Gerard Manley Hopkins

Limp Little Lyric
My vivid verse, or sombre song,
Will lollop liltingly along.
No noun ever known
To be left on its own
An alliterative adjective's rarely wrong!

Thinking of things as solely sound
My tutting tongue I run them round.
Bibs for baby baboons
With blue bubbly balloons
Form the fittest phrase yet for such faffing I've found. 
This ugly gash, graphite grey, 
Through heath and hillside hacks its way. 
Saloons and estates, vans ferrying freight
Flock, and surge like a stream in spate.

A catspring-bonnetted Jaguar, 
Brakes and blunders into the tar
Of a rush-hour tailback, congealing, 
A myriad motorists homing on Ealing. 

Fogged with fumes, fuggy with fumes
Is the atmosphere where the traffic vrooms, 
Choked with coaches, lorries’ long loads, 
And the car-crazed commuters that clog up the roads. 

Where would the world be, if ever they ceased,
Trade and traffic? Let them be increased! 
Our highways are heaving - let more be built! 
We’ll plant a few poplars to lessen our guilt. 

Gerard Manley Hopkins (1844-89) was a highly innovative poet, particularly in the field of rhythm. He introduced the concept of "sprung rhythm", and often published his poetry with stress marks to assist the reader. His poems also used alliteration heavily. The Limp Little Lyric above owes something (perhaps not much) to his Inversnaid; Motorway owes it considerably more. 

Another of his innovations was a verse form called the curtal sonnet.

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© Bob Newman 2004, 2007. All rights reserved.

This page last updated 12/02/2007