Gerard Manley Hopkins, “I Wake and Feel the Fell of Dark, Not Day” [Poetry for Lent]

Poetry for Lent 2.001

Every Thursday during Lent, I post a poem that I find helpful for deeper engagement with Jesus’ journey to the Cross and the significance of Lent. Here is Gerard Manley Hopkins’ poem “I Wake and Feel the Fell of Dark, Not Day.” Gerard Manley Hopkins was a Jesuit priest of the Victorian era whose poetry was published after his death and had a significant influence on the modernist movement of poetry in the 20th-century.


I wake and feel the fell of dark, not day.
What hours, O what black hours we have spent
This night! what sights you, heart, saw, ways you went!
And more must, in yet longer light’s delay.

With witness I speak this. But where I say
Hours I mean years, mean life. And my lament
Is cries countless, cries like dead letters sent
To dearest him that lives alas! away.

I am gall, I am heartburn. God’s most deep decree
Bitter would have me taste: my taste was me;
Bones built in me, flesh filled, blood brimmed the curse.

Selfyeast of spirit a dull dough sours. I see
The lost are like this, and their scourge to be
As I am mine, their sweating selves; but worse.


Previous poems in this series:

John Donne, “Hymn to God, My God, in My Sickness”

Langston Hughes, “The Ballad of Mary’s Son”

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