This poem is a bright example of the poems about our Mother Nature. It starts with a speaker’s claim that our planet is vital and full of special power. This power comes, of course, from our Creator, God. However, what troubles the protagonist is that the Earth is temporary while God is eternal. One day, our planet is bound to reach its peak and collapse.
The main idea that the author carries through the poem is that God and nature are inseparable. The speaker wonders, why people fail to take care of their environment. Although, God is powerful and eternal, it has been proven that irresponsible human behavior can cause great danger and the consequences of it may be fatal.
The protagonist is fed up with people and their irresponsible deeds. He says that people have been around way too long, endlessly trudging through, and now the surface is callous and the natural resources are heavily used up. It is impossible to imagine our planet without people, yet the absence of human beings would certainly do it justice. Nowadays, everything is invaded by people, everything smells like people and people’s influence is unbearable.
In this industrialized world, a man has lost its vital connection with nature. One no longer walks the fields barefoot; everybody is forced to wear shoes, which makes a human being distant from Mother Nature.
Although the world has been inevitably changed by men, hope has not yet vanished. The speaker assures the readers that God is still watching over his creation. That is why the sun continues to set and rise; that is why seasons change and after a cold and tiring winter, spring comes full of hope and new beginnings.
What is also fascinating about this poem by Gerard Manley Hopkins is its meter and rhythm. The author follows the form of Italian sonnet, which has fourteen lines. Hopkins separates his poem into two stanzas; one eight lines and the other one – six. This division compares the stanzas and makes a clearer contrast between them. What concerns the rhythm of the poem, Hopkins wrote it in so-called “sprung rhythm”, which he became famous for. The relations of stressed and unstressed vowels are more complicated in sprung rhythm, than is regular speech. This gives the poem a unique flavor as, on the one hand, its meter is that of traditional Italian sonnet, but the rhythm is rather innovative. Thus, the author uses his creativity and combines tradition and innovation in his memorable poem.