Thursday, May 9, 2013

"The Starlight Night" by Gerard Manley Hopkins

The Starlight Night

Look at the stars! look, look up at the skies!
   O look at all the fire-folk sitting in the air!
   The bright boroughs, the circle-citadels there!
Down in dim woods the diamond delves! the elves’-eyes!
The grey lawns cold where gold, where quickgold lies!
   Wind-beat whitebeam! airy abeles set on a flare!
   Flake-doves sent floating forth at a farmyard scare!—
Ah well! it is all a purchase, all is a prize.

Buy then! bid then!—What?—Prayer, patience, alms, vows.
Look, look: a May-mess, like on orchard boughs!
   Look! March-bloom, like on mealed-with-yellow sallows!
These are indeed the barn; withindoors house
The shocks. This piece-bright paling shuts the spouse
   Christ home, Christ and his mother and all his hallows.

Source of the text – Gerard Manley Hopkins: The Major Works, edited with an Introduction and Notes by Catherine Phillips.  Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2002, pp. 128-29.

Bourguignomicon: Giddy, alliterated, sprung, assonant, tightly-rhymed, over-exclaimed, this sonnet figures the night sky as barn walls with heaven beyond.

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