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Gerard Manley Hopkins: His Influence on Me in Succinct Terms

Droning on about the poetic qualities of Gerard Manley Hopkins is better left this time to others with more expertise than I. Hopkins' influence on me as both a poet and as a Christian hangs in his own balance trying to sort out how to live as a Christian without compromising artistic quality. From my studies of him, his conviction of faith was immense and admirable.

What I gain from reading and rereading Hopkins is his 'no compromise' stand. He burnt his poetry once, wishing it never to be shown. His humility and devotion almost had us never to read poems like the one posted below.

Who is God was a topic he embraced, and delivered what he knew. He announced what any spiritually inclined person knew: God is grand, and what He makes is grand, no matter what we mere humans do to His land. Though what He has made is sometimes not colored perfectly, yet is perfect in its coloring.

The language is entrancing, delectable in every way, but always pointing very carefully toward God. Hopkins never falls into art for arts sake, and still, goes beyond the art of his day. His skill was not in overwhelming the reader with allusions only the most well-read would know, but in drawing us into God through intelligently presented ordinary language.

Pied Beauty
Gerard Manley Hopkins

Glory be to God for dappled things—
.....For skies of couple-colour as a brinded cow;
..........For rose-moles all in stipple upon trout that swim;
Fresh-firecoal chestnut-falls; finches’ wings;
.....Landscape plotted and pieced—fold, fallow, and plough;
..........And áll trádes, their gear and tackle and trim.

All things counter, original, spare, strange;
.....Whatever is fickle, freckled (who knows how?)
..........With swift, slow; sweet, sour; adazzle, dim;
He fathers-forth whose beauty is past change:
...............Praise him.

See my review of Gerard Manley Hopkins a Study of His Ignatian Spirit.
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