Gerard Manley Hopkins

(28 July 1844 – 8 June 1889 / Stratford, Essex)

As Kingfishers Catch Fire


As king fishers catch fire, dragonflies draw flame;
As tumbled over rim in roundy wells
Stones ring; like each tucked string tells, each hung bell's
Bow swung finds tongue to fling out broad its name;
Each mortal thing does one thing and the same:
Deals out that being indoors each one dwells;
Selves -- goes itself; myself it speaks and spells,
Crying What I do is me: for that I came.

I say more: the just man justices;
Keeps grace: that keeps all his goings graces;
Acts in God's eye what in God's eye he is --
Christ. For Christ plays in ten thousand places,
Lovely in limbs, and lovely in eyes not his
To the Father through the features of men's faces.

Submitted: Tuesday, December 31, 2002

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  • Ed Wever (2/20/2005 6:49:00 PM)

    Not for this particular poem, but for all of G.M.'s work: I taught English at the high school and college levels for 33 years, and I am still 'blown away' by most of his stuff. He is magnificent. Only one poet comes close: Wallace Stevens. (Report) Reply

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