This darkness burn, horseback brown,
His rollrock highroad roaring down,
In coop and in comb the fleece of his foam
Flutes and low to the lake falls home.
A windpuff-bonnet of fawn-froth
Turns and twindles over the broth
Of a pool so pitchblack, fell-frowning,
It rounds and rounds Despair to drowning.
Degged with dew, dappled with dew
Are the groins of the braes that the brook threads through,
Wiry heathpacks, flitches of fern,
And the beadbonny ash that sits over the burn.
What would the world be, once bereft
Of wet and of wildness? Let them be left,
O let them be left, wildness and wet;
Long live the weeds and the wildness yet.
Gerald Manly Hopkins
Reverend Father Gerard Manley Hopkins, S.J. (28 July 1844 – 8 June 1889) was an English poet, Roman Catholic convert, and a Jesuit priest, whose posthumous fame established him among the leading Victorian poets. His experimental explorations in prosody (especially sprung rhythm) and his use of imagery established him as a daring innovator in a period of largely traditional verse. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gerard_Manley_Hopkins
Inversnaid (Scottish GaelicInbhir Snàthaid) is a small rural community on the east bank of Loch Lomond in Scotland, near the north end of the loch. It has a pier and a hotel, and the West Highland Way passes through the area… A small passenger ferry runs from Inversnaid to Inveruglas on the opposite shore of the loch. To reach Inversnaid by road involves a 15-mile route from Aberfoyle. Nearby is an alleged hideout of Rob Roy MacGregor known as Rob Roy’s Cave. The cave is difficult to access, and is best seen from Loch Lomond, where there is white paint indicating the location of the hideout. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Inversnaid
I’ve always loved Gerald Manley Hopkins rocking and rollicking verse. There was no one I know of at that time writing alliterative, rhyming poetry – he really stands out, a true original.
Anyhow, a lot of times I’m not quite sure what he’s talking about! I have that problem with several late 19th and 20th century English-language poets. I like the music of their poetry, the imagery of their poetry, but for the life of me, have no idea what they’re talking about.
This poem seems to be all about the place Inversnaid – and for me the picture of the falls there helps illuminate the poems meaning.