Final Ecstasy

“I am so happy! I am so happy!”
–dying words of Gerard Manley Hopkins

Youth brought him joy in seeing moles and stains
On mottled creatures, splotched with shades of dun.
He thrilled at freckled beasts, all made by One
Above earth’s shadowed flesh–a Light who reigns
And spreads a streaked abundance far from lanes
That carry trade-seared mongers, never done
With hawking sameness made by factory run.
Wide-scattered meads displayed earth’s dappled strains.

Hard years surround him with the “fell of dark”;
In anguished sonnet-wrestlings, he cries out:
The sun that showed me brindled cow and trout—
Where is it? Blackness swallows every spark!

But then, pied grace reveals to dying eyes
His moldy grave’s a gate to Paradise.

Bryce Christensen

Bryce Christensen is professor of English at Southern Utah University, where he teaches literature--including non-Western literature in translation. He is currently teaching American literature at National Taiwan University in Taipei as a visiting Fulbright professor. He has published poetry in The Formalist, First Things, Modern Age, Chronicles, and elsewhere. His poetry has been anthologized in Sonnets (University of Evansville) and Grace Notes (Institute on Religion and Public Life). He is the author of the novel Winning (Whiskey Creek Press) and of ‘The Portals of Sheol’ and Other Poems (White Violet Press). He and his wife, Mary, are the parents of three children and the grandparents of seven grandchildren.

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