The Habit of Perfection

by Jonathan Bailey

 

284_gerardmanleyhopkins

This poem is titled, The Habit of Perfection and written by my new friend and teacher Gerard Manley Hopkins. The first 12 lines I love! I am still trying to understand better the remaining ones. It is an amazing picture of spiritual disciplines and what Jesus does when we carve time out of our day to honor and be with Him. It is one of my favorites so far. Enjoy and I would love to hear your thoughts.

 

The Habit of Perfection

Elected Silence, sing to me

And beat upon my whorlèd ear,

Pipe me to pastures still and be

The music that I care to hear. 

 

Shape nothing, lips; be lovely-dumb:

It is the shut, the curfew sent

From there where all surrenders come

Which only makes you eloquent. 

 

Be shellèd, eyes, with double dark

And find the uncreated light:

This ruck and reel which you remark

Coils, keeps, and teases simple sight. 

 

Palate, the hutch of tasty lust,

Desire not to be rinsed with wine:

The can must be so sweet, the crust

So fresh that come in fasts divine! 

 

Nostrils, your careless breath that spend

Upon the stir and keep of pride,

What relish shall the censers send

Along the sanctuary side! 

 

O feel-of-primrose hands, O feet

That want the yield of plushy sward,

But you shall walk the golden street

And you unhouse and house the Lord. 

 

And, Poverty, be thou the bride

And now the marriage feast begun,

And lily-coloured clothes provide

Your spouse not laboured-at nor spun.

Advertisements