Gerard Manley Hopkins – Patience, Hard Thing! – Lectionary Poem for Advent 3A

With the dawn of a new church year, The Englewood Review of Books is curating a weekly series of classic and contemporary poems that resonate with the themes of the lectionary readings. Here is one of the poems for this coming Sunday (Advent week 3 – More poems for this Sunday can be found here)


Patience, hard thing!

Gerard Manley Hopkins

to accompany the lectionary reading: James 5:7-10

Also pairs well with Wendell Berry’s poem, Whatever is Foreseen in Joy


PATIENCE, hard thing! the hard thing but to pray,           

But bid for, Patience is! Patience who asks          

Wants war, wants wounds; weary his times, his tasks;    

To do without, take tosses, and obey.    

  Rare patience roots in these, and, these away,       

Nowhere. Natural heart’s ivy, Patience masks    

Our ruins of wrecked past purpose. There she basks       

Purple eyes and seas of liquid leaves all day.      


  We hear our hearts grate on themselves: it kills             

To bruise them dearer. Yet the rebellious wills           

Of us we do bid God bend to him even so.          

  And where is he who more and more distils     

Delicious kindness?—He is patient. Patience fills

His crisp combs, and that comes those ways we know.


Gerard Manley Hopkins, S.J. ( 28 July 1844 – 8 June 1889) was an English poet and Jesuit priest, whose posthumous fame established him among the leading Victorian poets.

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