28.

But how shall I . . . make me room there:
Reach me a . . . Fancy, come faster―
Strike you the sight of it? look at it loom there,
Thing that she . . . there then! the Master,
Ipse, the only one, Christ, King, Head:
He was to cure the extremity where he had cast her;
Do, deal, lord it with living and dead;
Let him ride, her pride, in his triumph, despatch and have done with his doom there.

The Wreck of the Deutschland
By Gerard Manley Hopkins

 

 

 

 

This is the climax of the poem. The heart of it. Hopkins stumbles on the words. The narrative is no longer a narrative, the different strands of the poem are suddenly one and the same. The self reflecting Part One merges into the narrative of Part Two. It is not clear if it is the voice of the doomed on board or the voice of the poet. It is both and just one. It’s a breach of consciousness, speaking of what can’t be expressed until – in one word – the poet succeed to define what it is all about:

Ipse.

Himself, the most inner being of Christ: Inscape. This is the motif of the Nuns calling. It is the cry of “Yes” in her the equivalent to the scape of the poet described in part one, but now inside of her. She knew God during the storm. As john Pick so eloquently put it: Here is the perfect oblation, the perfect self-sacrifice the perfect self-fulfilment, the Christus and the alter Christus. (John Pick, 1942) Christ is all that there is. We meet him and responds to him wherever we are. On a pastoral forehead in Wales, on a stormy water outside of England. It is the Master of living and dead from stanza one. We all live in him. This is not really a merging of different destinys or perspectives or parts of this poem. This stanza merely reveals the scape of it all, the sameness.

 

 

 

During lent I will publish the stanzas from the Wreck of the Deutschland, one by one. Sometimes with a small commentary or with some aspect about the poem. Hopefully someone will be able to use this as a form of prayer during Lent. Click here to get to the first stanza.
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