15 September 2011

From Gerard Manley Hopkins

Inspired by fellow blogger cicerionianus, I have been thinking lately about Gerard Manley Hopkins.

My entry today, then, is simply the poemn to which Ciceronianus' blog entry alludes, take from it as you list:


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.


I love that unexpected ending.  The "ah!" makes it work.


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ciceronianus said...

I've always found impressive the way he uses words; there's something melodic about it.

Christopher said...

Thank you both. And what strikes me is that the word choice is simultaneously daring and, if I may say so, tactful. Generations "have trod, have trod, have trod...." The word "trod" is simple, though unexpected in this context, and its repetition drives home the point without any taint of self-conscious cleverness.

Knowledge is warranted belief -- it is the body of belief that we build up because, while living in this world, we've developed good reasons for believing it. What we know, then, is what works -- and it is, necessarily, what has worked for us, each of us individually, as a first approximation. For my other blog, on the struggles for control in the corporate suites, see www.proxypartisans.blogspot.com.