Home  »  48. That Nature is a Heraclitean Fire and of the comfort of the Resurrection

Gerard Manley Hopkins (1844–89). Poems. 1918.

48. That Nature is a Heraclitean Fire and of the comfort of the Resurrection

CLOUD-PUFFBALL, torn tufts, tossed pillows ‘ flaunt forth, then chevy on an air-

built thoroughfare: heaven-roysterers, in gay-gangs ‘ they throng; they glitter in marches.

Down roughcast, down dazzling whitewash, ‘ wherever an elm arches,

Shivelights and shadowtackle in long ‘ lashes lace, lance, and pair.

Delightfully the bright wind boisterous ‘ ropes, wrestles, beats earth bare

Of yestertempest’s creases; in pool and rut peel parches

Squandering ooze to squeezed ‘ dough, crust, dust; stanches, starches

Squadroned masks and manmarks ‘ treadmire toil there

Footfretted in it. Million-fuelèd, ‘ nature’s bonfire burns on.

But quench her bonniest, dearest ‘ to her, her clearest-selvèd spark

Man, how fast his firedint, ‘ his mark on mind, is gone!

Both are in an unfathomable, all is in an enormous dark

Drowned. O pity and indig ‘ nation! Manshape, that shone

Sheer off, disseveral, a star, ‘ death blots black out; nor mark

Is any of him at all so stark

But vastness blurs and time ‘ beats level. Enough! the Resurrection,

A heart’s-clarion! Away grief’s gasping, ‘ joyless days, dejection.

Across my foundering deck shone

A beacon, an eternal beam. ‘ Flesh fade, and mortal trash

Fall to the residuary worm; ‘ world’s wildfire, leave but ash:

In a flash, at a trumpet crash,

I am all at once what Christ is, ‘ since he was what I am, and

This Jack, joke, poor potsherd, ‘ patch, matchwood, immortal diamond,

Is immortal diamond.