Comforter, where is your comforting?


As a hobby I translate GM Hopkins poetry to Swedish. It’s an impossible task and I will never be able to satisfyingly complete this project. His poetry is far to interlinked with the English language and how he perceived things in his time… But this is why I enjoy it so much. It’s not about accomplish something. It’s about being close to my favorite poet.

Poems and texts are living things and you should keep changing them and letting them evolve until you grasp what was meant to be said. This is my way of keeping his poetry alive. At least for me.

I used to be quite keen on writing my own poetry, but I haven’t for more than a decade. In my previous post on this blog, I finally wrote one… Well this wasn’t much of a poem to start with. It was more one of those things, when you need to formulate something and you don’t now beforehand what will come out.

I guess this one reflects the strange mood I’ve been in lately. I think it’s a response to all that has happened to me and my family this past year. My mothers disease, which have been really hard for us all in the family, (she’s better now) and I guess all other things that has happened, like my conversion, what I’m good at and what I’m not good at, people I met and a lot of thoughts on where I’m heading in life. To me life seems to be an on going lesson in humbleness. I guess thats why I’m where I’m at. I Don’t know if there’s any reminiscence left of this in the text though.

I find that poems have a habit of taking their own turns after a while. There are things that triggers the writer so he/she writes a text. The produced text triggers change to conform to that someone else will read it. This is what I find most interesting. Hopefully this process eventually end up in a text that triggers a reader. Text as interaction.

The title “Comforter, where is your comforting” in my poem is a quote from one of GMH’s “terrible sonnets”. The question – as I interpret it – is not whether there is a comforter, but when, how and where the comforting will come.

Some people misinterpret his late poems as being a record of lost faith. To me this is not grasping the texts at all. Then they would have lost their worth. Hopkins saw Gods beauty and presence in everything, not just in his wonderful descriptions of a God charged nature, as in his most famous poems, but also in patterns of urine in the snow, over a little child’s first communion, the death of five nuns in a shipwreck, in music and paintings, in Duns Scotus and a lot more that we will never know about; until his naked and bare stripped poems from his depression, at the end of his life. His poems do not deal with lost faith at all, as I see it. Rather the opposite. In all of his poems the world is charged with the grandeur of God.

Sometimes it’s like Christians can’t be depressed misfits or rational humans with ups and downs… It’s like we are supposed to be those cheerful, innocuous proper groups of people overfilled with joyful feelings from an ever happy and harmless Holy Spirit.

Measure-The-Presence-Of-Christ-By-The-Smile-On-Your-Face kind of folks… Otherwise someone comes along and tells us that we are doubting our faith.

Well, I was feeling moody late one night, pondering Hopkins, me and my mum, thinking about my faith and my world. šŸ˜¦ Then I wrote this poem and posted it here on the blog. The next day, on the same day we celebrated John the Baptist btw, Ann from Poetry, Prayer and Praise made a reference to John 3:30 in a comment. This clarified a lot to me of what it was about.

And as I spoke earlier of living texts, well, I just had to change the text in the poem.

People often speak of the importance to “kill your darlings” when you write a text. Well, sometimes you have to incorporate them. šŸ˜‰

So here’s the new and improved comforter poem.

I hope someone will find it enjoyable. It’s alive and kicking. šŸ™‚