Friday, 31 July 2015

Breaking the silence

Going off on a virtual roadtrip is one thing, disappearing off into the ether is quite another! Life offline has been busy;  holiday, a saga of lost keys, DIY gripper-rod removal (not the best project to start on arrival home after a ten hour train journey) and I don't know what else. I've been shamed into cranking up this blog again by reading of The Love That Moves The Sun's resolution to post more regularly. Probably regularly with a small r in my case. 

So, why  these photos (above)? There is a connection with what comes next, I promise, in  typical Greenpatch wandering mode of course. These last few days I've been musing on this series of meditations by Pray as You Go , based round some of the  works of Gerard Manley Hopkins and I've been really encouraged to learn more about the joys and struggles of his faith journey. I first came across his poetry at a very very young age indeed. I must have only been around eight years old when we were introduced to his Pied Beauty. Can't say I was hugely impressed to begin with. (Maybe this had to do with not only having to learn it by heart - if you're familiar with the rhythms and cadences of GMH this is no mean feat, but being required to write it down from memory as well - punctuation and all!). However, something must have lingered, once the element of compulsion was removed. GMH has come back into my orbit in a small but significant way during the last five years or so. Later in the year, God willing, I'm fortunate enough to have an extended  opportunity to focus on where I'm going on my journey and in a place where the the inspiration and memory of Hopkins is very close indeed. And no, I won't be blogging it, good resolutions notwithstanding.

I'll leave you, not with the latest PAYG offering,  (we're sitting  with his 'gloomy' poems at present),  but another classic  GMH which has been in and out of my thoughts lately -  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;
  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;
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.


  1. Hi!
    So that's two references to "Pray as you Go" in one week.
    A week on which, having finally recovered from a more than usually exhausting school year I've lifted my head to look around for some spiritual refilling. Suspect I'm being given a hint?

  2. Hello again. I think somebody may just be telling you something, yes! :) As for me, I'm still trying to find out who was quoting a line from Thursday's poem - spiritual refilling also - that's been much on my mind lately. I hope you find your refreshment now that the school holidays are here.

  3. I love Gerard Manley Hopkins poetry - what a wonderful way with words he had. I'd have hated to have to try to memorise it though!

    1. He certainly did, even if his genius wasn't recognised until after his death. It's been said that his poetry is often difficult to understand. I don't find that to be a problem; it's not perfect comprehension that's necessary, just the ability to lean into his words and feel the essence and power within them.

      Still tricky to memorise though!

  4. I remember learning God's Grandeur by heart for O Level English. I'm eternally grateful because it was my first encounter with GMH and I immediately feel in love with his poetry - still am! And there are moments when the gloomy ones - his 'terrible sonnets' really hit the spot. Something to lean on on the company of the Black Dog...

    And welcome back! Yes, the word 'regularly' can be very flexible. Don't forget even leap years come regularly!!

    1. You have my admiration.That would be completely beyond my abilities. Then again, a sixteen year old memory is probably far keener than ours!

      Yes, those 'terrible sonnets,' can be a strange source of consolation, can't they? On my last retreat, I spent a fair bit of time skulking in the Hopkins Gallery, musing over his 'cliffs of fall,' sonnet - ' No worst, there is none. Pitched past pitch of grief.' I wonder if anybody has ever compiled a 'Black Dog' poetry anthology?


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