Nov 30 – “meadow-down is not distressed for a rainbow footing it” – gerard manley hopkins sj

Friday, November 30   –    the  last day of November

I’m crazy busy today but a GMH can stand by itself and bless anybody.  Who knows what intuition led 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 do daily burdens define the person.   Our campus is approaching final exams; lots of hard work and lots of worn down students, faculty, and staff.   This afternoon’s low-in-the-sky sun, pale & delicate can anoint our fatigue.

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 to startle your imagination and make you smile.

Welcome to December,


john st 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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