enjoyed Mr Brendan Glacken's witty Word in Defence of
G.M.Hopkins (Times Square 9 10 2000) - not least his suggestion
that a three decade moratorium should be called on most contemporary
'poetry' (with some obvious exceptions, of course).
Mr. Glacken, in your own scenario, if someone sidled up to you,
glanced nervously about and let slip the question,
Shall I compare
thee to a summer's day?
If to the
city sped, what waits him there?
Did He who
made the lamb make thee?
it is equally
likely that you would move off just as pronto as any of us would
on hearing Hopkins lines quoted out of context - although Shakespeare's
Sonnets, Goldsmith's The Deserted Village,
and Blake's Tiger Tiger ( quoted above) are among
the most popular of English poems?
Timing - as
Mr Glacken well knows - is all-important: in poetry, as in life.
That is why
any of us, on occasion, can find ourselves reaching for lines from
the great poets, Hopkins included, for understanding and thereby
some kind of consolation,
It is the
blight man was born for; It is Margaret you mourn for.
That is why
we need poetry and art in general; and are less human for not having
it. And - if I may say so - why summer schools, and the Hopkins
Summer School, should be encouraged.
So, to continue
our ballet imagery, I hope Mr Glacken will forgive me if I suggest
that the 'fellow-sidling-up' part of his article reminded
me just a little of the Cavan-born GAA coach (I knew him well, Horatio)
who, on encountering his first ballet on TV, and realising that
his followers were gazing up to him for a response, rose to the
occasion with the comment,
be verra fit!'
The G.M. Hopkins Summer School Newbridge Co.Kildare