Throughout his short life, Gerard Manley Hopkins wrote occasional poems. Some were late apologies for missing a sister’s birthday. Others were designed to be presented to his Jesuit community, such as a playful description of a superior. And many were written to commemorate the liturgical season. During the Lent of 1866, he wrote the poem, … More Beginning Lent with Father Gerard’s “Nondum”
The holiest attribute of a temple is that it is a place where men weep in common. A Miserere sung in common by a multitude flailed by destiny is worth a whole philosophy. To cure the plague is not enough, it must also be lamented with bitter tears. Yes, we must learn to weep! Perhaps … More A Miserere Sung in Common
Ever think about all the art that has been lost? Beowulf comes out of an oral tradition of scops singing from a trove of texts. We have this manuscript, which fortunately survived the fitting-yet-sad fire at Ashburnham House, but what about all the other poems? Or what about all the ephemeral moments when a scop arranged … More Kept with Fonder a Care
Why do we enjoy tragedies? Why is there something almost pleasant about an elegy. We watch King Lear, knowing that the moment will come when he carries Cordelia out. We watch Macbeth to hear “Out, out, brief candle!” I’ve noticed that I enjoy Old English poetry and the works of Thomas Hardy because they enter … More Why Do We Enjoy Suffering in Literature?
Easter Communion Pure fasted faces draw unto this feast: God comes all sweetness to your Lenten lips. You striped in secret with breath-taking whips, Those crookèd rough-scored chequers may be pieced To crosses meant for Jesu’s; you whom the East With drafth of thin and pursuant cold so nips Breath Easter now; you sergèd fellowships, […]
‘O Death, Death’ O Death, Death, He is come. O grounds of Hell make room. Who came from further than the stars Now comes as low beneath. Thy ribbèd ports, O Death Make wide; and Thou, O Lord of Sin, Lay open thine estates. Lift up your heads, O Gates; Be ye lift up, ye […]