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"Design, pattern or what I am in the habit of calling inscape, is what I above all aim at in poetry." Discuss Hopkins' poetry in the light of this statement.

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Introduction

Tom Crossley "design, pattern or what I am in the habit of calling inscape, is what I above all aim at in poetry." Discuss Hopkins' poetry in the light of this statement. Hopkins is here confessing through this statement that his poems are perfectly articulated and created and presented exactly how he wishes them too be. This statement can be perceived to suggest that Hopkins selects his words incredibly carefully and that they represent the bricks which he places in the perfect position and, ensuring the design and pattern are both exact, builds a beautifully precise sculpture. It is Hopkins' 'inscape' which provides a uniqueness to his poetry and this combined with his flowing patterns and simplistic design creates its own hiecitas. The first poem I will be looking at is the untitled 'As kingfishers catch fire' which invisibly divided between the sestet and the octet. Hopkins uses this poem to express and clarify his thought yet keep a sacred separation between the actions of men and the actions of God. This poem begins by stating that a person or being is defined by their actions which are just imitations of the perfection of Christ. Whilst talking of man, Hopkins designs the line so that it is regimented and disciplined with the rhyme orderly and simplistic, the language is basic and the direct speech is straightforward. ...read more.

Middle

Spring is described in this opening as being ever lasting and something that will never die and will always return. However, these lines also suggest another religious underlying theme as the final one talks of echoing timber and 'rinsing' and 'wringing' which suggest purification and cleansing which therefore come to represent the crucifixion of Christ. Hopkins has hidden the death of Christ to relieve man's sins underneath a poem of life and never ending cycles. This enforces his believe as shown in 'As kingfishers catch fire' that Christ is still living all around us, as by describing his wooden cross as being 'echoing' suggests he believes he will be living in the 'glassy peartree' and the 'racing lambs' forever. The octet however erases this tone and becomes a plea to Christ ('O maid's child') and talks of the Garden of Eden which man was banished from for sinning. The rhyming is basic and the language simple, but Hopkins can be seen to contradict himself in a hypocritical manner in this octet. On a number of occasions in a number of poems, Hopkins talks of individuality and the inscape of each person as they are unique, yet here he is placing them all into one category and labelling them as 'mankind' who are all sinners and who do not deserve this Garden of Eden for the destruction they are causing. ...read more.

Conclusion

He is afraid that the air that he and Duns Scotus and other scholars shared will not be inhaled or exhaled again and that the weeds, waters and walls they all shared will not be appreciated anymore. For this reason I perceive the poem 'Duns Scotus's Oxford' to be mirrored from 'Spring.' Hopkins has here revealed that it is not the beauty of nature in the Spring which he fears man will kill, but the Christ that lives in it, and, by blasphemously comparing Christ to Duns Scotus, he has remarked that Duns Scotus is to Oxford what Christ is to nature. 'Duns Scotus's Oxford' conveys the inscape of places and, in doing so, cradles a hidden religious theme which states that Christ is everywhere and living in all things. The poem 'Spring' also bears this message in much the same way that 'As kingfishers catch fire' does. All of these poems display the same sonnet structure and Hopkins' design is basic and old-fashioned. The patterns he uses are helped to emphasize the themes he is suggesting and not only are they flat on the surface of the page to paint the picture, but they too are the foundations and structure below the poem to support his theories of inscape and hiecitas which Hopkins plants, nurtures, and allows to grow. ...read more.

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