By Gerard Manley Hopkins
I awoke in the Midsummer not to call night, in the white and the walk of the morning:
The moon, dwindled and thinned to the fringe of a finger-nail held to the candle,
Or paring of paradisaïcal fruit, lovely in waning but lustreless,
Stepped from the stool, drew back from the barrow, of dark Maenefa the mountain;
A cusp still clasped him, a fluke yet fanged him, entangled him, not quit utterly.
This was the prized, the desirable sight, unsought, presented so easily,
Parted me leaf and leaf, divided me, eyelid and eyelid of slumber.
(Today’s poem is in the public domain, belongs to the masses, and appears here today accordingly.)
Gerard Manley Hopkins (1844 – 1889) was an English poet, Roman Catholic convert, and a Jesuit priest, whose posthumous fame established him among the leading Victorian poets. His experimental explorations in prosody (especially sprung rhythm) and his use of imagery established him as a daring innovator in a period of largely traditional verse. (Annotated biography of Gerard Manley Hopkins courtesy of Wikipedia.)
Editor’s Note: Today’s poem appears here on the recommendation of my mother, a faithful reader of this series. As this coming Monday is her birthday, and the moon her ruling planet, I wanted to share this poem with you today in her honor. Happy Birthday, Mama! May you forever shine as brightly as the moon.
Want to read more by and about Gerard Manley Hopkins?
The Poetry Foundation
Academy of American Poets
6 thoughts on “SATURDAY POETRY SERIES PRESENTS: GERARD MANLEY HOPKINS”
If I had to choose a single poet it would be Hopkins, for his drunken adoration of using word music to express the inexpressible. This was not one I knew, so new. Thank you
I love the way you phrased this, Philippa. In fact, I’ve quoted you in promotion for today’s post. I, too, see his “drunken adoration of … word music,” and see also why my mother, who has a unique linguistic style of her own, was so drawn to this piece. Here is something I published of hers: http://asitoughttobe.com/2010/12/04/saturday-poetry-series-presents-maya-elashi/
Thank you, Sivan. This ‘nd you mean to me more than all those invisible stars overhead in OakLand and yet shining true throughout the MultiVerses. And yes, Philipparees, he’s indeed ‘drunken with adoration!’ I, as well, toda, Sivan.
As I wrote above, I see why you are drawn to this poem and this poet. I am reminded of your own “drunken adoration of … word music.” Happy Birthday!
Yes, a wonder of a poem. Happy Birthday, Sivan’s-Mama!
Thank you, Karen!