Monday, November 28, 2005


by Gerard Manley Hopkins

A nun takes the veil

I have desired to go
Where springs not fail,
To fields where flies no sharp and sided hail
And a few lilies blow.

And I have asked to be
Where no storms come,
Where the green swell is in the havens dumb,
And out of the swing of the sea.

* * *

This beautifully worded poem is unlike most of Hopkins's poetry: it could almost pass for someone else's poetry, so free is it of Hopkins's usual oddities.

However, Hopkins's attention to sound is still quite in evidence: "fields where flies no sharp and sided hail," "swell" and "swing" in consecutive lines. There is also plenty of imagery for 8 lines.

I am not the only one of my friends who has desired something like this: to rest in a sweet and quiet place, on the bosom of Christ. A convent sounds, to me, like the most wonderful place on earth. In wordly terms, there is nothing there, but in heavenly terms, it contains everything necessary. Who would not want to sit at the feet of Christ and listen to him speak, away from the noise and bustle of the world?

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