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  Mystery & Mysticism What can I learn from Mystic Poets?

Mystic Poets | Hafiz | Hopkins | Rumi | Tagore | Rabbi Yitzhak



England, born Anglican, converted to Roman Catholic (Jesuit)

Glory be to God for dappled things--
For skies of couple-colour as a brinded cow;
For rose-moles all in stipple upon trout that swim;
Fresh-firecoal chestnut-falls; finches’ wings;
Landscape plotted and pieced--fold, fallow, and
And all trades, their gear and tackle and trim.

All things counter, original, spare, strange;
Whatever is fickle, freckled (who knows how?)
With swift, slow; sweet, sour; adazzle, dim;
He fathers-forth whose beauty is past change:
Praise him.

Hopkins:The Mystic Poets (Woodstock, Vermont: Skylight Paths Publishing, 2004) 59.


Excerpt from Hopkins: The Mystic Poets,
"A Short Introduction to Hopkins's Mysticism,"
pgs. 17-18.

Hopkins is a poet of the spirit, but he is also one of our greatest innovators when it comes to seeing the natural world. For example, in his unique vision:

Snow is “wiry and white-fiery” and “whirlwind-swivelled.”
Clouds become “silk-sacks.”
Stars are “circle-citadels.”
Violent seas are “rash smart sloggering brine.”

Sometimes the words themselves do not make sense, but the combination
of words, and the sound of them, does.

Dawn is imaged in “the bent world’s brink.”
The riverbank, “wind-wandering weed-winding.”

Hopkins’s mysticism also combines these two themes: love for the natural
world and passion for Christ. Hopkins refers to Jesus using images of
creation: “womb-of-all, home-of-all”; he refers to Christ as Savior as
“ our passion-plungèd giant risen.” Many books have been written about
this Jesuit’s unusual love and attachment for Jesus Christ, as seen in
the images of his poems. Most directly he united his love for the natural
world--and his vision of it--with his greater beloved, Christ.
Like William Blake before him, Hopkins had mystical visions of God in the natural world.

When reading the poems, we may sometimes wonder if the world Hopkins
inhabited was the same one as our own. How do mystics see the natural
world and the Divine as so completely intertwined? How can we live in
the earthly world yet be ever conscious of the presence of God? An
insight into the answer is offered in a journal entry that Hopkins wrote
in September 1870. After a lyrical description of his first sight of the
northern lights, he continued: “This busy working of nature wholly
independent of the earth and seeming to go on in a strain of time not
reckoned by our reckoning of days and years but simpler and as if
correcting the preoccupation of the world and by being preoccupied
with and appealing to and dated to the day of judgment was like a new
witness to God and filled me with delightful fear.”
For Hopkins and mystics like him, from Hafiz to Blake to Sri Ramakrishna, all creation led to the Divine.

Hopkins: The Mystic Poets , preface by Rev. Thomas Ryan (Woodstock, Vermont: Skylight Paths Publishing, 2004.) 17-18.

Used with permission of Skylight Paths Publishing.

Hopkins Book Cover

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> What makes
someone a Mystic?

> How do I find the
Mystic Path?

> What can I learn
from Mystic Poets?

> How can I nurture
my connection to the Sacred?



>How can I explore
the Mystery?

>What can I know for certain?

>What shows me that
God cares?

>How can Jesus help
me understand?

>Where can I touch
the edge of heaven?













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