Friday, December 28, 2018

Pressure under grace …

… All Things Original and Strange by Gregory Woods | Poetry Foundation. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

I’m surprised when I read in Sylvia Plath’s journals (February 27, 1956): “Meanwhile, read Hopkins for solace.” And again (March 6, 1956): “... all the despair, coming at me when I am most weak. I will read Hopkins: and, when our lives crack, and the loveliest mirror cracks, is it not right to rest, to step aside and heal.” Plath places Hopkins in the exalted company of EliotYeatsDunbarRansomShakespeareBlake, and Dylan Thomas, as one of those who “made of the moment, of the hustle and jostle of grey, anonymous and sliding words a vocabulary to staunch wounds, to bind up broken limbs” (March 1, 1958). But Hopkins the healer doesn’t indulge complacencies: he draws attention to the wound and the fracture in his own body, in Christ’s, and therefore in the reader’s. His healing hurts.
I can’t say I’ve ever thought of Felix Randall as a beautuful boy.

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