This week’s Featured Poem comes from Welsh favourite Gerard Manley Hopkins, who is regarded by many readers as the greatest Victorian poet of religion, nature , and melancholy. As a painter, he is known for his particular technique of ‘wordpainting’ – to use language in such a way that it creates strong imagery and is vivid and often sensuous. He is also renowned for implementing his own rhythmic poetic structure – “sprung rhythm” as he called it.
Hopkins is said to have been especially fond of the beautiful Elwy valley in the Snowdonia region of North Wales. His poem, In The Valley Of The Elwy is an almost ‘ode’ to this place, and the feelings he experienced when he spent time there of being at one with nature and the world.
In The Valley Of The Elwy
I remember a house where all were good
To me, God knows, deserving no such thing:
Comforting smell breathed at very entering,
Fetched fresh, as I suppose, off some sweet wood.
That cordial air made those kind people a hood
All over, as a bevy of eggs the mothering wing
Will, or mild nights the new morsels of Spring:
Why, it seemed of course; seemed of right it should.
Lovely the woods, waters, meadows, combes, vales,
All the air things wear that build this world of Wales;
Only the inmate does not correspond:
God, lover of souls, swaying considerate scales,
Complete thy creature dear O where it fails,
Being mighty a master, being a father and fond.
Gerard Manley Hopkins