Thursday October 3rd is National Poetry Day! So, in honour of the occasion, here are a sonnet by John Keats which most writers can identify with, a sonnet by Gerard Manley Hopkins which expresses the wonder of the world in which God has placed us, and a sonnet of my own, written 15 or 16 years ago:
When I have fears, by John Keats
When I have fears that I may cease to be
Before my pen has gleaned my teeming brain,
Before high-pilèd books, in charactery,
Hold like rich garners the full ripened grain;
When I behold, upon the night’s starred face,
Huge cloudy symbols of a high romance,
And think that I may never live to trace
Their shadows with the magic hand of chance;
And when I feel, fair creature of an hour,
That I shall never look upon thee more,
Never have relish in the faery power
Of unreflecting love—then on the shore
Of the wide world I stand alone, and think
Till love and fame to nothingness do sink.
God’s grandeur by Gerard Manley Hopkins
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.
Ask, seek, knock by Ros Bayes
In all my asking, can it really be
That answers come, not at my own request;
That I am here because You asked for me,
And I petition You at Your behest?
In all my seeking, Lord, it’s You who seek.
I’m in my garden with just one intent:
To seek Your face, to wait and hear You speak;
But, being sought by You, I am content.
I knock, and know the opening of the door
Is promised; yet You also knock to see
If my heart, now ajar, will open more.
There’s nothing that originates with me.
Repentance is pre-empted by Your pardon,
And You, not I, designed this secret garden.