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 smeared 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 from 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 ah! bright wings.
-Gerard Manley Hopkins
Why didn't anyone tell me about Gerard Manley Hopkins? I know I've heard his name before but 'God's Grandeur' is the first of his poems that I've stumbled across. This poem leapt off the page from an Advent devotional reader (from Holy Bible: Mosaic,) and carried me through the day. I found myself repeating, "There lives the dearest freshness deep down things" to myself as I planted daffodil bulbs and 'the Holy Ghost broods with warm breast, and ah! bright wings' as I cared for kith and kin.
I was reminded somehow of Robert Southwell, although that could also have to do with the fact that they were both Jesuit priests. Last Advent I dusted off a Southwell poem from the Poetry Archives, and here it is. It's just about my favorite Nativity poem. Except Chesterton's. And Lucy Shaw's. Oh, and Lewis'. Maybe a series of Advent poetry posts is in order? I'll add that to the pile of good intentions.
And thank you Fr.William Hart McNichols, for the iconic portrait of Hopkins. Lovely.