Core: noun, the most important part of a thing, the essence; from the Latin cor, meaning heart.

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Three by Hopkins I

Three poems by Gerard Manley Hopkins.

Ad Mariam

When a sister, born for each strong month-brother,
   Spring's one daughter, the sweet child May,
Lies in the breast of the young year-mother
   With light on her face like the waves at play,
Man from the lips of him speaketh and saith,
At the touch of her wandering wondering breath
Warm on his brow: lo! where is another
   Fairer than this one to brighten our day?

We have suffered the sons of Winter in sorrow
   And been in their ruinous reigns oppressed,
And fain in the springtime surcease would borrow
   From all the pain of the past's unrest;
And May has come, hair-bound in flowers,
With eyes that smile thro' the tears of the hours,
With joy for to-day and hope for to-morrow
   And the promise of Summer within her breast!

And we that joy in this month joy-laden,
   The gladdest thing that our eyes have seen,
Oh thou, proud mother and much proud maiden—
   Maid yet mother as May hath been—
To thee we tender the beauties all
Of the month by men called virginal.
And, where thou dwellest in deep-groved Aidenn,
   Salute thee, mother, the maid-month's Queen!

For thou, as she, wert the one fair daughter
   That came when a line of kings did cease,
Princes strong for the sword and slaughter,
   That, warring, wasted the land's increase,
And like the storm-months smote the earth
Till a maid in David's house had birth,
That was unto Judah as May, and brought her
   A son for King, whose name was peace.

Wherefore we love thee, wherefore we sing to thee,
   We, all we, thro' the length of our days,
The praise of the lips and the hearts of us bring to thee,
   Thee, oh maiden, most worthy of praise;
For lips and hearts they belong to thee
Who to us are as dew unto grass and tree,
For the fallen rise and the stricken spring to thee,
   Thee, May-hope of our darkened ways!

(Early Poems 1860-75)

The May Magnificat

May is Mary's month, and I
Muse at that and wonder why:
     Her feasts follow reason,
     Dated due to season—

Candlemas, Lady Day;
But the Lady Month, May,
     Why fasten that upon her,
     With a feasting in her honour?

Is it only its being brighter
Than the most are must delight her?
     Is it opportunest
     And flowers finds soonest?

Ask of her, the mighty mother:
Her reply puts this other
     Question: What is Spring?—
     Growth in every thing—

Flesh and fleece, fur and feather,
Grass and greenworld all together;
     Star-eyed strawberry-breasted
     Throstle above her nested

Cluster of bugle blue eggs thin
Forms and warms the life within;
     And bird and blossom swell
     In sod or sheath or shell.

All things rising, all things sizing
Mary sees, sympathising
     With that world of good,
     Nature's motherhood.

Their magnifying of each its kind
With delight calls to mind
     How she did in her stored
     Magnify the Lord.

Well but there was more than this:
Spring's universal bliss
     Much, had much to say
     To offering Mary May.

When drop-of-blood-and-foam-dapple
Bloom lights the orchard-apple
     And thicket and thorp are merry
     With silver-surfèd cherry

And azuring-over greybell makes
Wood banks and brakes wash wet like lakes
     And magic cuckoocall
     Caps, clears, and clinches all—

This ecstasy all through mothering earth
Tells Mary her mirth till Christ's birth
     To remember and exultation
     In God who was her salvation.

(Poems 1876-89)

The Blessed Virgin compared to the Air we Breathe

Wild air, world-mothering air,
Nestling me everywhere,
That each eyelash or hair
Girdles; goes home betwixt
The fleeciest, frailest-flixed
Snowflake; that's fairly mixed
With, riddles, and is rife
In every least thing's life;
This needful, never spent,
And nursing element;
My more than meat and drink,
My meal at every wink;
This air, which, by life's law,
My lung must draw and draw
Now but to breathe its praise,
Minds me in many ways
Of her who not only
Gave God's infinity
Dwindled to infancy
Welcome in womb and breast,
Birth, milk, and all the rest
But mothers each new grace
That does now reach our race—
Mary Immaculate,
Merely a woman, yet
Whose presence, power is
Great as no goddess's
Was deemèd, dreamèd; who
This one work has to do—
Let all God's glory through,
God's glory which would go
Through her and from her flow
Off, and no way but so.
    I say that we are wound
With mercy round and round
As if with air: the same
Is Mary, more by name.
She, wild web, wondrous robe,
Mantles the guilty globe,
Since God has let dispense
Her prayers his providence:
Nay, more than almoner,
The sweet alms' self is her
And men are meant to share
Her life as life does air.
    If I have understood,
She holds high motherhood
Towards all our ghostly good
And plays in grace her part
About man's beating heart,
Laying, like air's fine flood,
The deathdance in his blood;
Yet no part but what will
Be Christ our Saviour still.
Of her flesh he took flesh:
He does take fresh and fresh,
Though much the mystery how,
Not flesh but spirit now
And makes, O marvellous!
New Nazareths in us,
Where she shall yet conceive
Him, morning, noon, and eve;
New Bethlems, and he born
There, evening, noon, and morn—
Bethlem or Nazareth,
Men here may draw like breath
More Christ and baffle death;
Who, born so, comes to be
New self and nobler me
In each one and each one
More makes, when all is done,
Both God's and Mary's Son.
    Again, look overhead
How air is azurèd;
O how! Nay do but stand
Where you can lift your hand
Skywards: rich, rich it laps
Round the four fingergaps.
Yet such a sapphire-shot,
Charged, steepèd sky will not
Stain light. Yea, mark you this:
It does no prejudice.
The glass-blue days are those
When every colour glows,
Each shape and shadow shows.
Blue be it: this blue heaven
The seven or seven times seven
Hued sunbeam will transmit
Perfect, not alter it.
Or if there does some soft,
On things aloof, aloft,
Bloom breathe, that one breath more
Earth is the fairer for.
Whereas did air not make
This bath of blue and slake
His fire, the sun would shake,
A blear and blinding ball
With blackness bound, and all
The thick stars round him roll
Flashing like flecks of coal,
Quartz-fret, or sparks of salt,
In grimy vasty vault.
    So God was god of old:
A mother came to mould
Those limbs like ours which are
What must make our daystar
Much dearer to mankind;
Whose glory bare would blind
Or less would win man's mind.
Through her we may see him
Made sweeter, not made dim,
And her hand leaves his light
Sifted to suit our sight.
    Be thou then, O thou dear
Mother, my atmosphere;
My happier world, wherein
To wend and meet no sin;
Above me, round me lie
Fronting my froward eye
With sweet and scarless sky;
Stir in my ears, speak there
Of God's love, O live air,
Of patience, penance, prayer:
Worldmothering air, air wild,
Wound with thee, in thee isled,
Fold home, fast fold thy child.

(Poems 1876-89)

The Poems of Gerard Manley Hopkins (fourth edition), ed. W.H. Gardner & N.H. MacKenzie, ## 26, 42, 60; pp. 37f, 76ff, 93ff.

Lane Core Jr. CIW P — Sun. 05/08/05 08:24:25 AM
Categorized as Literary & Religious & Sunday Poetry Series.

   
         
         

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Cor ad cor loquitur J. H. Newman — “Heart speaks to heart”