He is one of the great immortals, thats a given. But sometimes even the lordliest and grandest poet / writer can be at a loss for something to write. By nature we HAVE to write, so he doodles, scribbles and fiddles about searching for inspiration. We are all human and we've all done it. So, to be brutally honest, in this instant he has scrawled lines of bad grammar, with no lilt or assonance and the basic cliches of imagination. He would probably wish that he'd scrapped it if he were here today. I would have preferred it if he'd let it find it's own way to the litter bin.
My first impression of this poem is that I didn't care much for it. I didn't like the rhythm very much, the tone was much too somber.
But after reading it a few times, I feel that it MIGHT grow on me. It has decent imagery and the words emit a humility of some sort. It reminds me of those days where it is gray outside with the smell of rain on the way, but the grasses are bright. Ever line of this poem gives me this mental image, it is slightly haunting.
Whenever I see a poem posted on this site written by a clegyman or a Christian mystic, I anticipate a response from the village atheist as he goes door to door peddling his noxious wares! Gerard Manley Hopkins, S.J. was both priest and poet, a gifted writer and a devout believer in a faith that demanded a strong will and the ability to persevere. Of course, one can read Hopkins or Shakespeare and utter as commentary 'So! ? ' What does 'Heaven-Haven' mean to those smug atheists who can sit back and wave a languid wrist at someone who puts his beliefs in well-chosen words the way Father Hopkins does?
The adjectives are few and far between. I count fewer than a baker's dozen - sharp and sided, a few, a green swell in havens dumb, Not one syllable more than is absolutely necessary to evoke the sensuous imagery of a stormy green day in the highlands with the implied comfort of that 'heaven-haven' the speaker desires.
Perhaps it's true as Fiona writes that such yearning is universal, but take note how well Hopkins embodies that abstract longing in vivid language!
Does this poem express the sub-text of the wishes of all those people who want to escape life for a life of prayer? Its' one of those poems after which one must ask 'So? ' I think Daniel Wheeler's 'i think it sucked' deserves a little clarification!