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message 1: by Manny (new)

Manny (virmarl) | 4201 comments Mod
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.

message 2: by Frances (new)

Frances Richardson | 640 comments I think the last six lines of this poem form one of the most beautiful and eloquent stanzas in all of literature. "By means of his metaphor of sunrise the poet moves to a triumphant climax, in which he explains his opening proposition in terms of the continual ascent in things. Why is it that 'nature is never spent'? Why is it that 'there lives the dearest freshness deep down things'? Why is it that 'morning, at the brown brink eastward springs'? Because the Holy Ghost, the Spirit of God himself, is continually and actively present in the world he has created, keeping it from returning to primeval nothingness. . . "
(From Landscape and Inscape, by Peter Milward, S.J.)

Milward observes that Hopkins is referencing Psalm 71 ("The whole earth shall be filled with his majesty"), but alters the verb "filled," which suggests water, to "charged," which alludes to electricity, because Hopkins envisaged the presence of God in the world in terms of a force.

Thanks so much for choosing this particular poem for discussion.

message 3: by Manny (new)

Manny (virmarl) | 4201 comments Mod
Actually Frances I think it might be a double metaphor: (1)Holy Spirit is like the sunrise spreading across the sky and (2) Holy Spirit is a loving mother bird, first flying across the sky and second its wings bringing its chicks to its breast. That last image I think comes from the Psalms as well, though I'm too lazy to try to find it. ;) Peter Milward is an excellent literary critic.

message 4: by Frances (new)

Frances Richardson | 640 comments Excellent insight, Manny.

message 5: by Frances (new)

Frances Richardson | 640 comments Isn't the alliteration wonderful: "black West . . . brown brink . . . Because . . . bent World broods . . . warm breast . . . ah! bright wings."

message 6: by Manny (new)

Manny (virmarl) | 4201 comments Mod
gathers to a greatness...have trod, have trod, have trod...wears man's smudge and shares man's smell...nature is never spent...last foot feel...soil/shod.


message 7: by Manny (last edited Jun 26, 2018 07:07PM) (new)

Manny (virmarl) | 4201 comments Mod
One of the things I always see in this poem is how nature is the incarnation of God. The hidden flame, the shinning from shook foil, the ooze of oil coming out of I assume olives in the first stanza are prefigures of the Holy Spirit that is hidden in sunrise in the second climatic stanza.

And that oil suggests a sacramental chrism which shows up smeared and smudged on the man.

Why is nature never spent? Because "deep down" the Holy Ghost blesses the earth and wraps her wings around the world and its beloved. It's a beautiful poem.

message 8: by Leslie (new)

Leslie | 359 comments Thank you. I love this poem and the interesting commentary.

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