The Alchemist in the City

My window shews the travelling clouds,
Leaves spent, new seasons, alter'd sky,
The making and the melting crowds:
The whole world passes; I stand by.

They do not waste their meted hours,
But men and masters plan and build:
I see the crowning of their towers,
And happy promises fulfill'd.

And I - perhaps if my intent
Could count on prediluvian age,
The labours I should then have spent
Might so attain their heritage,

But now before the pot can glow
With not to be discover'd gold,
At length the bellows shall not blow,
The furnace shall at last be cold.

Yet it is now too late to heal
The incapable and cumbrous shame
Which makes me when with men I deal
More powerless than the blind or lame.

No, I should love the city less
Even than this my thankless lore;
But I desire the wilderness
Or weeded landslips of the shore.

I walk my breezy belvedere
To watch the low or levant sun,
I see the city pigeons veer,
I mark the tower swallows run

Between the tower-top and the ground
Below me in the bearing air;
Then find in the horizon-round
One spot and hunger to be there.

And then I hate the most that lore
That holds no promise of success;
Then sweetest seems the houseless shore,
Then free and kind the wilderness,

Or ancient mounds that cover bones,
Or rocks where rockdoves do repair
And trees of terebinth and stones
And silence and a gulf of air.

There on a long and squared height
After the sunset I would lie,
And pierce the yellow waxen light
With free long looking, ere I die.

by Gerard Manley Hopkins

Comments (17)

Gerald Manley Hopkins. One of the great sonnet writers before WWI overshadowed the form. Enjoy the skill, the rhyming rhythm he employs in this poem, where he relaxes in the sheer joy of being lazy. He's quite happy to watch everybody else at work, but he would rather enjoy nature and watch the world go by. After all, when a man's work is finished, we will all recognise our mortality. If he was married to my Missus though, sooner or later he would have to do something about those weeds.
In the cities i do feel so loveless and alone In the teeming traffic of hurrying flesh and bones But in the wilderness where is windy and free A strange sense of belonging and love encompasses me............... A wonderful poem by Hopkins. I welcome all who readeth this to my page too.......
........yes he is a real poet, he takes us from the city to his desire - the wilderness..where beauty lies :)
This is such a wonderful read! As one appreciates the beauty of nature as the sun shines he wonders the trivialities of buildings put into place by the final building plot a grave. I believe this is stating to look around at all of the sites of life not just getting stuck in the rut of the money makers Who end up in the ground as nothing more than the rest of us. My interpretation anyway
......holds no promise of success; / Then sweetest seems the houseless shore, / Then free and kind the wilderness, ..............
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