A Week with the Immortal Diamond: Gerard Manley Hopkins

Away in the loveable West

On a pastoral forehead of Wales

I was rest under a roof; I was at rest

They the prey of the gales!

(The Wreck of the Deutschland

10 Nov. St Beuno’s College, Rhyl, Wales. I was not aware this was the place where one of our dear Jesuit poets Gerard Manley Hopkis (1844-1889)  studied three years. He re-discovered his poetic talent -which he had suppressed when he had joined the Society of Jesus in 1866- there during his theological studies for priesthood. 

The brilliant Oxford University alumnus, had joined the Jesuits to become a priest. And while joining he had burnt down all his poems since he thought his poetic talent was against his priestly desire. But to his surprise, it resuscitated in an unwanted circumstance: when a German ship carrying Catholics (who were persecuted by Bismark) was sailing in UK seas was caught in a disaster. Among the victims were six nuns. And the Poet’s Rector suggested that someone writes a poem in honour of the victims of the tragedy.

There was Hopkins! He gave liberty to his suppressed talent, and there emerged The Wreck of the Deutschland. 

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