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Short poem

Gerard Manley Hopkins (1844-1889)

That Nature is a Heraclitean Fire

              1Cloud-puffball, torn tufts, tossed pillows | flaunt forth, then chevy on an air-
              2Built thoroughfare: heaven-roysterers, in gay-gangs | they throng; they glitter in marches.
              3Down roughcast, down dazzling whitewash, | wherever an elm arches,
              4Shivelights and shadowtackle ín long | lashes lace, lance, and pair.
              5Delightfully the bright wind boisterous | ropes, wrestles, beats earth bare
              6Of yestertempest's creases; in pool and rutpeel parches
              7Squandering ooze to squeezed | dough, crúst, dust; stánches, stárches
              8Squadroned masks and manmarks | treadmire toil there
              9Foótfretted in it. Million-fuelèd, | nature's bonfire burns on.
            10But quench her bonniest, dearest | to her, her clearest-selvèd spark
            11Mán, how fást his fíredint, | his mark on mind, is gone!
            12Bóth are in an únfáthomable, áll is in an enórmous dárk
            13Drowned. O pity and indig | nation! Manshape, that shone
            14Sheer off, disséveral, a stár, | death blots black out; nor mark
            15Is ány of him at áll so stárk
            16But vastness blurs and time | beats level. Enough! the Resurrection,
            17A héart's-clarion! Awáy grief's gásping, | joyless days, dejection.
            18Across my foundering deck shone
            19A beacon, an eternal beam. | Flesh fade, and mortal trash
            20Fáll to the resíduary worm; | world's wildfire, leave but ash:
            21In a flash, at a trumpet crash,
            22I am all at once what Christ is |, since he was what I am, and
            23Thís Jack, jóke, poor pótsherd, | patch, matchwood, immortal diamond,
            24Is immortal diamond.

Online text copyright © 2003, Ian Lancashire for the Department of English, University of Toronto.
Published by the Web Development Group, Information Technology Services, University of Toronto Libraries.

Original text: The Later Poetic Manuscripts of Gerard Manley Hopkins in Facsimile, ed. Norman H. MacKenzie (New York and London: Garland Publishing, 1991): 330-31. PR 4803 H44A6 1991 Robarts Library
First publication date: 1918
RPO poem editor: Ian Lancashire
RP edition: RPO 1996-2000.
Recent editing: 2:2002/3/14

Composition date: 1888
Rhyme: abbaabbacdcdcddccceeefff

Other poems by Gerard Manley Hopkins