Gerard Manley Hopkins: Inversnaid

As a student, I used to love the poetry of Gerard Manley Hopkins. It wasn’t intellectual like TS Eliot, nor contemplative like Wordsworth. It wasn’t trying to be anything except a joyful exploration of how sound and language could represent the world around us. At his best, Hopkins’ poetry was worship. My favourites are The Windhover and Pied Beauty.

And continuing on the theme of nature from the last post, I’ve just discovered this one (Inversnaid is a waterfall in Scotland). What a rallying cry in the last stanza! – Pilgrim Mom


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 fáwn-fróth
Turns and twindles over the broth
Of a pool so pitchblack, féll-frówning,
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.


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