All Is Not Still

how do we describe our visual experience of the shimmering boundaries of things- from the violent stirring of wings or steady swaying of masts or lines- where the fluttering limbs are here one instant and forward the next?

 detail from  Birds, Shore.  2016. Oil on Panel. 16 x 24 inches

detail from Birds, Shore. 2016. Oil on Panel. 16 x 24 inches

 detail from  Harbor, Rigging.  2018. Oil on Panel. 16 x 24 inches

detail from Harbor, Rigging. 2018. Oil on Panel. 16 x 24 inches

This poem begins in a way that reminds me of the shimmying, shimmering surfaces all around me. Gerard Manley Hopkin’s use of language sets up in an almost onomatopoeia-ic way the quivering, quick movements of the world’s elements. And ends with the ecstatic, exultant state in which many of us find ourselves upon appreciation of this.

That Nature is a Heraclitean Fire and of the comfort of the Resurrection 

by Gerard Manley Hopkins

Cloud-puffball, torn tufts, tossed pillows | flaunt forth, then chevy on an air- 

Built thoroughfare: heaven-roysterers, in gay-gangs | they throng; they glitter in marches. 

Down roughcast, down dazzling whitewash, | wherever an elm arches, 

Shivelights and shadowtackle ín long | lashes lace, lance, and pair. 

Delightfully the bright wind boisterous | ropes, wrestles, beats earth bare 

Of yestertempest's creases; | in pool and rut peel parches 

Squandering ooze to squeezed | dough, crust, dust; stanches, starches 

Squadroned masks and manmarks | treadmire toil there 

Footfretted in it. Million-fuelèd, | nature's bonfire burns on. 

But quench her bonniest, dearest | to her, her clearest-selvèd spark 

Man, how fast his firedint, | his mark on mind, is gone! 

Both are in an unfathomable, all is in an enormous dark 

Drowned. O pity and indig | nation! Manshape, that shone 

Sheer off, disseveral, a star, | death blots black out; nor mark 

                            Is any of him at all so stark 

But vastness blurs and time | beats level. Enough! the Resurrection, 

A heart's-clarion! Away grief's gasping, | joyless days, dejection. 

                            Across my foundering deck shone 

A beacon, an eternal beam. | Flesh fade, and mortal trash 

Fall to the residuary worm; | world's wildfire, leave but ash: 

                            In a flash, at a trumpet crash, 

I am all at once what Christ is, | since he was what I am, and 

This Jack, joke, poor potsherd, | patch, matchwood, immortal diamond, 

                            Is immortal diamond.