Thursday, August 16, 2007

God's Grandeur

The world is charged with the grandeur of God.
It will flame out, like shining from shook foil;
It gathers to a greatness, like the ooze of oil
Crushed. Why do men then now not reck his rod (1)?
Generations have trod, have trod, have trod;
And all is seared with trade; bleared, smeared with toil;
And wears man's smudge and shares man's smell: the soil
Is bare now, nor can foot feel, being shod(2).

And for all this, nature is never spent;
There lives the dearest freshness deep down things;
And though the last lights off the black West went
Oh, morning, at the brown brink eastward, springs--
Because the Holy Ghost over the bent (3)
World broods (4) with warm breast
                 and with ah! bright wings (5).

---Gerard Manley Hopkins, , 1877
(1) Psalm 2:9. Jesus wields a rod to smash prideful kings.
(2) Shod feet. The loss of pristine innocence, the need to be clothed after sin entered the world.(3) Bent world. (a) tired (b) bent but not broken; crooked, inperfect (c) curved, as an egg over which the Spirit broods
(4) Brooding of the Holy Spirit---see Genesis 1.
(5) As one turns from the dark west horizon (earth's tiredness, coming as a result of man's sin) back to the eastern horizon, where the sun is rising, he sees the promise of a new day under the Spirit's care. This borrows from the Bible's Dove symbolism (breast and wings), which are bright and colorful as the beautiful sunrise.

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