Nov 27 G M Hopkin sj ‘the caged skylark”

Monday, November 27   —  “Man’s mounting spirit in his bone-house, mean house, dwells”

Back to work after a lovely 4 day weekend, a weekend that can open the imagination to beauty and stillness and rest.   Turning back into a five day work week sometimes wears, even grinds.   Perhaps that’s what brought G. M. Hopkins to this metaphor: a skylark’s wild explosions of energy and what happens when all that free spirit gets caged, skylark caged, a human being caged, “day-laboring-out life’s age.”

The cage does not define the lark, nor the daily burdens define the person.  A reminder:  it helps when reading Hopkins, to give his word play a practice run until you get the cadences right and until you give his word choices a chance startle your imagination and make you smile.

Three good surprises today?  Sure.   Have a blest week.


john sj


Today’s Post:  “The Caged Skylark”

AS a dare-gale skylark scanted in a dull cage

Man’s mounting spirit in his bone-house, mean house, dwells—

That bird beyond the remembering his free fells;

This in drudgery, day-labouring-out life’s age.


Though aloft on turf or perch or poor low stage,

Both sing sometímes the sweetest, sweetest spells,

Yet both droop deadly sómetimes in their cells

Or wring their barriers in bursts of fear or rage.


Not that the sweet-fowl, song-fowl, needs no rest—

Why, hear him, hear him babble and drop down to his nest,

But his own nest, wild nest, no prison.


Man’s spirit will be flesh-bound when found at best,

But uncumbered: meadow-down is not distressed

For a rainbow footing it nor he for his bónes rísen.

G. M. Hopkins, sj   1844-1889

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1 Response to Nov 27 G M Hopkin sj ‘the caged skylark”

  1. Pingback: Sept 26 — G. M. Hopkins — “The Caged Skylark” | Poetry Blog: "A Work Day in Hard Times"

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