|Nature's Bonfire Burns On|
That Nature is a Heraclitean Fire and of the Comfort of the Resurrection is by the Jesuit Priest and poet, Gerard Manley Hopkins (1844–1889). It was first published in the posthumous collection: Poems (1918) and is included in the Poetry for All Seasons Appendix of the Divine Office (1974). Heraclitus (c.535- c.475 BC) was a pre-Socratic Greek philosopher who taught that fire is the primordial element from which all else comes into being and ultimately, passes away. For an interesting commentary, check out the article and podcast - Poetry and Judgment Day 3: Gerard Manley Hopkins “That Nature is a Heraclitean Fire and of the comfort of the Resurrection”.
THAT NATURE IS A HERACLITEAN FIRE AND OF THE COMFORT OF THE RESURRECTION by Gerard Manley Hopkins, 1918 (Public Domain)
Cloud-puffball, torn tufts, tossed pillows | flaunt forth, then chevy on an air-
Built thoroughfare: heaven-roysterers, in gay-gangs | they throng; they
glitter in marches.
Down roughcast, down dazzling whitewash, | wherever an elm arches,
Shivelights and shadowtackle ín long | lashes lace, lance, and pair.
Delightfully the bright wind boisterous | ropes, wrestles, beats earth bare
Of yestertempest's creases; | in pool and rut peel parches
Squandering ooze to squeezed | dough, crust, dust; stanches, starches
Squadroned masks and manmarks | treadmire toil there
Footfretted in it. Million-fuelèd, | nature's bonfire burns on.
But quench her bonniest, dearest | to her, her clearest-selvèd spark
Man, how fast his firedint, | his mark on mind, is gone!
Both are in an unfathomable, all is in an enormous dark
Drowned. O pity and indig | nation! Manshape, that shone
Sheer off, disseveral, a star, | death blots black out; nor mark
Is any of him at all so stark
But vastness blurs and time | beats level. Enough! the Resurrection,
A heart's-clarion! Away grief's gasping, | joyless days, dejection.
Across my foundering deck shone
A beacon, an eternal beam. | Flesh fade, and mortal trash
Fall to the residuary worm; | world's wildfire, leave but ash:
In a flash, at a trumpet crash,
I am all at once what Christ is, | since he was what I am, and
This Jack, joke, poor potsherd, | patch, matchwood, immortal diamond,
Is immortal diamond.