Gerard Manley Hopkins

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

The Shepherd’s Brow, Fronting Forked Lightning, Owns - Poem by Gerard Manley Hopkins

The shepherd's brow, fronting forked lightning, owns
The horror and the havoc and the glory
Of it. Angels fall, they are towers, from heaven—a story
Of just, majestical, and giant groans.
But man—we, scaffold of score brittle bones;
Who breathe, from groundlong babyhood to hoary
Age gasp; whose breath is our memento mori
What bass is our viol for tragic tones?
He! Hand to mouth he lives, and voids with shame;
And, blazoned in however bold the name,
Man Jack the man is, just; his mate a hussy.
And I that die these deaths, that feed this flame,
That … in smooth spoons spy life’s masque mirrored: tame
My tempests there, my fire and fever fussy.


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Read poems about / on: fire, heaven, life, mirror, angel



Poem Submitted: Friday, January 3, 2003



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