Glen Martin Fitch

To search one's heart is not an easy task.

To search one's heart
is not an easy task.
I took a stand
on what I still assert.
I must do this.
I can't do what you ask,
not even
if you make yourself be hurt.
Yet each complaint
still breaks me down again.
You catalogue
each sacrifice you've done.
Your pleas show so much fondness
through the pain.
Why do they all assume
on my part none?
The more you call me stubborn
when we fight,
the more you tell me
your love I repel,
the harder it is for me
not to write
as if it's true,
when I would wish you well.
You tell me how you suffer,
and you do.
yet sometime you might see
I suffer too.

Submitted: Thursday, October 17, 2013
Edited: Wednesday, October 23, 2013

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Poet's Notes about The Poem

Gerard Manley Hopkin's letter to his parents October 20,1866
regarding his conversion to Catholicism.

'About communicating you are also mistaken...
Strictly I owed no duty whatever to the Church of England
but I did pay a provisional loyalty
until you induced me to give them up...
I could not otherwise have obeyed you...
I of course thought only of the way
which I believed would give you the least pain:
indeed if you can think I did otherwise
it would be useless of me to assure you of it...
And even for me it is almost a matter of necessity,
for every new letter breaks me down afresh,
and this could not go on.

Your letters, which show the utmost fondness,
suppose none on my part
and the more you think me hard and cold
and that I repel and throw you off,
the more I am helpless not to write as if it were true.
In this way I have no relief.
You might believe that I suffer too.
I am your very loving son,

Gerard M. Hopkins'

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