Excerpts from the poem, “The Wreck of the Deutschland” by Gerard Manley Hopkins
Thou mastering me
God! Giver of breath and bread;
World’s strand, sway of the sea;
Lord of living and dead;
Thou hast bound bones and veins in me, fastened me flesh,
And after it almost unmade, what with dread,
Thy doing: and dost thou touch me afresh?
Over again I feel thy finger and find thee.
On Saturday sailed from Bremen,
Take settler and seamen, tell men with women,
Two hundred souls in the round –
O Father, not under thy feathers nor even as guessing
The goal was a shoal, of a fourth the doom to be drowned….
Night roared, with the heart-break hearing a heart-broke rabble
The woman’s wailing, the crying of child without check –
Till a lioness arose breasting the babble,
A prophetess towered in the tumult, a virginal tongue told.
Sister, a sister calling
A master, her master and mine! –
And the inboard seas run swirling and hawling;
The rash smart slogging brine
Blinds her; but she that weather sees one thing, one;
Has one fetch in her: she rears herself to divine
Ears, and the call of the tall nun
To the men in the tops and the tackle rode over the storm’s brawling.
She was first of a five and came
Of a coifed sisterhood….
Loathed for a love men knew in them,
Banned by the land of their birth,
Rhine refused them. Thames would ruin them….
Five! The finding and sake
And cipher of suffering Christ.
Mark, the mark is of man’s make
And the word of it Sacrificed….
She to the black-about air, to the breaker, the thickly
Falling flakes, to the throng that catches and quails
Was calling ‘O Christ, Christ, come quickly’:
The cross to her she calls Christ to her, christens her wild-worst Best.
Finger of a tender of, O of a feathery delicacy, the breast of the
Maiden could obey so, be a bell to, ring of it, and
Startle the poor sheep back! Is the shipwreck then a harvest,
does tempest carry the grain for thee?
Dame, at our door
Drowned, and among our shoals,
Remember us in the roads, the heaven-haven of the Reward:
Our King back, oh, upon English souls!
Let him easter in us, be a dayspring to the dimness of us, be
a crimson-cresseted east…