Tag: identity

Inspiring Poems: “As kingfishers catch fire”

The poet Gerard Manley Hopkins was born on July 28th, 1844. If you’ve ever seen a kingfisher fly past, you’ll know that flash of bright blue, so you’ll probably be able to imagine the excitement that Hopkins puts in the opening line to this wonderful poem:

“As kingfishers catch fire, dragonflies draw flame”

dragonflyflame

But this poem turns out to be more than being inspired by nature.  It turns out, firstly, to be about the uniqueness of each living thing:

“Each mortal thing does one thing and the same:

Deals out that being indoors each one dwells;

Selves — goes itself; myself it speaks and spells,

Crying Whát I dó is me: for that I came.”

whatIdoisme HOPKINS

But there is still more.  Human beings, he says, do not merely go around “being themselves”.  That could mean anything!  He turns to consider goodness and virtue:

“I say móre: the just man justices;

Keeps grace: thát keeps all his goings graces;

Acts in God’s eye what in God’s eye he is —”

And the poem ends with this idea that each person is the divine image.  Hopkins was a Christian, and for him, he sees Christ, God’s image, in each person:

“Acts in God’s eye what in God’s eye he is —

Chríst — for Christ plays in ten thousand places,

Lovely in limbs, and lovely in eyes not his

To the Father through the features of men’s faces.”

lovelyineyes HOPKINS

You can read the whole poem here.

I Have Found My Way

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I have found my way 

and it is a different way to the world’s way  

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A way that leads to life through death 

a way of grace and reconciliation 

humility, obedience and self-renunciation  

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I have found my way 

I have found a new identity  

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Now I can begin again 

to live and work 

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to write and sing 

I can begin again  

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And I can now be understood 

by love of one known greater than myself 

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Who gave his life for love of me 

his life and love now newly understood  

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Renouncing all his pleasures 

all the comforts of his soul 

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Relinquished all in the death of hell 

he felt upon the cross  

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In the dark a single cry 

‘Why – O my God – why?’  

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Forsaken,  not gone astray like us  

punished for all our wanderings  

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The Jews had forty years – I had twenty 

in the desert before he gave me plenty 

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Of grace, of love, of fellowship 

with others, sisters, brothers newly found 

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Discovered and recovered from the grave  

a flock and then a kingdom saved 

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To serve their lord and shepherd

Faithfully  

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And now we come to live together 

to meet the world and serve forever 

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The king

Of all the heavens  

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Having fellowship with the light 

fighting still the endless fight  

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The darkness that surrounds us 

that will not quickly leave us  

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Shining like stars despite our sin 

struggling still to let him in  

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I have found my way 

and it is a different way from the world’s way  

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I have found my God

My feast 

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And now I bear the yoke 

that brings at last my peace. 

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