As Kingfishers Catch Fire
By Gerard Manley Hopkins
As tumbled over rim in roundy wells
Stones ring; like each tucked string tells, each hung bell’s
Bow swung finds tongue to fling out broad its name;
Each mortal thing does one thing and the same:
Deals out that being indoors each one dwells;
Selves—goes itself; myself it speaks and spells,
Crying Whát I dó is me: for that I came.I say móre: the just man justices;
Keeps grace: thát keeps all his goings graces;
Acts in God’s eye what in God’s eye he is—
Chríst—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.
“Let us make man in our image, and in our likeness,” said the Creator, and so he made us to be creators like him. He is the great impractical God, the one who makes things that would not have to be, only for their beauty. Why do cherries bloom white in the spring? Why do streams run so cool and ripplingly? Why do birds and insects sing mating songs? God is love, and love is not satisfied with synchronized logistics and production quotas, though they may be beautiful in their own way. But love is interested first in what something is, and second in what it does, and for that reason the world is not confined to bare necessities, but to fullness and vibrancy and the lavish beauty that God has bestowed on it. And we are beings meant to be images of God. Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, and this is why we create art, whether it is painting, literature, poetry, music, or any other of the other arts that there are.
But besides our duty toward God, we have a duty toward men. Art is a shared endeavor. First, it is taught from generation to generation of artists, and second, the people of each generation stimulate each other to art. But most of all, art is meant to be viewed, or heard, or read. Natural reticence and the fear of man keep many artists from sharing their work with others, but we artists have a calling: to do that for which we were created, and to lift each other up. Art touches the human person on a level which few other methods of communication can reach, and that is how it was meant to be. Beauty, creativity, and relationship are deep human traits, and together they are joined into love, the highest and deepest characteristic of God’s creation.
For this reason we began this blog, in the hope that we can inspire our generation and the next to greater appreciation and production of art, especially the art of poetry. We want you to join us. Please contact us with any suggestions, be they poets, artists, poems, improvements, or whatever else you think might be of help to us. Would you like to contribute? We would be glad to see your work.
Besides being dedicated to the arts, we are dedicated to quality in the arts. A good poem is a deep poem. A deep poem is a spiritual poem. We believe that too few publications today, especially in the Anabaptist world, commit themselves to high-quality, meaningful poetry which changes not only the mind but also the heart of the reader. We wish to encourage artists today to strive for excellence, and so we choose for this blog the best poetry that we can find. We have far to go before we are perfect, but let us go there!
Though we believe that artists deserve compensation for their work, our ministry serves the community for free, and for this reason, we have no means to pay for poetry or art. But we ask you to join the cause and to contribute your poetry or art and to promote the arts in your community so that someday it may become possible.
We believe that everyone is an artist in some way. Whether or not you consider yourself so, however, please take a moment to contact us. We will be glad to hear from you!