I first encountered this poem listening to one of David Whyte’s talks and I’ve loved it ever since. The word-play is so beautiful—what are roundy wells? Try reciting this poem aloud and enjoy the way it feels as you say the words.
As Kingfishers Catch Fire
by Gerard Manley Hopkins
As kingfishers catch fire, dragonflies, dráw fláme ;
As tumbled over rim in roundy wells
Stones ring ; like each tucked string tells, each hung bell’s
Bow swung finds tongue to fling out broad its name ;
Each mortal thing does one thing and the same :
Deals out that being indoors each one dwells ;
Selves—goes itself ; myself it speaks and spells,
Crying Whát I do is me : for that I came.
I say móre : the just man justices ;
Kéeps gráce : thát keeps all his goings graces ;
Acts in God’s eye what in God’s eye he is—
Chríst—for Christ plays in ten thousand places,
Lovely in limbs, and lovely in eyes not his
To the Father through the features of men’s faces.
Reflection: Is there a line or two in this poem that calls to you?
As many of us head back to work after vacation or head back to school as either teachers or students, perhaps this line resonates: “What I do is me: for that I came.” How can we hold on to our individuality at work? What is the real work you are called to do?
How do students obtain a voice in the world of school?
What’s calling to you?