'Inversnaid' by Gerard Manley Hopkins


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Poems of Gerard Manley HopkinsThis darksome burn, horseback brown,
His rollrock highroad roaring down,
In coop and in comb the fleece of his foam
Flutes and low to the lake falls home.A windpuff-bonnet of fwn-frth
Turns and twindles over the broth
Of a pool so pitchblack, fll-frwning,
It rounds and rounds Despair to drowning.Degged with dew, dappled with dew
Are the groins of the braes that the brook treads through,
Wiry heathpacks, flitches of fern,
And the beadbonny ash that sits over the burn.What would the world be, once bereft
Of wet and of wildness? Let them be left,
O let them be left, wildness and wet;
Long live the weeds and the wilderness yet.

Editor 1 Interpretation

Inversnaid by Gerard Manley Hopkins: A Nature Poem with Religious Undertones

"THIS darksome burn, horseback brown, His rollrock highroad roaring down, Flutes and low to the lake falls home."

Inversnaid, a poem written by Gerard Manley Hopkins, is a nature poem that captures the beauty and power of the natural world. It is a poem that celebrates the majesty of nature, and the role it plays in sustaining life on our planet. However, this is not the only theme that Hopkins explores in this poem. Inversnaid also has religious undertones, which add depth and complexity to the poem.

Hopkins was a deeply religious man, and his poetry often reflected his faith. Inversnaid is no exception. Through his use of language and imagery, Hopkins explores the idea that nature is a manifestation of God’s power and glory.

The Power of Nature

The first stanza of the poem sets the scene. Hopkins describes a "darksome burn" that is "horseback brown". The use of these vivid, sensory details immediately transports the reader to the Scottish landscape that Hopkins is describing. The burn is not just any burn, it is "darksome", which suggests that there is something sinister or mysterious about it. The fact that it is "horseback brown" suggests that it is rough and coarse, like the hide of a horse.

Hopkins goes on to describe the burn as a "rollrock highroad roaring down". The use of alliteration and onomatopoeia here creates a sense of movement and energy. The burn is not just flowing, it is "roaring" down the hillside. The fact that it is a "highroad" suggests that it is a powerful force, capable of shaping the landscape around it.

In the second stanza, Hopkins continues to explore the power of nature. He writes:

"Wind piping down, scouring the black, Casemented colorblind chaos back To the beginning of the world."

Here, Hopkins uses personification to describe the wind as "piping down". The use of this language creates a sense of energy and movement, as if the wind is dancing through the landscape. The wind is also described as "scouring the black", which suggests that it is cleansing or purifying the landscape. The fact that it is "casemented" suggests that it is contained or confined, like a prisoner. However, the wind is so powerful that it is able to break free from its confinement and create chaos.

Hopkins also describes the landscape as "colorblind chaos". The use of this language suggests that the landscape is wild and uncontrolled. However, the fact that it is "colorblind" suggests that it is also beautiful and full of life. The chaos of the landscape is not a negative thing, but rather a celebration of the diversity and complexity of nature.

The Presence of God

In addition to exploring the power of nature, Hopkins also explores the idea that nature is a manifestation of God’s power and glory. In the third stanza of the poem, he writes:

"Each mortal thing does one thing and the same: Deals out that being indoors each one dwells; Selves — goes itself; myself it speaks and spells, Crying Whát I dó is me: for that I came."

Here, Hopkins suggests that everything in nature has a purpose, and that purpose is to manifest the glory of God. Each "mortal thing" has its own unique role to play in the grand scheme of things, and by fulfilling that role, it is glorifying God.

Hopkins also suggests that we, as human beings, have a similar purpose. We are meant to fulfill the role that God has given us, and by doing so, we too can manifest God’s glory. This idea is expressed in the final stanza of the poem, where Hopkins writes:

"Let them be left, O let them be left, wildness and wet; Long live the weeds and the wilderness yet."

Here, Hopkins is suggesting that we should embrace the wildness and beauty of nature, and recognize that it is a manifestation of God’s glory. By doing so, we can connect with God on a deeper level, and fulfill our own purpose in life.

Conclusion

Inversnaid is a powerful and complex poem that explores the beauty and power of nature, as well as the presence of God in the world. Through his use of language and imagery, Hopkins creates a vivid and evocative portrait of the Scottish landscape, and invites the reader to engage with nature on a deeper level. By doing so, he suggests that we can connect with God in a profound way, and fulfill our own purpose in life.

Overall, the poem is a celebration of the majesty and wonder of the natural world, and a powerful reminder of the role that nature plays in sustaining life on our planet.

Editor 2 Analysis and Explanation

Poetry Inversnaid: A Masterpiece of Nature Poetry

Gerard Manley Hopkins, one of the most celebrated poets of the Victorian era, was known for his innovative style and his deep love for nature. His poem "Poetry Inversnaid" is a perfect example of his unique style and his ability to capture the beauty and power of the natural world.

Inversnaid is a small village in Scotland, located on the banks of the River Arklet. Hopkins visited the village in 1881 and was struck by the wild and rugged beauty of the landscape. He was inspired to write a poem that would capture the essence of this untamed wilderness, and the result was "Poetry Inversnaid."

The poem is written in Hopkins' signature style, which he called "sprung rhythm." This style is characterized by irregular meter and a complex system of stresses and accents. It gives the poem a unique musical quality, with a rhythm that seems to rise and fall like the waves of the river.

The poem begins with a description of the landscape:

This darksome burn, horseback brown, His rollrock highroad roaring down, Flutes and low to the lake falls home.

The language is rich and evocative, with vivid imagery that brings the landscape to life. The "darksome burn" is a small stream that flows through the village, and the "horseback brown" refers to the color of the water, which is the color of a horse's back. The "rollrock highroad" is a reference to the rocky bed of the river, which is like a high road for the water. The "roaring down" describes the sound of the water as it rushes over the rocks.

The second line of the poem is particularly interesting, as it contains a pun on the word "flutes." In one sense, the word refers to the sound of the water as it falls into the lake. But in another sense, it refers to the musical instrument, which suggests that the landscape itself is making music.

The next stanza continues the theme of the landscape as a living, breathing entity:

Everywhere, everywhere, waters lap and curl, Flick the froth into the air, Leap like deer when they startle.

Again, the language is rich and evocative, with vivid imagery that brings the landscape to life. The repetition of the word "everywhere" emphasizes the ubiquity of the water, which seems to be present in every corner of the landscape. The description of the water as it "laps and curls" and "flicks the froth into the air" is particularly evocative, as it captures the energy and movement of the water.

The final line of the stanza is particularly interesting, as it compares the movement of the water to the movement of deer. This comparison suggests that the landscape is not just a static backdrop, but a dynamic and living entity that is constantly in motion.

The third stanza shifts the focus to the human presence in the landscape:

Up, Lord! Or we are drowned. The mountain heaves and swings, Loud and long the thunder shouts; Earthquake voice among her kings,

The language here is more urgent and dramatic, as the speaker calls upon the Lord to save them from the power of the landscape. The description of the mountain "heaving and swinging" and the thunder "shouting" creates a sense of chaos and danger.

The final line of the stanza is particularly interesting, as it describes the landscape as a kingdom, with the earthquake as its voice. This comparison suggests that the landscape is not just a collection of rocks and water, but a powerful and majestic entity that commands respect and awe.

The final stanza brings the poem to a close:

Come then, your ways and airs and looks, Locks, maiden gear, gallantry and gaiety. Thorough the green and the blue and the dim Sea and sky and land,

The language here is more gentle and reflective, as the speaker invites the reader to join him in the landscape. The repetition of the word "and" creates a sense of unity and harmony, as the sea, sky, and land are all brought together.

The final lines of the poem are particularly interesting, as they suggest that the landscape has the power to transform us:

And now hear this, you boys, Turning the tune solemnly; Tell me, ere ye go, Is there any here like me?

The speaker is addressing a group of boys, and he asks them if they have been transformed by the landscape in the same way that he has. The repetition of the word "me" emphasizes the personal nature of the transformation, as each individual is affected in their own way.

In conclusion, "Poetry Inversnaid" is a masterpiece of nature poetry, with rich and evocative language that captures the beauty and power of the landscape. Hopkins' innovative style and his deep love for nature are evident throughout the poem, and it remains a powerful and moving tribute to the majesty of the natural world.

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