In A Nutshell

"God’s Grandeur" is a poem by Gerard Manley Hopkins, an English poet, Jesuit priest, and teacher. The poem was written in 1877, but like most of Hopkins’s poems, it wasn’t published until after his death. The poet’s life was very short. He died when he was only forty-five years old of typhoid fever.

Hopkins is most famous for his innovations with language and rhythm, especially a kind of rhythm he called "sprung rhythm." Instead of the usual practice of alternating between stressed and unstressed syllables, Hopkins had groups of stressed and unstressed syllables together, which he believed help bring to his poems "the natural rhythm of speech."

"God's Grandeur" is a great example of "sprung rhythm" and one of my favourites

God's Grandeur

by Gerard Manley Hopkins

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.

 

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