The word “grandeur” calls up images of oceans and mountains–natural structures that awe use because they remind us of our tiny size. And yet–I can’t help but think of G.M. Hopkin’s poem, “God’s Grandeur” even in the relative smallness of a local park. As a nature- and photography-loving friend and I explored and photographed Clifton Gorge, snatches of the poem came to mind:
The world is charged with the grandeur of God.
It will flame out, like shining from shook foil;
It gathers to a greatness, like the ooze of oil
Crushed. Why do men then now not reck his rod?
Generations have trod, have trod, have trod;
And all is seared with trade; bleared, smeared with toil;
And wears man’s smudge and shares man’s smell: the soil
Is bare now, nor can foot feel, being shod.
And for all this, nature is never spent;
There lives the dearest freshness deep down things;
And though the last lights off the black West went
Oh, morning, at the brown brink eastward, springs —
Because the Holy Ghost over the bent
World broods with warm breast and with ah! bright wings.