This week we will spend time with two poems:
“For One Who Is Exhausted”
by John O’Donohue and
by Gerard Manley Hopkins.
Take a moment to print these poems so that you can mark them up with a pencil or pen. Post them in a place you can see them. Sit with them throughout the week. If a particular line or phrase jumps out at you, whisper it as a prayer to God. Memorize a line (or the full poem!) and step into its hidden rhythms.
A word on Pied Beauty: though it is one of his more accessible poems, Gerard Manley Hopkins’ “Pied Beauty” may present some confusion. That is okay and to be expected! After all, Hopkins’ best friend, Robert Bridges, told him via correspondence that he would “not for money” read his poem “The Windhover” again.
In response, Hopkins encouraged Bridges to forget the meaning of the words and just listen to their texture. “My verse is less to be read than heard,” Hopkins wrote back. So in the spirit of Hopkins himself, I encourage you not to get too lost in the analysis of this poem, which I am providing in the
section, for those who are curious. Most importantly, read the poem aloud. Have someone else read it to you or listen to a
(Please let Maria know ASAP if you need these materials printed and mailed to you on a weekly basis!)
Pick a line or phrase that sticks out to you and journal about it. Consider these guiding questions:
- Lord, what are you trying to tell me in this word or phrase that nudges me so?
- Where are you in this poem for me?
- What might you be telling me or wanting me to realize?
Exercise in Attention & Observation:
John O’Donohue instructs us to “take refuge in [our] senses… open[ing] up to all the small miracles” we once “rushed through. / Become inclined to watch the way of rain / When it falls slow and free.”
I challenge you to set aside a few minutes this week to “watch the way of rain” – not necessarily rain, per se, but to be attentive to something beautiful in nature with your senses. Set a timer (5, 10 minutes) if it helps you relax and let go of time. Journal about how that experience went, or even journal about what you can see, hear, and touch in that moment.
As you have time, enjoy the following resources: