“Ladies in Lavender”, Joshua Bell, from the album “the Essential Joshua Bell”, (2005)
Courtesy of Malcolm Guite, I seem happily to have rediscovered poetry after a hiatus of several decades. Ayodeji Malcolm Guite (born 12 November 1957) is an English poet, singer-songwriter, Anglican priest, and academic. Born in Nigeria to British expatriate parents, Guite earned degrees from Cambridge and Durham universities.
His research interests include the intersection of religion and the arts, and the examination of the works of J. R. R. Tolkien, C. S. Lewis, Owen Barfield, and British poets such as Samuel Taylor Coleridge.
On several occasions, he has taught as visiting faculty at several colleges and universities in England and North America. Guite is the author of five books of poetry, some of which are available on Amazon.com Kindle editions.
The poem caught my attention was “St. Michael and All Angels” from “Sounding the Seasons: Seventy Sonnets for the Christian Year” (London: Canterbury Press, 2012). Found on Amazon.com, for a few bucks.
And by the wandering connections of serendipity I later found Gerard Manley Hopkins. Born at Stratford, Essex, England, on July 28, 1844, Gerard Manley Hopkins is regarded as one the Victorian era’s greatest poets. He was raised in a prosperous and artistic family. He attended Balliol College, Oxford, in 1863, where he studied Classics.
In 1864, Hopkins first read John Henry Newman’s Apologia pro via sua, which discussed the author’s reasons for converting to Catholicism. Two years later, Newman himself received Hopkins into the Roman Catholic Church.
In 1884, he became a professor of Greek at the Royal University College in Dublin. He died five years later from typhoid fever. Although his poems were never published during his lifetime, his friend poet Robert Bridges edited a volume of Hopkins’s Poems that first appeared in 1918. His collected poems, exercised a profound influence on modern poetry.
This volume features all of Hopkins’s mature work, offering a sampler of the poet’s striking originality, intellectual depth, and perceptive vision. Hopkins is considered by many to be the greatest Victorian Poet.
Featured works include his well-known elegy, “The Wreck of the Deutschland,” “God’s Grandeur,” “Hurrahing in Harvest,” “The Windhover,” “Pied Beauty,” and “Carrion Comfort.” Additional verses include “The Caged Skylark,” “The Bugler’s First Communion,” “The Starlight Night,” “The Silver Jubilee,” “Henry Purcell,” “Andromeda,” and others.
By Gerard Manley Hopkins
Not, I’ll not, carrion comfort, Despair, not feast on thee;
Not untwist — slack they may be — these last strands of man
In me ór, most weary, cry I can no more. I can;
Can something, hope, wish day come, not choose not to be.
But ah, but O thou terrible, why wouldst thou rude on me
Thy wring-world right foot rock? lay a lionlimb against me? scan
With darksome devouring eyes my bruisèd bones? and fan,
O in turns of tempest, me heaped there; me frantic to avoid thee and flee?
Why? That my chaff might fly; my grain lie, sheer and clear.
Nay in all that toil, that coil, since (seems) I kissed the rod,
Hand rather, my heart lo! lapped strength, stole joy, would laugh, chéer.
Cheer whom though? the hero whose heaven-handling flung me, fóot tród
Me? or me that fought him? O which one? is it each one? That night, that year
Of now done darkness I wretch lay wrestling with (my God!) my God.