Celebrating GERARD MANLEY HOPKINS SJ – 8 June
Gerard Manley Hopkins SJ, one of the leading poets of the nineteenth century, died on this day in Dublin in 1889, His poetry is strikingly innovative, notable for its vivid imagery and new verse forms at a time when verse mainly followed traditional lines. He struggled with depression and ill health throughout his short life but his last words at age 44 were “I am so happy, I am so happy. I loved my life.”
Much of Gerard’s poetry was concerned with the divine presence in the material world, like this, probably one of the most renowned – “God’s Grandeur”
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 now not reck his rod?
Generations have trod, have trod, 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 foot feel, being shod.
And for all this nature, is never spent;
There lives the dearest freshness deep down things;
And though the last lights off 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 wings.