Friday, January 06, 2017

Poetry Friday: Roots

On New Year's Eve, we all shared our words for the year.  Mine is ROOTED.  My daughter immediately went in search of the Hopkins book, and read me this poem.

She is a big Hopkins fan, even using Gerard's photo as her profile picture, and a big reason for that is the way he expresses depression, frustration, futility.   In this poem, nothing that he tries is successful.  He looks around and it's spring; everything else is blooming.  The birds are hard at work at their nests. But he's stuck in a sterile, monastic existence, with nothing to show for it.   He doesn't know what to do about it, except pour it out on paper, and then that last line: "Send my roots rain."

I'm hoping, and praying, for rain this year, too.

'Thou art indeed just, Lord, if I contend'
by Gerard Manley Hopkins

Justus quidem tu es, Domine, si disputem tecum; verumtamen
justa loquar ad te: Quare via impiorum prosperatur? &c. 

Thou art indeed just, Lord, if I contend
With thee; but, sir, so what I plead is just.
Why do sinners’ ways prosper? and why must
Disappointment all I endeavour end?
    Wert thou my enemy, O thou my friend,
How wouldst thou worse, I wonder, than thou dost
Defeat, thwart me? Oh, the sots and thralls of lust
Do in spare hours more thrive than I that spend,
Sir, life upon thy cause. See, banks and brakes
Now, leavèd how thick! lacèd they are again
With fretty chervil, look, and fresh wind shakes
Them; birds build – but not I build; no, but strain,
Time’s eunuch, and not breed one work that wakes.
Mine, O thou lord of life, send my roots rain.

It's also Epiphany today, so here's a bonus poem, one with more hope:  "Where the Map Begins" at Painted Prayerbook.

Linda has the roundup today, this first one of 2017.


Anonymous said...

“All that is gold does not glitter,
Not all those who wander are lost;
The old that is strong does not wither,
Deep roots are not reached by the frost.

From the ashes a fire shall be woken,
A light from the shadows shall spring;
Renewed shall be blade that was broken,
The crownless again shall be king.”
― J.R.R. Tolkien, The Fellowship of the Ring

Another roots poem for you and Suzanna

Tabatha said...

Yes, rain for the roots. "Where the Map Begins" is wonderful also. Thanks!

Ruth said...

I'm not sure which Liz left me that poem, but thank you. <3

Robyn Hood Black said...

Happy New Year, Ruth! Roots and rain - yes, and thank you for offering both for us to consider and call forth at the beginning of this year's journey. The Jan Richardson poem & image are just soul-nourishing - "Look starward once,/then look away" - and I always love GM Hopkins. (And for some reason that "fretty chervil" just tickled my senses this morning!)

Brenda Harsham said...

I agree with Robyn, that "fretty chervil" gave me a visceral connection, as it rooted me into my herb garden. I do love GMH. He's not someone who should have felt his creations had no life, yet he is as frail and self-doubting as the rest of us. He gives me hope, takes it away and then pushes it even farther in, like a true magician with words. I hope your 2017 is rooted, calm, and free of turmoil and natural disaster, Ruth.

Tara Smith said...

Happy New Year, Ruth - may it bring the rain you need.

Whispers from the Ridge said...

Yes, send my roots rain! I need this line in my notebook. Thank you, Ruth!

Kay said...

I love that ending line of sending rain for the roots. Even when things seem dead and hopeless, rain can bring forth rain and fresh growth.

Linda B said...

Happy New Year, Ruth, happy to see you back. Your GMH poem sounds like a dark moment for him, but asking for succor at least shows he won't quit. I like the 2nd poem, too, the journey healing is good. May rain come your way as well as stars!

Violet Nesdoly said...

I love how your daughter could instantly supplement your OLW with a poem! You've trained her well *grin.* May rain of every kind nourish your roots this year! (Thanks too for sharing Jan Richardson's "Map" poem. I just downloaded her 2017 Women's Christmas Retreat booklet on hope. I love her wise, artistic spirit!)