Monday, August 30, 2010

As Kingfishers Catch Fire (poetry from an Original Orthodox Rebel)

The following is a poem by Gerard Manley Hopkins. Though classified as a Victorian poet, many people see Hopkins as a proto-modernist poet, and he served as an inspiration for the likes of Yeats, Auden, and Eliot. The following poem shows not only his unique and beautiful use of rhyme and structure but also displays his notion of "inscape," a Psalm 19-esque philosophy that seeks to see and capture the glory of God that is inherent (and buried) within His creation.

As kingfishers 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.

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