“God’s Grandeur” by Gerard Manley Hopkins
Submitted by Judy Olsen
Judy Olsen, who retired in 2013 as Falvey Memorial Library’s Humanities librarian and Communication and Publications team leader, returned to Falvey in 2014 to provide part-time support for Communication and Psychology while Falvey was short-staffed. She is once again retired.
“God’s Grandeur” is an Italian sonnet—it contains fourteen lines divided into an octave and a sestet, which are separated by a shift in the argumentative direction of the poem. Reverend Father Gerard Manley Hopkins (28 July 1844 – 8 June 1889) was an English poet, Roman Catholic convert, and Jesuit priest. He became famous after his death as one of the leading Victorian poets. He is known for his experimental explorations in prosody, particularly his use of sprung rhythm, and his use of imagery which was extremely innovative for a period of time in which traditional verse was still very much in vogue.
If you’re interested in learning more about Gerard Manley Hopkins or his poetry you may wish to check out “The Columbia Granger’s index to poetry in anthologies” here.
God’s Grandeur by Gerard Manley Hopkins
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.
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