|High, Pretty, Alone in the Wind|
In Hopkins’ “terrible sonnets,” here is the short passage I find most wrenching and representative (from “No worst there is none”):
O the mind, mind has mountains; cliffs of fall
Frightful, sheer, no-man-fathomed. Hold them cheap
May who ne'er hung there.However, as a whole poem, I prefer “Thou art indeed just, Lord, if I contend.” Its final three lines are not for sissies either:
Justus quidem tu es, Domine, si disputem tecum; verumtamen
justa loquar ad te: Quare via impiorum prosperatur? &c.
The post that will follow next time got away from me in length and tone (too formal, not much fun). But to avoid being the squirrel halfway across the road, I’m going to post it later, in two parts.Thou art indeed just, Lord, if I contendWith thee; but, sir, so what I plead is just.Why do sinners’ ways prosper? and why mustDisappointment all I endeavour end?Wert thou my enemy, O thou my friend,How wouldst thou worse, I wonder, than thou dostDefeat, thwart me? Oh, the sots and thralls of lustDo in spare hours more thrive than I that spend,Sir, life upon thy cause. See, banks and brakesNow, leavèd how thick! lacèd they are againWith fretty chervil, look, and fresh wind shakesThem; birds build – but not I build; no, but strain,Time’s eunuch, and not breed one work that wakes.Mine, O thou lord of life, send my roots rain.
|How Clear Is the Focus?|
One answer is to respond to those people as we’d respond to a poem. We listen carefully to the language being uttered. What do the words mean, at the literal, denotative as well as the emotional, connotative levels? In what tone or mood are they offered, and is that appropriate to the situation?
|How Heavy's the Load?|
|How Loud Is the Flap?|