our village (19)

The world is charged with the grandeur of God.
It will flame out, like shining from shook foil;
It gathers to a greatness, like the ooze of oil
Crushed.  Why do men then now not reck his rod?
Generations have trod, have trod, have trod;
And all is seared with trade; bleared, smeared with toil;
And wears man’s smudge and shares man’s smell: the soil
Is bare now, nor can foot feel, being shod.

And for all this, nature is never spent;
There lives the dearest freshness deep down things;
And though the last lights off the black West went
Oh, morning, at the brown brink eastward, springs —
Because the Holy Ghost over the bent
World broods with warm breast and with ah! bright wings.

That’s another one from Mr. Bellis’s poet, Gerard Manley Hopkins, and he gave that one to Lilly-Anne around the time I said she stayed home from school for a couple weeks, that’s how you know he’s not attracted to me, he’s giving away poems to all the girls, he’s just an old man trying to make some last impressions.  But that poem, for Lilly-Anne, at the same time I’m proposing she was impregnated by God … do you think Mr. Bellis thinks the same thing I do: immaculate conception?  Think about it: a poem about “God’s Grandeur.”  And you know what I like about it — that Mr. Bellis is a clever man, or maybe it’s Mr. Hopkins who’s the clever one — what I like about it as a gift for Lilly-Anne at that moment in time, is I like how the poem seems to start off sad — powerful, godly stuff, but dark: “toil” and “blood,” and “smudge” and “smell” — but that last part’s optimistic, don’t you think?  Morning light and “bright wings.”  And I bet that’s how kind Mr. Bellis wanted pure Lilly-Anne to feel at a confusing moment — her getting pregnant and all — like he’s saying to her through the poem, “this might seem dark, but it’s all morning light and ‘bright wings’ in the end.”  I hope he’s right.

What would that be like to be the mother of God?  Gawd Almighty.  I mean, really.  What are we doin’ sittin’ here when this could really be happening in our village?  What should we be doin’?  Praying?  Confessing?  Writing our own poetry?


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