8 August 2005 | Vol. 5, No. 2

I wake and feel the fell of dark, not day.

I wake and feel the fell of dark, not day.

What hours, O what black hours we have spent

This night! what sights you, heart, saw; ways you went!

And more must, in yet longer light's delay.

    With witness I speak this. But where I say

Hours I mean years, mean life. And my lament

Is cries countless, cries like dead letters sent

To dearest him that lives alas! away.

  I am gall, I am heartburn. God's most deep decree

Bitter would have me taste: my taste was me;

Bones built in me, flesh filled, blood brimmed the curse.

  Selfyeast of spirit a dull dough sours. I see

The lost are like this, and their scourge to be

As I am mine, their sweating selves; but worse.

About the author:

1844-89. Gerard Manley Hopkins was ordained in 1877, after joining the Jesuit novitiate in 1868. In 1882 he became a teacher at Mount St. Mary's College, Sheffield, and Stonyhurst College, Lancashire, from where he progressed to professor of Greek at University College Dublin, though remaining a priest.

While most of his contemporaries were using running Norman rhythms in their poems, Hopkins adopted the rhythms of Anglo-Saxon verse, such as in Beowulf. Hopkins called it sprung rhythm, allowing irregularly up to four and as little as one syllable per foot, with an accent on the first syllable. During his lifetime, Hopkins published few of his poems. It was only through the efforts of his friend, Bridges, that his collected verse was published in 1918.

Learn more about the life and work of Gerard Manley Hopkins at Wikipedia.

For further reading:

See the complete list of work by Gerard Manley Hopkins at 42opus. Browse the contents of 42opus Vol. 5, No. 2, where "I wake and feel the fell of dark, not day." ran on August 8, 2005. List other work with these same labels: poetry, classic, sonnet, rhyme.

42opus is an online magazine of the literary arts.

copyright © 2001-2011
XHTML // CSS // 508