we find it hitched to everything else in the universe

From John Muir: Nature Writings (an anthology): When we try to pick out anything by itself, we find it hitched to everything else in the universe. One fancies a heart like our own must be beating in every crystal and cell, and we feel like stopping to speak to the plants and animals as friendly […]

be beginning to despair

Poem by Gerard Manley Hopkins. I heard this recited twice with remarkable mastery by a new friend this past week (once late at night and once early in the morning). These recitations were among top “experiences” of my life thus far. The Leaden Echo and the Golden Echo (Maidens’ song from St. Winefred’s Well) THE […]

a few lilies blow

Heaven—Haven A nun takes the veil       I HAVE desired to go       Where springs not fail, To fields where flies no sharp and sided hail     And a few lilies blow.     And I have asked to be       Where no storms come, Where the green swell is in the havens dumb,     And out of the swing of […]

airy abeles set on a flare

The magi would have understood this imperative to look at the stars. Abeles (or white poplars) are a Eurasian salicaceous tree (Populus alba) having palmately (“like a palm with fingers extended”) lobed leaves covered on the underside with dense silvery-white hairs. Flares are “a fire or blaze of light used especially to signal, illuminate, or […]

ooze of oil

Gerard Manley Hopkins (1844–89): God’s Grandeur 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 […]