Wednesday, February 12, 2014

"It gathers to a greatness"

In the midst of this cold Boston winter, we've been blessed with a few days of bright sunshine and clear blue skies. Our Kellogg Fellow can't help but be reminded of this, one of her favorite poems by one of her favorite poets, Anglican-turned-Jesuit Gerard Manley Hopkins (1844-1889).

Hopkins' view of the world includes both the grandeur God saw when he said "It is good," as well as the tread, smudge, and smear that humanity has left upon it. But for all this, "the Holy Ghost over the bent/World" still breathes . . .

God's Grandeur

THE WORLD is charged with the grandeur of God.
  It will flame out, like shining from shook foil;
  It gathers to a greatness, like the ooze of oil
Crushed. Why do men then now not reck his rod?
Generations have trod, have trod, have trod;        5
  And all is seared with trade; bleared, smeared with toil;
  And wears man’s smudge and shares man’s smell: the soil
Is bare now, nor can foot feel, being shod.
And for all this, nature is never spent;
  There lives the dearest freshness deep down things;        10
And though the last lights off the black West went
  Oh, morning, at the brown brink eastward, springs—
Because the Holy Ghost over the bent
  World broods with warm breast and with ah! bright wings.

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