Monday, May 16, 2011

Tuesday Poem: Inversnaid, by Gerard Manley Hopkins


This darksome burn, horseback brown,
His rollrock highroad roaring down,
In coop and in comb the fleece of his foam
Flutes and low to the lake falls home.

A windpuff-bonnet of fawn-froth
Turns and twindles over the broth
Of a pool so pitchblack, fell-frowning,
It rounds and rounds Despair to drowning.

Degged with dew, dappled with dew
Are the groins of the braes that the brook treads through,
Wiry heathpacks, flitches of fern,
And the beadbonny ash that sits over the burn.

What would the world be, once bereft
Of wet and of wildness? Let them be left,
O let them be left, wildness and wet;
Long live the weeds and the wilderness yet.


Gerard Manley Hopkins (1844-1889) was an English poet and Roman Catholic priest. His poetry was heavily influenced by archaic language and Old English rhythms.

I have always loved this poem, Inversnaid. It refers to a watercourse that tumbles into Loch Lomond on its eastern shores. We stayed in Scotland not so very far away, and later passed up the west side of Loch Lomond, but didn't actually get to Inversnaid. Still, every time I heard the small stream tumble down the hillside at the hotel where we were staying, on the nearby Loch Ard, I thought of this poem.

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AJ Ponder said...

I love the convoluted rhyme and meter, all wild and unforgiving in a headlong wild rush.

Vespersparrow said...

This poem is lovely, a tumbling of sound that is mimetic of water gushing over stones, and the stones being rumbled and moved. No one can touch Hopkins for the glory of his music.

Gerry Snape said...

Oh ...beloved poet! such words and thoughts all strung like pearls !!

Helen Lowe said...

I love Gerald Manley Hopkins' poetry but for some reason I didn't know this particular poem--thank you for making the introduction. :)

Crafty Green Poet said...

I love this poem, Hopkins had such a wonderful way with language

Jan said...

THis poem was new to me but I particularly enjoyed it CAtherine so THANKS for the intro!! AND very glad all well with you!

Jennifer Compton said...

forgot this was a hopkins poem - great to raed it again