Future Priests of the Third Millennium

A little insight into the life of seminarians from various dioceses preparing for ministry as Roman Catholic priests, including daily activities, personal interests, special events, the spiritual life, news from the seminary, and almost whatever comes to our minds!

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

The contradiction

Gerard Manely Hopkins has a remarkably introspective poem which nevertheless stands apart from most of his other introspective poems. Usually, he writes as one gripped by an immanent depression, tensely gripping what consolation he has. In Heaven-Haven, however, which bears the subtitle "A nun takes the veil," Hopkins writes:

I have asked to go
Where springs not fail,
To fields where flies no sharp and sided hail
And a few lilies blow.

And I have asked to be
Where no storms come,
Where the green swell is in the havens dumb
And out of the swing of the sea.

As the grip of my academics, seminary events, the ever-pressing SCHEDULE drives me down like it never has before, I recall these words for simple ability to soothe. Those closing anapests create a gentle settling calm.

However, the actual text of the poem reveals the contradiction. In this perfect calm, there is a desire for at least a little bit of activity. In the perfect, stormless fields a few lilies blow. As the moorlands roll along the horizon, they recall the jostle and thrust of a rising sea. And is that not where I would be, right now, if I didn't have anything to do? Longing for some high adventure even though, gripped as I am in this moment, this right now, I plead to be out of the swing of the sea?