Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Backlit Glory

One of the few literary arguments my husband and I have is about the poems of Gerard Manley Hopkins. I love Hopkins' "sprung rhythm" and the powerful language that recalls Anglo-Saxon poetry. My husband jokes that teaching Hopkins (which I do often) should be grounds for dismissal, such is his dislike.

As I drove in the driveway this morning, some tulips in my garden were wonderfully backlit. I just had to take these photos. When I put them up on the computer, lines from Hopkins came to me unbidden from his poem "God's Grandeur":


The world is charged with the grandeur of God.
It will flame out, like the shining from shook foil...






For me, any poet's words that come to mind in the face of such natural spectacle must not be so bad.

16 comments:

Ciss B said...

I agree! Poetry is the best way to experience nature any time of the year.

Jane and Lance Hattatt said...

Hello:
We are completely at one with you over Hopkins' poetry and the lines which you have chosen fit so well the image.

Who, we wonder, does your husband like in the way of poets? And why his aversion to Hopkins?

Hels said...

At least your beloved shares enough of your passion for literature to have an opinion (even if his opinion is dead wrong in this instance).

Much much worse would be a spouse who loves real estate, the stock market, football, fast cars, beer, horse racing, ice hockey, surfing... and wouldn't know a Lord Byron from a Chagall.

Ciss B said...

Love the tulips! Ours are almost gone and my lilacs are done too.

When it come to poetry I think it's really best read outside in nature!

ChrisJ said...

Christi,

With being so far north, all our flowers bloom much later; we just now have apple blossoms.

I love to read outdoors in the summer, especially poetry.

ChrisJ said...

Jane, Lance, and Hels,

I don't know why my spouse doesn't like Hopkins. He has a PhD in English literature and knows more of it than I've even heard of. But it's still nix on the Hopkins!

nothingprofound said...

I love Hopkin's poetry-such an intense appreciation and love of the natural world. His poem "Spring And Fall: To a young child" is one of the most memorable and exquisite in the English language.

ChrisJ said...

Hi NP,

Yes, that's one of my favourites as well.

Judie said...

The red tulip is my favorite! And I agree with Marty on Hopkins. Oh, and thanks for the comment on my post, Chris. How are you feeling these days??

ChrisJ said...

Hi Judie,

I'm feeling good, starting to exercise more, etc. Thanks.

Cooper said...

Love the tulips. It's good of course that he goes his own course I suppose. ;)

ChrisJ said...

Cooper,

Yes, good that he goes his own way, although he is taking rather a beating about Hopkins!

Owen Gray said...

I remember encountering Hopkins for the first time in a course on Victorian literature. And, it seemed to me, he didn't belong.

His lines demand your attention. They stop, double back and then explode.

A genius -- but I can also understand your husband's frustration.

ChrisJ said...

Owen,

I think he feels simple dislike, rather than frustration. The range of literary interests always fascinates me.

Anonymous said...

Hey - I am certainly delighted to find this. great job!

ChrisJ said...

Anon.,

Thank you.