The world is charged with the grandeur of God.
It will flame out, like shining from shook foil;
It gathers to a greatness, like the ooze of oil
Crushed. Why do men then not reck his rod?
Generations have trod, have trod, and have trod;
And all is seared with trade; bleared, smeared with toil;
And wears man's smudge and shares man's smell: the soil
Is bare now, nor can food fell, being shod.
And for all this, nature is never spent;
There lives the dearest freshness deep down things;
And though the last lights of the black West went
Oh, morning, at the brown brink eastward, springs--
Because the Holy Ghost over the bent
World broods with warm breast and with ah! bright
Gerard Manley Hopkins
This is a good poem, I think, for midwinter, for a time of difficult economy, for a conflicted heart.
Hopkins himself was a complicated man--manic, simultaneously anguished and joyful, isolated and longing for connection. Some of his poems virtually sing, as this one does, with the internal sounds shimmering through it like water. Others capture the deep melancholy he felt so often toward his later years. I think the flux in his life translated into something almost tangible in his writing. I love this poem for its alchemy of juxtaposition. What do you think?
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