Lifesaving Lines: Spring, by Gerard Manley Hopkins

A loose wigwam of sticks in woodland, surrounded by a carpet of bluebells

Our tiny minds blown by ‘The Wreck of the Deutschland’, ‘Spelt From Sibyl’s Leaves’ and ‘As Kingfisher’s Catch Fire’, we found solace in its opening of utter clarity. The cricket season upon us, the big roller on Longmead, time running out on everything we touched. ‘Just a few poems more, then it’s over to you.’ With no idea how to revise, let alone parcel out days into chunks that might mean something more than another wasted study period deciphering Remain in Light on headphones. Anouilh. Camus. The French Revolution (which we had not even covered). The green-eyed monster. Trips to pub theatre in Bath in the back of a Transit to see Zoo Story, Rhinocerous. Phil Smith lecturing us with Paris au Printemps. Generally not having a clue. A fifer. Pub nights, chips and lager, running the whole way back in darkening lanes. The longing to be elsewhere. Wanting to put it off. Discovering Holub’s ‘Love’ in an anthology no one taught from. ‘Sweepings./ Dust.’ What the? ‘When weeds, in wheels, shoot long and lovely and lush.’ Misquoting the line in the paper. This was it. Something to cling onto in the wreckage.


  1. Hey Ant

    I love Gerald Manley Hopkins – even managed to squeeze a poem into our wedding at Trinity college

    I think it is the month and season for poetry, was reading We will rise earlier

    And I also managed to purchase Hearing God in Poetry (Richard Harris) today; via SPCK Church Times website – which is a first!

    Hope you and yours are well

    Love Murray x

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Dear Anthony, I’ve come to enjoy poetry somewhat later on in life. Your anthology of Lifesaving Poems has been a continual source of enjoyment and wonder (Atlas being a particular favourite that I read at my Father’s funeral). Have you (or do you plan to) publish any additional anthologies? If you have any recommendations then please let me know. Many thanks and warm regards. Mark

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Mark, thank you for your kind comment. I hope one day to do another Lifesaving Poems book, maybe, or Lifesaving Lines – who knows? But no plans at the moment. In the meantime, there are many more to get your teeth into on the Lifesaving Poems page on this blog. Hopefully you will find something there that tweaks your interest. With good wishes, Anthony


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