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No worst, there is none -- Gerard Manley Hopkins

Guest poem submitted by Aseem Kaul:
(Poem #870) No worst, there is none
 "No worst, there is none. Pitched past pitch of grief,
 More pangs will, schooled at forepangs, wilder wring.
 Comforter, where, where is your comforting?
 Mary, mother of us, where is your relief?
 My cries heave, herds-long; huddle in a main, a chief
 Woe, world-sorrow; on an age-old anvil wince and sing -
 Then lull, then leave off. Fury had shrieked 'No ling-
 -ering! Let me be fell: force I must be brief'.

 O the mind, mind has mountains; cliffs of fall
 Frightful, sheer, no-man-fathomed. Hold them cheap
 May who ne'er hung there. Nor does long our small
 Durance deal with that steep or deep. Here! creep,
 Wretch, under a comfort serves in a whirlwind: all
 Life death does end and each day dies with sleep."
-- Gerard Manley Hopkins
Easily one of the darkest poems in the English language, and one of the most
glorious to read aloud. I've always admired Hopkins for the way his poems
almost always have drive - they flow like white water, pouring relentlessly
forward with unimaginable force, dashing angrily through outthrust rocks of
words so that the overall effect is of a sort of muscular grandness that I
can only compare with Blake.

And of all these incredible, unforgettable poems, this one is my favourite.
I love the way Hopkins creates an unrelenting landscape of desolation, a
twisted badlands of igneous pain that one cannot just run through, but that
must be crawled through on hands and knees so that years after I first read
this poem, some line or the other will pop into my head and I will
experience an authentic sense of wretchedness, even when I have absolutely
nothing to be wretched about. And, ironically enough, that's precisely what
makes this poem so precious.


[Minstrels Links]

Gerard Manley Hopkins:
Poem #3, Inversnaid
Poem #35, The Windhover
Poem #59, To a Young Child
Poem #134, Pied Beauty
Poem #260, Moonrise
Poem #606, God's Grandeur

William Blake:
Poem #26, Jerusalem
Poem #66, The Tyger
Poem #97, The Fly
Poem #368, Auguries of Innocence
Poem #546, The Sick Rose
Poem #771, The Divine Image

37 comments: ( or Leave a comment )

Mark said...

Anyone who has suffered from major depression will recognise these images of the precipices of the mind, the vertiginous places so frightening that consciousness longs for death or sleep to end the awareness of them. This poem expresses a suffering which all to many people know, and does it in language that invokes the experience with a visceral strength.

buy viagra without prescription said...

very obscure poem but a very enjoyable one, nobody do it like Manley and his strange metaphors.

bmpharmacy said...

I haven't tried it out when reading aloud. It would be nice to do. So I will try it out in the next book club.

pharmacy reviews said...

Sounds like the possibility to travel to the past and you can reach and you desire with all your soul to fix something but is impossible.
Thanks a lot, nice poem.

xl pharmacy said...

Now no matter, child, the name:Sorrow's springs are the same.
Nor mouth had, no nor mind, expressed,What heart heard of, ghost guessed:
It is the blight man was born for, It is Margaret you mourn for.

Anonymous said...

i dont understand this poem

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This poem expresses a suffering which all to many people know, and does it in language that invokes the experience with a visceral strength.

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