Gerard Manley Hopkins

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

The Woodlark Poem by Gerard Manley Hopkins


Teevo cheevo cheevio chee:
O where, what can tháat be?
Weedio-weedio: there again!
So tiny a trickle of sóng-strain;
And all round not to be found
For brier, bough, furrow, or gréen ground
Before or behind or far or at hand
Either left either right
Anywhere in the súnlight.
Well, after all! Ah but hark—
‘I am the little wóodlark.
. . . . . . . .
To-day the sky is two and two
With white strokes and strains of the blue
. . . . . . . .
Round a ring, around a ring
And while I sail (must listen) I sing
. . . . . . . .
The skylark is my cousin and he
Is known to men more than me
. . . . . . . .
…when the cry within
Says Go on then I go on
Till the longing is less and the good gone

But down drop, if it says Stop,
To the all-a-leaf of the tréetop
And after that off the bough
. . . . . . . .
I ám so véry, O soó very glad
That I dó thínk there is not to be had…
. . . . . . . .
The blue wheat-acre is underneath
And the braided ear breaks out of the sheath,
The ear in milk, lush the sash,
And crush-silk poppies aflash,
The blood-gush blade-gash
Flame-rash rudred
Bud shelling or broad-shed
Tatter-tassel-tangled and dingle-a-dangled
Dandy-hung dainty head.
. . . . . . . .
And down … the furrow dry
Sunspurge and oxeye
And laced-leaved lovely
Foam-tuft fumitory
. . . . . . . .
Through the velvety wind V-winged
To the nest’s nook I balance and buoy
With a sweet joy of a sweet joy,
Sweet, of a sweet, of a sweet joy
Of a sweet—a sweet—sweet—joy.’

Submitted: Friday, January 3, 2003

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