Monday, November 12, 2007

Poetry I Like II

In the second installment of "Poetry I Like", I present to you Gerard Manley Hopkins, and King David. Hopkins was born in 1844, on July 28. He became a Catholic priest, but found himself better suited to writing and teaching. He studied Welsh, and incorporated into his English poetry what he called "sprung rhythm". This constantly changing rhythm, rising and falling, was meant to demonstrate the immanence of God in his poetry. Later in life, he became depressed, and feared that his prayers did not reach God. This doubt was painful, but, as he died of Typhoid fever in 1889, he said, 'I am happy, so happy.'

Below is my favorite of all his poems, which recalls to mind very strongly the verses of chapter 104 in Psalms. I find the lilting meter and substance of Hopkins echoing these verses. And so, first Hopkins, and then the psalm.

Glory be to God for dappled things—For skies of couple-colour as a brinded cow;
For rose-moles all in stipple upon trout that swim;
Fresh-firecoal chestnut-falls; finches’ wings;
Landscape plotted and pieced—fold, fallow, and plough;
And áll trádes, their gear and tackle and trim.

All things counter, original, spare, strange;
Whatever is fickle, freckled (who knows how?)
With swift, slow; sweet, sour; adazzle, dim;
He fathers-forth whose beauty is past change: Praise him.

--GM Hopkins

תהום, כלבוש כיסיתו; על הרים, יעמדו מים.
מן גערתך ינוסון; מן קול רעמך, ייחפזון.
יעלו הרים, יירדו בקעות-- אל מקום, זה יסדת להם.
גבול שמת, בל יעבורון; בל ישובון, לכסות הארץ.
המשלח מעיינים, בנחלים; בין הרים, יהלכון.
ישקו, כל חיתו שדיי; ישברו פראים צמאם.
עליהם, עוף השמיים ישכון; מבין עופיים, ייתנו קול...

הכפירים, שואגים לטרף; ולבקש מא-ל, אוכלם.
תזרח השמש, ייאספון; ואל מעונותם, ירבצון.
ייצא אדם לפועלו; ולעבודתו עדי ערב.
מה רבו מעשיך, ה'-- כולם, בחכמה עשית;מלאה הארץ קניינך.

תהילים קד:ח-יב, כ-כד