24 October 2009

Up and Hopkin

It's autumn, and while there is as yet no goldengrove unleaving, it is still a Gerard Manley Hopkins time of year. I haven't written for a while, and I don't have the time to write now, but I thought I'd let Gerard sub in for me. So here is possibly my favourite Hopkins poem:now there was a man who understood what it was to be eaten away by a sense of unfair debarment.

I wake and feel the fell of dark not day,
What hours, O what black hours we have spent
This night, what sights you, heart, saw; ways you went,
And more must, in yet longer light's delay.
With witness I speak this. But where I say
Hours I mean days, mean life. And my lament
Is cries countless, cries like dead letters sent
To dearest him that lives alas! away
I am gall, I am heartburn. God's most deep decree
Bitter would have me taste: my taste was me;
Bones built in me, flesh filled, blood brimmed the curse.
Selfyeast of spirit a dull dough sours. I see
The lost are like this, and their scourge to be,
As I am mine, their sweating selves -- but worse.

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