Morning, at the Brown Brink Eastward, Springs

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 with trade; bleared, smeared with toil;

And wears man’s smudge and shares man’s smell: the soil

Is bare now, nor can foot feel, being shod.


And for all this, nature is never spent;

There lives the dearest freshness deep down things;

And though the last lights off the black West went

Oh, morning, at the brown brink eastward, springs —

Because the Holy Ghost over the bent

World broods with warm breast and with ah! bright wings.


I’ve been enjoying once again this beautiful piece by Gerard Manley Hopkins. Elizabeth Goudge uses the final six lines as an epigraph to The Heart of the Family, which was what brought it to my mind again. I love this sonnet’s portrayal of God’s renewing a weary, wicked world, but I like to think I can apply it more widely than that (as Goudge does), and think of our individual lives, and of everything that goes wrong or seems hopeless because of sin, or almost unbearable because of weakness or sorrow. And to think that in each person who is a child of God–even in me–there is “the dearest freshness deep down things” that the Spirit can make flourish. And that in each situation where the West is blackening–whether in the life of a Christian or in the life of the world–morning will spring again, because God is at work.


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