From Gerard Manley Hopkins

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Typically syntactically tortured, but transcendantly beautiful.

As Kingfishers Catch Fire
Gerard Manley Hopkins

            As king fishers catch fire, dragonflies draw flame;
                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 What I do is me: for that I came.
              I say more: the just man justices;
               Keeps grace: that keeps all his goings graces;
            Acts in God's eye what in God's eye he is --
               Christ. 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.

"The just man. . . acts in God's eye what in God's eye he is--Christ." That says it all. And the unjust. Well, see psalm 1 for the answer there.

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It's always rewarding to see Hopkins :-) When I first tried reading him, I found him bizarre, and then — one day it just clicked, and I saw the genius of it all.



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This page contains a single entry by Steven Riddle published on October 15, 2004 6:41 AM.

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