Wednesday, September 12, 2018

Reflections on Gerard Manley Hopkins and “The Wreck of the Deutschland”

Reading Hopkins’s poem aloud is a revelation, and I’m convinced that it’s the only way that it should be read.  And being submersed up to your neck in water, upon reflection, adds to the understanding.  Not to be flippant, but Hopkins wrote the poem in memory of five Franciscan nuns who drowned in the wee hours of the morning of December 7, 1875.  They were passengers in a ship called the Deutschland that ran aground and broke up in a terrible storm at the mouth of the Thames River in England.

I tried to read the poem many times because I had to.  Right?  It’s his most famous, the pinnacle of his poetic achievement, the consummation of his sprung rhythm theories, the triumph of sound over sense.  And it’s a religious poem that even a secular could enjoy, bad things happening to good people, a theme that atheists use to deny the existence of God, and Christians ponder to understand the mystery of suffering.

Read more at:  Dappled Things

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