As kingfishers catch fire, dragonflies dráw fláme: Gerard Manley Hopkins

As kingfishers catch fire, dragonflies dráw fláme;
As tumbled over rim in roundy wells
Stones ring; like each tucked string tells, each hung bell’s
Bow swung finds tongue to fling out broad its name;
Each mortal thing does one thing and the same:
Deals out that being indoors each one dwells;
Selves—goes itself; myself it speaks and spells,
Crying Whát I do is me: for that I came.

Í say móre: the just man justices;
Kéeps gráce: thát keeps all his goings graces;
Acts in God’s eye what in God’s eye he is—
Chríst—for Christ plays in ten thousand places,
Lovely in limbs, and lovely in eyes not his
To the Father through the features of men’s faces.

Gerard Manley Hopkins

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2 thoughts on “As kingfishers catch fire, dragonflies dráw fláme: Gerard Manley Hopkins

  1. Hopkins’ poetry on the tongue is like biting into a sweet, juicy piece of fruit on a hot summer day and feeling it’s texture and goodness astound my mouth with its perfect slaking of thirst.

    I love the way he uses words to draw one in. For myself, there is always a sense of being led into something full of ongoing truth and mystery; of feeling that there’s always something more there than can be grasped in this moment.

    He makes me want to be a poet and a mystic.

    Like

    • I love his poetry too, Carol! ‘Inscape’ is the word the academics use to describe that inner world he draws us into, complementing the ‘landscapes’ he describes so beautifully. I have never found anyone to match his descriptions of the countryside, and the unique way in which he uses them as a bridge to the mystical. I also love his asymmetrical rhythms, and the ways in which his words dance (‘sprung rhythm’ I think the academics call it)!

      Like

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