkins, but when I looked back at it just now it looks like I wrote that comment specifically with the Master himself in mind, I've got no idea why I didn't see that before...