'I wake and feel the fell of dark, not day'

By Gerard Manley Hopkins 1844–1889 Gerard Manley Hopkins
I wake and feel the fell of dark, not day.
What hours, O what black hours we have spent
This night! what sights you, heart, saw; ways you went!
And more must, in yet longer light's delay.
   With witness I speak this. But where I say
Hours I mean years, mean life. And my lament
Is cries countless, cries like dead letters sent
To dearest him that lives alas! away.

   I am gall, I am heartburn. God's most deep decree
Bitter would have me taste: my taste was me;
Bones built in me, flesh filled, blood brimmed the curse.
   Selfyeast of spirit a dull dough sours. I see
The lost are like this, and their scourge to be
As I am mine, their sweating selves; but worse.

Source: Gerard Manley Hopkins: Poems and Prose (Penguin Classics, 1985)

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Poet Gerard Manley Hopkins 1844–1889

POET’S REGION England

SCHOOL / PERIOD Victorian

Subjects Faith & Doubt, Religion, God & the Divine

Poetic Terms Sonnet

 Gerard  Manley Hopkins

Biography

Gerard Manley Hopkins is one of the three or four greatest poets of the Victorian era. He is regarded by different readers as the greatest Victorian poet of religion, of nature, or of melancholy. However, because his style was so radically different from that of his contemporaries, his best poems were not accepted for publication during his lifetime, and his achievement was not fully recognized until after World War I.

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Poem Categorization

SUBJECT Faith & Doubt, Religion, God & the Divine

POET’S REGION England

SCHOOL / PERIOD Victorian

Poetic Terms Sonnet

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Originally appeared in Poetry magazine.

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