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June 10, 2014

I had the good fortune to receive several poems in my box yesterday, sent to me by a Catholic/Orthodox priest, and very dear friend and brother in Spirrealism (whether he realizes he is or not, and I share this with a smile). I was especially delighted to read one by Gerard Manley Hopkins, and do take some time to read a little on his life: (excerpts from this article to follow)

What I see in the story of our dear Gerard is a man born of Spirit (angelkind), struggling in GIFT (Essence and Energy of God) while in the world, specifically, religious opportunity. What I find of keen interest is the view of religion and art, and how the two were not able to find EQUAL ground within him. For him, it appears the choice of one over or more than the other resulted in a finish of dulsatory wages, and I speak in a Spiritually pragmatic sense here. In making the choices he did, his “worth”  became more of a demand rather than an exercise of art, and learning, or even “a way of Being” of affection in Light and Love. I share this in hopes of energizing the awareness (wakefulness) in returning to the quest for Restitution within Love, and in this, I tell the reader that Artistic Expression in the vocational garb need not retain water, or wither to a dryness of a stick of chalk left on the ledge of a blackboard. Religion and Spirituality can marry in the steps of the flesh when Spirituality is not confused with Religion, and where SPIRITUAL ART is INSTRUMENT OF VITALITY within Placement of Purpose (Will of God).


I share a few excerpts from the above link …

The relationship between Hopkins and his father reveals important early instances of creative collaboration and competition within the family. Hopkins copied eleven of the poems from his father’s volume A Philosopher’s Stone into his Oxford notebooks. In those poems his father expressed a Keatsian dismay over science’s threat to a magical or imaginative response to nature. Manley Hopkins’s desire to preserve a Wordsworthian love of nature in his children is evident in his “To a Beautiful Child”:
thy book

Is cliff, and wood, and foaming waterfall;

Thy playmates–the wild sheep and birds that call

Hoarse to the storm;–thy sport is with the storm

To wrestle;–and thy piety to stand

Musing on things create, and their Creator’s hand!


This was a remarkably prophetic poem for Manley Hopkins’s first “beautiful child,” Gerard, born only a year after this poem was published.


Both Hopkins and Christina Rossetti believed that religion was more important than art. The outline of Hopkins’s career follows that of Christina Rossetti’s: an outwardly drab, plodding life of submission quietly bursting into splendor in holiness and poetry. Both felt that religious inspiration was more important than artistic inspiration. Whenever religious renunciation and self-expression were felt to be at odds, as they often were, self-expression had to be sacrificed. Poetry had to be subordinated to religion.

No doubt partly as a result of this attitude, both Hopkins and Rossetti were subject to intermittent creativity. Both thought of poetry as a gift which could not be summoned at will, and each turned to prose between bursts of poetic inspiration. In fact each went through a stage of about seven years in which writing prose almost entirely replaced composing poetry. Hopkins’s prose period stretched from 1868 to 1875, when his literary energies were devoted primarily to his journal. In addition to passing through periods of writing prose, both poets concluded their literary careers with devotional commentaries: in Hopkins’s case, his unfinished “Commentary on the Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius.”

The attitudes of Christina Rossetti and Hopkins toward art and religion have destined them to share much the same fate at the hands of twentieth-century readers: criticism for deliberately narrowing their subjects to a range too limited for modern palates, for expressing religious convictions with which it is now difficult to sympathize, for allowing religion to take precedence over poetry, or for actually impairing the creative gift itself. On the other hand, both are often praised by twentieth-century readers for the same feature: the expression of counterpoised forces generating dramatic tensions.

One of the most dramatic tensions was that between their attraction to this world and their determination to transcend it. Like Hopkins, Christina Rossetti often reveals a Keatsian attraction to the life of sensations, especially to nature. Hopkins’s wide variety of responses to nature, especially in the 1860s and 1880s, ranging from strong attraction to its beauty to belief that this beauty must be denied on religious grounds, is congruent with the range of Christina Rossetti’s responses. Ultimately, however, she believed that God was not in nature but above and therefore that one must ascend the heavenly stair invoked in “The Convent Threshold,” “A Shadow of Dorothea,” and other poems. Hopkins’s version of the legend of Saint Dorothea, “For a Picture of St. Dorothea” (1864), and his “Heaven-Haven” reveal a similar transition from the natural to the supernatural in his early poetry.

Hopkins’s “For a Picture of St. Dorothea” originated in that section of his journal devoted primarily to the representation of nature. However, the flowers in his poem are not rooted in the earth but in legend. Hopkins’s aim was not truth to nature primarily in this poem but the revival of medieval legend by defamiliarizing it, putting it in a new context and thereby restoring its original impact in the service of religion.



What is of careful poignancy in this last sentence is the rich juxapositioning of the myth, or mysterious, with the actual, or the more familiar. What we are reading in this is the ANGEL silencing the GUARD, which would be prison stem. All his life Gerard was up against “unfamiliarity” … people and things he felt some sympathy and similarity … but he was different. His Spirit half gasped intermittently for breath. Even “his” desire or longing for affection (flesh, touch, release) struggled to understand “itself.” Information on him says he desired other men, and yet, this was not really an option he considered “worthy” of himself … Why? Well, that takes us into Spiritual partnering not understood by most religious.

It’s almost as if he was gunned down by competing forces, needed the support and artistic climate of those ‘like’ him, but weathered himself into silence of Spirit. Allowing religion the upper hand—was this what caused confusion of Spiritual Awareness? Overdosing in any setting, where balance of lifestyle is rudely interrupted with practice or norm of society … leads to the gasping, a gasping which will wear one down instead of rev one up to illumination in Presence. Illness ensues … disease … demotion of Spiritual Enmity, also part of wakefulness. Lackluster presentation, in art of any form, pervades the Spirit Senses, reaping acquisition of being. My vision tells that both Christina and Gerard were in need of each other. No matter that she was quite a bit older, but they only met once. I find this fascinating because nothing is written. What I mean by this is that nothing is inherently known in these types of things. “Meant to be” is only ever awarded ‘itself’ in the primacy of Light, and one must be IN this Light or OF this Light for guarantee of induction—safehousing. Otherwise, sicknesses prevail … people and things intervene … especially … religion.


FROM WIKIPEDIA …Hopkins chose the austere and restrictive life of a Jesuit and was at times gloomy. The brilliant student who had left Oxford with a first-class honours degree failed his final theology exam. This failure almost certainly meant that, though ordained in 1877, Hopkins would not progress in the order. In 1877 he wrote God’s Grandeur, an array of sonnets including The Starlight Night. He finished The Windhover only a few months before his ordination. Though rigorous, isolated and sometimes unpleasant, his life during Jesuit training had at least some stability; the uncertain and varied work after ordination was even harder on his sensibilities. In October 1877, not long after he completed “The Sea and the Skylark” and only a month after he had been ordained as a priest, Hopkins took up his duties as subminister and teacher at Mount St. Mary’s College, Chesterfield. In July 1878 he became curate at the Jesuit church in Mount Street, London. In December he became curate at St. Aloysius’s Church, Oxford, then moving to Manchester, Liverpool and Glasgow.[3] Whilst ministering in Oxford, he became a founding member of Oxford University Newman Society, a society established in 1878 for the Catholic members of Oxford University. He taught Greek and Latin at Mount St Mary’s College, Sheffield, and Stonyhurst College, Lancashire.

In 1884 he became professor of Greek and Latin at University College Dublin.[11] His English roots and his disagreement with the Irish politics of the time, as well as his own small stature (5’2″), unprepossessing nature and personal oddities meant that he was not a particularly effective teacher. This as well as his isolation in Ireland deepened his gloom. His poems of the time, such as I Wake and Feel the Fell of Dark, reflected this. They came to be known as the “terrible sonnets,” not because of their quality but because according to Hopkins’s friend Canon Dixon, they reached the “terrible crystal,” meaning that they crystallized the melancholy dejection that plagued the later part of Hopkins’ life.

Final years…
Several problems conspired to depress Hopkins’s spirits and restrict his poetic inspiration during the last five years of his life.[12] His work load was extremely heavy. He disliked living in Dublin, away from England and friends. His general health deteriorated as his eyesight began to fail. He felt confined and dejected. As a devout Jesuit, he found himself in an artistic dilemma. To subdue any egotism which would violate the humility required by his religious position, he decided never to publish his poems. But Hopkins realized that any true poet requires an audience for criticism and encouragement. This conflict between his religious obligations and his poetic talent caused him to feel that he had failed them both.

After suffering ill health for several years and bouts of diarrhoea, Hopkins died of typhoid fever in 1889 and was buried in Glasnevin Cemetery, following his funeral in Saint Francis Xavier Church on Gardiner Street, located in Georgian Dublin. He is thought to have suffered throughout his life from what today might be diagnosed as either bipolar disorder or chronic unipolar depression, and battled a deep sense of melancholic anguish. However, on his death bed, his last words were, “I am so happy, I am so happy. I loved my life.”[4]


He was only 44 when he passed, and had not yet sprung a leak.




I BEAR a basket lined with grass;
I am so light, I am so fair,
That men must wonder as I pass
And at the basket that I bear,
Where in a newly-drawn green litter
Sweet flowers I carry,—sweets for bitter.

Lilies I shew you, lilies none,
None in Caesar’s gardens blow,—
And a quince in hand,—not one
Is set upon your boughs below;
Not set, because their buds not spring;
Spring not, ’cause world is wintering.

But these were found in the East and South
Where Winter is the clime forgot.—
The dewdrop on the larkspur’s mouth
O should it then be quench`d not?
In starry water-meads they drew
These drops: which be they? stars or dew?

Had she a quince in hand? Yet gaze:
Rather it is the sizing moon.
Lo, linkèd heavens with milky ways!
That was her larkspur row.—So soon?
Sphered so fast, sweet soul?—We see
Nor fruit, nor flowers, nor Dorothy.



Pope during Gerard’s Roman Catholic years (Wikipedia):

Pope Leo XIII (2 March 1810 – 20 July 1903), born Vincenzo Gioacchino Raffaele Luigi Pecci to an Italian comital family, reigned from 20 February 1878 to his death in 1903. He was the oldest pope (reigning until the age of 93), and had the third longest pontificate, behind that of Pius IX (his immediate predecessor) and Pope John Paul II. He is the most recent pontiff to date to take the pontifical name of “Leo” upon being elected to the pontificate.

He is well known for intellectualism, the development of social teachings with his famous papal encyclical Rerum Novarum and his attempts to define the position of the Catholic Church with regard to modern thinking. He influenced Roman Catholic Mariology and promoted both the rosary and the scapular. He issued a record eleven encyclicals on the rosary earning the moniker the “Rosary Pope”, approved two new Marian scapulars and was the first pope to fully embrace the concept of Mary as mediatrix. He was the first pope to never have held any control over the Papal States, after they were dissolved by 1870.

Leo XIII died on July 20, 1903 at the age of 93 and was briefly buried in the grottos of Saint Peter’s Basilica before his remains were later transferred to the Basilica of Saint John Lateran.


And I stumbled on this …






Peace and Love.

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