Hopkins Rain

The welcome rain this morning brought to mind this venerable Gerard Manley Hopkins sonnet on Jeremiah 12:

Thou art indeed just, Lord, if I contend
With thee; but, sir, so what I plead is just.
Why do sinners’ ways prosper? and why must
Disappointment all I endeavour end?
Wert thou my enemy, O thou my friend,
How wouldst thou worse, I wonder, than thou dost
Defeat, thwart me? Oh, the sots and thralls of lust
Do in spare hours more thrive than I that spend,
Sir, life upon thy cause. See, banks and brakes
Now leavèd how thick! lacèd they are again
With fretty chervil, look, and fresh wind shakes
Them; birds build—but not I build; no, but strain,
Time’s eunuch, and not breed one work that wakes.
Mine, O thou lord of life, send my roots rain.

And, speaking of us eunuchs of time, Hopkins can out-do Hamlet when it comes to identifying the quintessences of dust:

Man–we, scaffold of score brittle bones, whose breath is our memento mori.

Death awaits us all, dear friends. Have a great week!

3 thoughts on “Hopkins Rain

  1. I have no problem with Death. It’s Pain that I really would like to avoid. I think fondly of the movie Heaven Can Wait (w/Warren Beatty). The death angel (agent?) was new on the job and wanted to spare the LA Rams quarterback a painful (surely inevitable) death. The newbie failed to consider that the quarterback had excellent reflexes and would be able to avoid a collision in the tunnel. My reflexes are NOT stellar; I hope for such an angel watching over me…

  2. Fr. Mark,

    I’m sort of out of sorts with 95% of Hopkin’s poem. Didn’t he get the memo? [“I came so that they might have life and have it more abundantly.” John 10:10].

    But, “…, send my roots rain.” [the other 5%], that I can tie into.

    As with so many others I’m introduced to, he’s a picture in conflicts:




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