Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Dead Poets Month: Gerard Manley Hopkins

This one is new to me. I'm leaving in the accents found on Bartleby's website, because Hopkins is so very odd in his emphases. Read it out loud and try bobbing your head every time you say an accented word--it helps with the rhythm.

Line 11 is the reassurance and the reasoned line: The just man "acts in God’s eye what in God’s eye he is." To do this is to live authentically, to be fully human: to act in accordance with who we are. Do it, momma, do it.

34. As kingfishers catch fire

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: 5
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; 10
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.


Joe Wetterling said...

Thanks for sharing this. I hadn't heard the poem before.

Providentially, I heard about the same poem in an interview with Audrey Assad on her song "For Love of You", which opens with a paraphrase from it.

I'm reminded, too, of Dr. Peter Kreeft speaking on the unusualness of human nature. Only humans can fail to acheive the nature set out for them by God. Dogs are doggy. Flowers are flowery. But humans can be inhuman.

If you'll forgive the poor grammar, we alone can fail to be morally what we be ontologically.

Carole said...

Good blog. I have a real soft spot for this Manley Hopkins poem http://caroleschatter.blogspot.co.nz/2011/12/great-poem-by-manley-hopkins.html