Saturday, July 29, 2017

My Own Heart by Gerard Manley Hopkins

First there is this from The Writer's Almanac:

My own heart let me more have pity on; let
Me live to my sad self hereafter kind,
Charitable; not live this tormented mind
With this tormented mind tormenting yet.
I cast for comfort I can no more get
By groping round my comfortless, than blind
Eyes in their dark can day or thirst can find
Thirst’s all-in-all in all a world of wet.

Soul, self; come, poor Jackself, I do advise
You, jaded, let be; call off thoughts awhile
Elsewhere; leave comfort root-room; let joy size
At God knows when to God knows what; whose smile
‘s not wrung, see you; unforeseen times rather—as skies
Betweenpie mountains—lights a lovely mile.

"My Own Heart" by Gerard Manley Hopkins. Public domain.

And there is this personal postscript:

Hopkins gives us a sensible sonnet

About comfort in spite of our torment,
And I have not a thing further to add,
Which must be comfort to everyone.


  1. I like the idea of making it a point to find comfort during torment, Tim. Thanks for sharing this.

  2. i don't think i follow this poem too well; the speaker doesn't seem very happy, but it's not clear to me why not... it does sort of jingle along, tho...

    1. Mudpuddle--I think it's something along the lines of don't be too hard on yourself, maybe.

  3. Margot, Mudpuddle, Fred: the poem comforts me. Readers might be tormented and thrown off by the poet's sprung rhythms, near rhymes, off rhymes, internal rhymes, alliteration, assonance, and slippery syntax, but that's just Hopkins being Hopkins. It's one of those poems worth hearing aloud without getting bogged down in explication. Typical Hopkins.