Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Wildness and Wet


One of my favorite poets Gerard Manly Hopkins was born on this date in 1874. I think it's safe to call him the first modern poet. His poetry didn't come to be appreciated until 1918, about thirty years after he died. In a college course called "Great Writers" we spent a quarter studying his poetry. In an exam we could write a poem from memory instead of answering one of the questions. Here are the last two stanzas of one that I memorized called "Inversnaid." I had to go to the book. It is no longer in my memory.

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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