Monday, April 26, 2010

As kingfishers catch fire...

Red Bird by Swan Papel

"As Kingfishers Catch Fire, Dragonflies Dráw Fláme"
by Gerard Manley Hopkins

As kingfishers catch fire, dragonflies dráw fláme;
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: 5
Deals out that being indoors each one dwells;
Selves—goes itself; myself it speaks and spells,
Crying Whát I do is me: for that I came.

Í say móre: the just man justices;
Kéeps gráce: thát keeps all his goings graces; 10
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.

When I studied this poem in school last year, it was the poem I had the hardest time understanding. Ironically it has since become one of my all time favorite poems. Although it is still very difficult for me to understand, I can’t help but love the idea that every object and creature in the universe has a purpose to live out ("finds tongue to fling out broad its name"). Each and every being in the universe ‘selves,’ or enacts its identity. Hopkins idea of inscape represents this divide and unique individual identity that each and every creature possesses. Inside of each of us, our inscape is crying out "Whát I do is me: for that I came." That is beautiful.

1 comment:

  1. Is the poem by Gerard Manley Hopkins? I fell in love with him as a lit. major. This is a gorgeous poem.