None of the poems of Gerard Manley Hopkins (1844 -1889) were published during his lifetime. In 1939, W. H. Auden declared him to be a major poet and that commendation has stood the test of time. Born into an English Anglican family, Hopkins became a Catholic and was ordained a Jesuit priest in 1877. He was very taken with the sacramental principle whereby ordinary objects and experiences can become a sign of the Divine. For Hopkins, attention was a form of prayer and he trained his senses on the natural world. The Creator spoke to him through creation.


Two phrases from his poetry say it well:

  • "The world is charged with the grandeur of God
    It will flame out, like shining from shook foil."
    — "God's Grandeur"
  • "For Christ plays in ten thousand places,
    Lovely in limbs, and lovely in eyes not his
    To the Father through the features of men's faces."
    — "As Kingfishers Catch Fire"


A fine biography of Hopkins by Robert Bernard Martin: Gerard Manley Hopkins: A Very Private Life


A collection of poetry and other pieces by Hopkins: Hopkins: The Mystic Poets, including the excerpt, Hopkins's poem "That Nature Is a Heraclitean Fire and of the Comfort of the Resurrection"

Personal Exporations

Celebrate Gerard Manley Hopkins's birthday by giving your full attention to an object nearby or by taking a walk in nature. Notice signs of the Divine Presence and give thanks in a way that is most meaningful to you.