Wednesday, April 22, 2009

God's Grandeur

This is my comment on Earth Day....and I do have one question. What do you think the poet means by *shining from shook foil*? Surely not aluminum foil!

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.

Gerard Manley Hopkins
English Poet
1844 - 1889

Photo borrowed from ViaNegativa


  1. As I read the first two lines I thought, "This sounds like Gerard Manley Hopkins; I wonder who the poet is?" Then I finished reading and saw the poet's name!

    Aren't gold leaf and other thin sheets of precious metal known as foil, too? The only other foil I can think of is the fencing sword.

  2. I think you are correct about the foil, Laura. I just finished reading a short analysis which stated that Hopkins is thinking of gold foil.

    Kudos for guessing the poet.

  3. Beautiful poem -- I do love GMH.

    Do you remember Rogation Days from your years in the Episcopal church? The three days before Ascension that are especially devoted to asking God to bless the fields and crops so that all might be well fed in the coming year?

    I wonder if Earth Day is a pagan take-off on that. Seems like the Church has given up so much good and then the pagans take it over and defile it. Or maybe we throw it off because the pagans are imitating it in their own pitiful way -- like Christmas.

  4. Yikes! Rereading that I'm afraid it may sound judgemental towards non-liturgical branches of the Church. I didn't mean that in a hateful way, but in a grieving way. I've been reading some of the southern literature that Cindy recommended at her blog the other day it's all so depressing it's getting to me.

  5. Hi Kelly, I didnt take your comment as judgmental. I love the liturgy from the 1928 BoCP and miss it, since I've been in a Reformed Presbyterian congregation. I tend to follow the church calendar in my private devotions, but had forgotten about Rogation Days. Thanks for the reminder :)

    PS I'm impressed that you are the lawn mower in the family!

  6. Well, I'm one of the family lawn mowers! My oldest son does most of it, and the younger ones do some of it too. We have a push reel mower just so that the youngest can mow safely, and they love it.

    But I do love outside work, when it's not too detail oriented. Actually, that last bit applies to everything.