In Piam Memoriam

By Geoffrey Hill b. 1932 Geoffrey Hill

Created purely from glass the saint stands,   
Exposing his gifted quite empty hands   
Like a conjurer about to begin,
A righteous man begging of righteous men.


In the sun lily-and-gold-coloured,
Filtering the cruder light, he has endured,   
A feature for our regard; and will keep;   
Of worldly purity the stained archetype.


The scummed pond twitches. The great holly-tree,   
Emptied and shut, blows clear of wasting snow,   
The common, puddled substance: beneath,   
Like a revealed mineral, a new earth.

Geoffrey Hill, “In Piam Memoriam” from New and Collected Poems, 1952-1992. Copyright © 1994 by Geoffrey Hill. Used with the permission of Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.

Source: New and Collected Poems 1952-1992 (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 1994)

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Poet Geoffrey Hill b. 1932


Subjects Faith & Doubt, Painting & Sculpture, Religion, Arts & Sciences

Poetic Terms Imagery, Couplet

 Geoffrey  Hill


Geoffrey Hill was born in Worcestershire, England in 1932. From a working-class family, Hill attended Oxford where his work was first published by the poet Donald Hall. These poems later collected in For the Unfallen: Poems 1952-1958 (1959) marked an astonishing debut. In dense poems of gnarled syntax and astonishing rhetorical power, Hill planted the seeds of style and concern that he has continued to cultivate over his long . . .

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SUBJECT Faith & Doubt, Painting & Sculpture, Religion, Arts & Sciences


Poetic Terms Imagery, Couplet

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Originally appeared in Poetry magazine.

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