Odd - Fresh - Beautiful
The God of Gerard Manley Hopkins
in appreciation of Pied Beauty
and the very private life of
Gerard Manley Hopkins
1844 – 1889
The fresh and the new, the strange and the beautiful. All that sweet and sour, adazzled and dim. All that is fickled and freckled and odd. These are qualities Gerard Manley Hopkins saw and felt in world around him and in the mysterious Heart from whom all beauty flows. Patricia Adams Farmer gives us a sense of this way of thinking of God in Embracing a Beautiful God and“B” is for Beauty. She and I do the same in our jointly edited work:Replanting Ourselves in Beauty. The beauty is found in contrasts, in harmony and intensity, in the fickle and odd and stippled. As creatures among creatures on a small but gorgeous planet, we, too, need to claim our oddness and welcome others into the strange. We, too, need to recover the child-like art of freshly responding to what presents itself, sometimes so surprisingly and sometimes so harshly. With the eyes of a poet, we, too, need to step forward in life, welcoming the strange and saying, along with God, Yes.
-- Jay McDaniel. 7/27/2017
"None of the poems by Gerard Manley Hopkins, who lived from 1844 to 1889, were published during his lifetime. In 1939, W.H. Auden declared him to be a major poet, a commendation which has stood the test of time. In Gerard Manley Hopkins: A Very Private Life Robert Bernard Martin presents him as a sensitive Oxford scholar who followed his religious mentor John Henry Newman by converting from Anglicanism to Catholicism.
He was ordained as a Jesuit priest in 1877. While not very impressive as a preacher or as a teacher, Hopkins wrote vivid poetry which expressed his unique sensibility. What you look hard at seems to look hard at you, Hopkins believed. That is why the act of careful attention can rightfully be seen as a form of prayer. Biographer Martin sees in Hopkins' verse what he calls "the irrevocable loss of time, the integrity of nature and his love of it, the thoughtlessness of man, and the gradual loss of the England he loved by industrial degradation." Even as his vocation provided him with the structure and coherence he so desperately needed, poetry provided Hopkins with a means of expressing his singular spiritual vision of life."
-- Frederic and Mary Ann Brussat, reviewing Gerard Manley Hopkins: A Very Private Life, in Spirituality and Practice. Retrieved 7/27/2017