It only took two and a bit years but I finally finally finally found a book his poetry for sale. Previously? I danced around Shakespeare & Co in Paris with a thin worn tome in my hands before finally realising that it was essays about Hopkins’ work and life (he was a jesuit priest and his poems were never published in his lifetime, I don’t think he ever intended them to be published at all!) and nearly crumpling down right then and there.
His poem Spring is one of the two poems I know by heart, word for word, beginning to end.
Nothing is so beautiful as spring—
When weeds, in wheels, shoot long and lovely and lush;
Thrush’s eggs look little low heavens, and thrush
Through the echoing timber does so rinse and wring
The ear, it strikes like lightnings to hear him sing;
The glassy peartree leaves and blooms, they brush
The descending blue; that blue is all in a rush
With richness; the racing lambs too have fair their fling.
What is all this juice and all this joy?
A strain of the earth’s sweet being in the beginning
In Eden garden.—Have, get, before it cloy,
Before it cloud, Christ, lord, and sour with sinning,
Innocent mind and Mayday in girl and boy,
Most, O maid’s child, thy choice and worthy the winning.
The other poem I know off by heart? Jabberwocky by Lewis Carroll!
One, two! One, two! and through and through
The vorpal blade went snicker-snack!
He left it dead, and with its head
He went galumphing back.
I won’t go on.