#Poetry – A Poem a Day: Gerard Manley Hopkins #NPM22

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Oh, the joy of Gerard Manley Hopkins! I wish I could capture the beauty of nature in the rich imagery and luscious syntax of this master. As much as I love “Pied Beauty” and “God’s Grandeur,” this poem resonates the loudest with me. In a time when so many people compare themselves to the false lives they see plastered all over social media, to come to this Hopkins poem is a welcome relief and breath of fresh air: “[E]ach one dwells; / Selves — goes itself; myself it speaks and spells, / Crying What I do is me: for that I came.” (lines 6-8). Hopkins unabashedly declares, “BE WHO YOU WERE MADE TO BE, NOT SOME FALSIFICATION OF YOUR TRUE SELF!” We commit suicide in a thousand different ways every day. NO MORE! You were made uniquely you to be uniquely you. Stop trying to be someone else! Catch fire and see more clearly with God’s eye!

As Kingfishers Catch Fire by Gerard Manley Hopkins

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 Whát I dó is me: for that I came.

I say móre: the just man justices;
Keeps grace: thát keeps all his goings graces;
Acts in God's eye what in God's eye he is —
Chríst — 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. 

Source: Gerard Manley Hopkins: Poems and Prose (Penguin Classics, 1985)


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