Gérard Manley Hopkins SJ

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On this flaming day in June, with such beautiful pagan mountains rising all around, I felt your uncertain presence in this bastion of the Jesuits.

I listened, and you, doubtless, overheard, disquisitions concerning the nuts and bolts of your poetry

As your real presence crept slowly into my heart, I knew your journey of renunciation saw you washed up on many steep and rocky promontories,

Where love was spoken of, but never felt. No Greek love in your austere journeying, my friend. Who were the erastes or the eromenos of your dreams?

Did you visit the kybeia?  Travel languidly from the port of Piraeus to Crete?  Watch Sappho cavorting on the beach and wonder how your self-denying ordnance could please the risen Christ?

Were you only his long-lost sheep who must forever  repent, repent, repent? Was it for this lifetime of barely acknowledged misery that your Saviour was created or sent?

To cancel  Dolben’s drowning?

A weary pantheism sustained your passing epiphanies, cancelled your melancholic, empty inscape, showed you the truth in the passing beauties of Et in Arcadia ego 

Where the low door in the wall leads you into an enchanted garden: not overlooked by guilt or loss or God.


◄ John Keats 31 October 1795 – 23 February 1821

The Unsaid ►


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John Marks

Sat 24th Apr 2021 02:37

I am so glad that you, dear Keith, took strength from this poem about a poet who evaded his essential nature

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keith jeffries

Sat 24th Apr 2021 00:24

You have excelled yourself with this poem. I am familiar with Gerard Manley Hopkins as I once attended a course on the subject of Spiritual Direction and the Exercises of St Ignatius of Loyola. Manley would have been well acquainted with the exercises. Your poem made me smile as you challenge Jesuit theology with the reality of creation and temptation, raising questions as to whether God would be pleased with abstinence and constant repentance in His world where such beauty is naturally alluring and tempting. A poem to challenge orthodoxy but a serious question as to why we should deny God's gifts in order to somehow please him.

I took some strength from this poem and thank you for it


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