The Grave of Gerard Manley Hopkins

It’s not a vacation without a visit to a cemetery and Glasnevin is the biggest one in Dublin. It’s also the final resting place of the renowned Victorian poet, Gerald Manley Hopkins. There have been more than a million interments since it opened in 1832 and it’s still active today.

I arrived not knowing exactly where Hopkins was buried but I knew there was a museum on-site so I figured I’d be able to pick up a map and wander under heavy just-rained clouds. However, I missed the note that the museum would be closed today.

Fortunately, there was a man in a little booth in the parking area who was kind enough to walk me to within sight of the section where all the Jesuit priests were buried.

Hopkins was born in England to an artistic family. His father, Manley Hopkins, was a poet too. They were also devout Anglicans. When Gerald Hopkins converted to Roman Catholicism he became estranged from his family and burned all the poems he’d written up until then. He then joined the Jesuits and became a priest. His final five years were spent as a professor of Greek and Latin at the University College Dublin. He only lived 44 years.

His name is just a line in a long list of priests who have been buried in this corner of the great cemetery.

Orange highlight added by me digitally

It wasn’t until his friend and English Poet Laureate Robert Bridges got a collection of his poems published almost thirty years after he died that he became famous and his poetry began influencing some of the greats of the early 20th century.

His poetry still feels very 19th century to me, which isn’t my style, but here are a few that I enjoy.

The Starlight Night: this one presages e. e. cummings.
Spring: read this one aloud so you can really savor the sounds.
Pied Beauty: “Pied” as in “Pied Piper” something with many colors.

About Bartholomew Barker

Bartholomew Barker is one of the organizers of Living Poetry, a collection of poets and poetry lovers in the Triangle region of North Carolina. Born and raised in Ohio, studied in Chicago, he worked in Connecticut for nearly twenty years before moving to Hillsborough where he makes money as a computer programmer to fund his poetry habit.
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29 Responses to The Grave of Gerard Manley Hopkins

  1. Not really my cup of tea either.

    But such devotion making it to the gravesite! I’ve only been to the Sligo Cemetery. And St. Stephen’s Green with the dandy statue of Oscar, oh so Wilde!

    Liked by 1 person

    • I was just in St. Stephen’s Green but only saw the bust of Joyce and a very abstract statue of Yeats. I must’ve missed Wilde’s. Fortunately, I’m nearby so I can check it out soon.


      • Oh that’s grand. Have a Carling’s for me. I loved it over there. It was potent. A potent potable.

        Liked by 1 person

      • I’ve been enjoying the Guiness. It’s not bitter here like it is in the States.


      • berniebell1955 says:

        In Sligo town, outside the bank, there’s a statue of Yeats known locally as ‘The Wank at the Bank.’
        In Dublin – you might come across ‘The Tart with the Cart‘ (Molly Malone) – or ‘The Floozie in the Jacuzzi’ – apparently inspired by James Joyce’s character Anna Livia Plurabelle.

        Such irreverence.

        Liked by 2 people

      • I’ve paid my respects to the first two you mentioned. Didn’t know about the Floozie in the Jacuzzi. Fortunately, she’s just a couple of Luas stops away so I’ll check her out soon. Thanks for the tip!


    • berniebell1955 says:

      Hello pensivepoetperson

      I’ve just read your poem about the Ash tree and the wall….Kudos. I thought you might like to read about an ash tree and a wall ( Rowan is the Scots name for a Mountain Ash) ….

      Is it OK with you if I post your poem on my blog? It’s what they do – trees and walls.


      • Yes. I would love if you post my poem on your blog. The pics of Ousdale Brouch are amazing. Something so wild in those windswept islands. I could see living in that place. But it would not be an easy life. U have to live solitude. The colors of the wood in the carving made it look like stone to me. It fits so perfectly there. That rainbow picture at the end looks like a force field coming up out of the ground. Like a portal. Magic looking. Thank you for sharing the link


      • berniebell1955 says:

        I’ll hi-jack Bartholomew’s blog once more to reply ….thank you …your poem wilt start tomorrows blog…
        I tried to contact you through your blog, but it appears to not be ‘active’.

        The Ousdale Broch is in Caithness, Mainland Scotland. Me & Mike live in Orkney – seen as being remote now, but a hive of activity in the Neolithic.

        We wouldn’t chose to be anywhere else.


  2. luvgoodcarp says:

    Great post. The opening line to Pied Beauty is wonderful.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. JeanMarie says:

    “There have been more thn what do they do? stack them up like cordwood? Although I suppose people who get cremated don’t take up too much space… :)
    an a million interments since it opened in 1832 and it’s still active today.”

    I almost can’t get past that. I mea
    Interesting and educational as usual. I read through the wiki on him and some of his poems. Not my cup of tea either. Too flowery and old timey. Thanks for the links.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Cassa Bassa says:

    I like how you made the effort to pay them respect.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. berniebell1955 says:

    Well, Bart – I love his writing – he’s one of my very favourite poets – as I mention here….

    “I’m reading ‘I Flame At Words’, the book of Eddie Cummins’ poetry and what can I say? He speaks to us, he’s one of us, his words flame at us, burning away the fakery of our lives. He’s one of those who are disregarded until they die then, suddenly, they shine – people like to say they knew them.
    In life too difficult, too un-compromising, seeing too clearly, through a glass, darkly. In death a poet, a writer, a painter, a “genius” all of a sudden. But not so – it was always there but people like people who pull the right faces and make the right noises. It looks like Eddie “loud in his size, strength and smell” was too much for many, and they were too much for him, ultimately.
    But look what he produced; ‘Torre de Belem’, ‘Which World is Really There?’, ‘Solitude’, ‘The Simmer Dim’, and on, and on, and on. Read them, and see.
    I never met him, I’ve been told I would have “got on with him”, would I? I don’t know – I reckon we would have rowed a lot, but that would be because we could, row that is, without a mis-understanding of what ‘rowing’ is. But this isn’t about me, it’s about Eddie Cummins, with eyes that no-one could ignore, no-one with eyes to see, that is.
    The impression I get is of a man who saw too clearly, felt too keenly, and expressed this well, and, because he expressed so well, he can now speak to us, who are also trying to deal with the world. He didn’t deal with it too well himself, but it still helps to meet some-one who’s seeing it, feeling it, even if the meeting is after they’ve ‘gone’. It helps a lot. For me, he’s in there, in power of perception, with Gerard Manly Hopkins, Dylan Thomas, Ted Hughes, John Clare. If he could have been in there with W.B. Yeats, Robert Graves and Walt Whitman, he might have been a happier man. They saw it, but could deal with it – he may have been happier, but he wouldn’t have been Eddie Cummins, big, mad, drunken poet.
    Thanks, to his good friends Jim & Sheila Scott, for putting the collection together. Thanks, to Eddie himself, from me, and from all the people who will read his work and say “There’s one….”, and feel that Eddie’s by them, telling them not to let the bastards get them down. If only he could have taken that to heart himself, but then, he wouldn’t have been Eddie Cummins, and so it goes on.
    And, he was a looker, too! Would it have pleased him to hear that – with his deep, though slightly puzzled, love of women?
    Eddie Cummins, religious or not, God Love You, you’ll help a lot of people.”
    Back to Gerard Manley Hopkins – troubled – felt too much and too deeply to deal with it…..

    Say it loud…..“What I do is me: for that I came.”

    As Kingfishers Catch Fire
    Gerard Manley Hopkins

    As kingfishers catch fire, dragonflies draw flame;
    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.

    Here’s something else – his beauty applies in all kinds of ways….

    For me, he’s not of a time – he’s…who and what he is….deeply deeply human.

    On a lighter note – yesterday I said to Mike..

    “What did you do on your holiday Bart?”

    “Visited graaaaaaves.”

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Larry & Sally Barker says:

    I had never heard of that poet. Glad you found him. I am not too crazy about his poem, though.


  7. Stacey C. Johnson says:

    I love this line: “It’s not a vacation without a visit to a cemetery.” Would make a great t-shirt!

    Liked by 1 person

  8. I first found out about him in the Norton Anthology Of English Literature, in college, and read him very often

    Liked by 1 person

  9. berniebell1955 says:

    One last one….

    “What would the world be, once bereft
    Of wet and of wildness? Let them be left,
    O let them be left, wildness and wet;
    Long live the weeds and the wilderness yet.”

    A timely question.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. berniebell1955 says:

    You’re in m’blog again……somewhat tangentely…..

    A challenge – write a poem including the word ‘Tauroctony’.

    Liked by 1 person

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