“Patience, hard thing”
In a baccalaureate sermon delivered at Yale Divinity School, Ellen F. Davis mentions a poem by Gerard Manley Hopkins that I’d never read before:
Patience, hard thing! the hard thing but to pray,
But bid for, Patience is! Patience who ask
Wants war, wants wounds; weary his times, his tasks;
To do without, take tosses, and obey.
Rare patience roots in these, and, these away,
Nowhere. Natural heart's ivy, Patience masks
Our ruins of wrecked past purpose. There she basks
Purple eyes and seas of liquid leaves all day.
We hear our hearts grate on themselves: it kills
To bruise them dearer. Yet the rebellious wills
Of us we do bid God bend to him even so.
And where is he who more and more distills
Delicious kindness?—He is patient. Patience fills
His crisp combs, and that comes those ways we know.
Gerard Manley Hopkins
My own poetry muscles are stiff from disuse. But I want to think about this poem and stretch them in the next few days and weeks.
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