For my part, I travel not to go anywhere, but to go. I travel for travel's sake. The great affair is to move. ROBERT LOUIS STEVENSON

Friday, 22 February 2008

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.

GERARD MANLEY HOPKINS (1844-89)

The Catholic poet Gerard Manley Hopkins had a tragically short life. He died of typhoid at the age of 45. Amongst other verse and prose he wrote some of the finest sonnets ever written in the English language. This - God's Grandeur - is one of them.

The photos were taken in the Romanesque Chapelle de Guirande which lies between Decazeville and Figeac on the Chemin de Saint-Jacques. The late 14th century murals are quite amazing.

2 comments:

Two yards of lard said...

I always enjoy the poems that you quote and this is no exception.

I only know the obvious often anthologised poems by GMH, The Windhover and Glory be to Dappled Things (or something like that?), but I've long thought that I should investigate further.

The Solitary Walker said...

Apart from those, another 2 exquisite sonnets are 'As Kingfishers catch Fire' and 'Spring'. And from the longer poems 'The Wreck of the Deutschland'. However, a lot of his poems I find quite hard going and not as immediately appealing and dazzling as the ones we've mentioned!