Barbarous in Beauty

Summer ends now; now, barbarous in beauty, the stooks rise
Around; up above, what wind-walks! what lovely behaviour
Of silk-sack clouds! has wilder, willful-wavier
Meal-drift moulded ever and melted across skies?

 I walk, I lift up, I lift up heart, eyes,
Down all that glory in the heavens to glean our Saviour;
And, eyes, heart, what looks, what lips yet gave you a
Rapturous love’s greeting of realer, of rounder replies?

And the azurous hung hills are his world wielding shoulder
Majestic as a stallion stalwart, very-violet-sweet! –
These things, these things were here and but the beholder
Wanting; which two when they once meet,
The heart rears wings bold and bolder
And hurls for him, O half hurls earth for him off under his feet.
~Gerard Manley Hopkins “Hurrahing in Harvest”

Reading Hopkins invokes God’s intentional accessibility “stallion stalwart, very-violet-sweet” in our daily lives, if we simply open our eyes to see and ears to hear.  The details Hopkins captures in marvelous word pictures, painting with sound and syllable, pull us in.  The “heart rears wings” as we are lifted up to see the Lord manifest in Creation.  We can’t help but be harvested to live obediently as we “glean our Savior” through raised heart and eyes to the glory in the heavens.

As Kathleen Mulhern in her blog “Dry Bones” says in her analysis of “a Christ sighting”:
“There is no point in seeing without responding; there is no way to respond without seeing. Christian life and practice require both faith (the sight of the heart) and works (the lurch of the heart toward him in obedience).”

The gleaning of our Savior is particularly manifest in the sacrament of communion, the earthly meal Jesus invites us to partake of His harvest.  In the bread and wine,  “a barbarous beauty” representing his body and blood,  He lifts us up to taste the glories of heaven.

Our heart “hurls for him, O half hurls earth for him” in response.

What else,  at summer’s end,  can we do?

We walk in faith, raised up, glorious.

Sheaves of Wheat in a Field –Vincent Van Gogh

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