“Over the Bent World” 30×30, oil on canvas $510.00  Buy Now

God’s Grandeur

Gerard Manley Hopkins, 1844 – 1889


The world is charged with the grandeur of God.

It will flame out, like shining from shook foil;

It gathers to a greatness, like the ooze of oil

Crushed. Why do men then now not reck his rod?

Generations have trod, have trod, have trod;

And all is seared with trade; bleared, smeared with toil;

And wears man’s smudge and shares man’s smell: the soil

Is bare now, nor can foot feel, being shod.


And for all this, nature is never spent;

There lives the dearest freshness deep down things;

And though the last lights off the black West went

Oh, morning, at the brown brink eastward, springs–

Because the Holy Ghost over the bent

World broods with warm breast and with ah! bright wings.



I have long imagined the Holy Spirit as a pelican rather than a dove so this image seemed so perfect for this poem. But, my oh my, did I struggle with it. How in the world to convey grandeur? I redid several aspects of the painting many times. It is, “smeared with toil” for sure.