Tuesday, September 8, 2009

My Own Heart Let Me Have More Pity On

[originally untitled]
(Forgiveness in Christ brings joy; but sometimes a tender conscience is hard on a person for a period of time. Hopkins experienced a period of what appears to be depression in connection with this.)

My own heart let me have more pity on; let
Me live to see my sad self hereafter kind,
Charitable; not live this tormented mind
With this tormented mind tormenting yet.
I cast for comfort I can no more get
By going round my comfortless, than blind
Eyes in their dark can day or thirst can find*
Thirst's all-in-all in all a world of wet.

Would, self; come, poor Jackself*, I do advise
You, jaded, let be;*** call off thoughts awhile
Elsewhere; leave comfort root-room; let joy size
At God knows when to God knows what; whose smile****
's bit wrung, see you; unforeseen times rather---as skies
Betweenpie mountains---lights a lovely mile.
---Gerard Manley Hopkins, 1885

*The poet is "groping around" in the manner of a blind man, searching for comfort that eludes him
**Hopkins often used "Jack" as a stand in for "anyone", the "man on the street", himself
***"Let it go", in modern language; he's telling his soul this hanging on to jadedness & sad thougts needs to go
****No, the poet doesn't really believe that God (the Father) has a physical smile; it's figurative, and he's comparing it to the "dappled" bright "U" of sky in the saddle between two dark mountains

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