Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Music on the Wing*

Let me be to Thee as the circling bird,
Or bat with tender and air-crisping wings
That shapes in half-light his departing rings**,
from both of whom a changeless note is heard.

I have found my music in a common word,
Trying each pleasurable throat that sings
And every praised sequence of sweet strings,
And know infallibly which I preferred.

The authentic cadence was discovered late
Which ends those only strains that I approve,
and other science all gone out of date
And minor sweetness scarce made mention of;
I have found the dominant of my range*** and state--
Love, O my God, to call Thee Love and Love.
---Gerard Manley Hopkins, 1865
*Originally untitled
**The bats circling to depart at sunset ("half-light")
***The author found his "true singing voice" late, or so he says. His "range" (literally, how low & high one can sing) is all wrapped up in Love for God. (This love can come only as a response to knowing that Christ has died for our sins.)

No comments: