God’s Grandeur

Having just spent the past few days re-reading some of Keats’s poetry I am reminded of his delight in the beauty in the landscape which he saw all around him as he undertook his long walk through Scotland in 1818. His fellow Romantic poets, Hopkins and Wordsworth were also eager to write about the beauty of the natural world. Therefore, today I use two poems which I trust you will enjoy and I am confident they are old favorites of many of us who have a love for Hopkins and Wordsworth.

The world is a cruel place at the moment but if the trees of the field could sing, and if the hills could shout, and if the flowers could whisper, they would tell a whole different story of grace and joy. Take a moment to notice what is all around you and be mindful of Hopkins who often referred to the importance of “inscape” as he enjoyed landscape. Inscape – that part of you which is your soul and which gives to you a full sense of being human and being part of the Divine order. Wordsworth reminds us that when we have strayed out of touch from nature we are “out of tune”. Enjoy!

God’s Grandeur
Gerard Manley Hopkins 1844-1889

The world is charged with the grandeur of God.
   It will flame out, like shining from shook foil;
   It gathers to a greatness, like the ooze of oil
Crushed. Why do men then now not reck his rod?
Generations have trod, have trod, have trod;
   And all is seared with trade; bleared, smeared with toil;
   And wears man’s smudge and shares man’s smell: the soil
Is bare now, nor can foot feel, being shod.

And for all this, nature is never spent;
   There lives the dearest freshness deep down things;
And though the last lights off the black West went
   Oh, morning, at the brown brink eastward, springs–
Because the Holy Ghost over the bent
   World broods with warm breast and with ah! bright wings.

The World Is Too Much With Us
William Wordsworth 1770-1850

The world is too much with us; late and soon,
Getting and spending, we lay waste our powers;—
Little we see in Nature that is ours;
We have given our hearts away, a sordid boon!
This Sea that bares her bosom to the moon;
The winds that will be howling at all hours,
And are up-gathered now like sleeping flowers;
For this, for everything, we are out of tune;
It moves us not. Great God! I’d rather be
A Pagan suckled in a creed outworn;
So might I, standing on this pleasant lea,
Have glimpses that would make me less forlorn;
Have sight of Proteus rising from the sea;
Or hear old Triton blow his wreathèd horn.

Creator God,
you who are Alpha and Omega
hear my prayer of thanksgiving.
I give you thanks for
the beauty and brilliance
of sun and moon,
for the majesty of mountains,
the curling of clouds and the
falling of leaves, golden in
the morning sunlight and red
as rust in the encircling dusk.
All this beauty I behold and
know you to be Creator and Lord.
Help me to be still, enable me to breathe
deeply and feel the mystery of the Divine
pulsing in my veins.
In the silence of breath and prayer
might I hear your gentle, gracious invitation,
“Come follow me” Amen.

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