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Featured Poem: The Candle Indoors by Gerard Manley Hopkins

Written by Francesca Dolan, 4th April 2022

The theme of this year’s bookshelf is Light and Darkness – which I chose with a few colleagues a good while ago , while we were still very much in the thick of the pandemic. We hoped we would be  getting out of it by this time, but we also thought we’d have a lot of worries and sadness's because of what has happened to us all since March 2020. So as we tried to imagine what life would be like in 2022, we thought, light at the end of the tunnel perhaps, but we don’t want to ignore the tough stuff that  our experiences have brought us – so light and darkness. And the more we thought about those times of darkness, the more we realised light and darkness are connected – the dawn comes after the darkest hour, the darkness heralds the light, all light must give way finally to the darkness as the world turns, time passes, things change.  And that we need the darkness, the inward times and spaces, where life may shelter and can be renewed.

So lots of our choices are not only about darkness or only about light, but often about the dance between the two.

This week, The Reader's founder and Director, Jane Davies, introduces the 2022/23 Reader Bookshelf theme of 'Light and Dark'. She reads 'The Candle Indoors' by Gerard Manley Hopkins.


The Candle Indoors 


Some candle clear burns somewhere I come by.
I muse at how its being puts blissful back
With yellowy moisture mild night’s blear-all black,
Or to-fro tender trambeams truckle at the eye.
By that window what task what fingers ply,
I plod wondering, a-wanting, just for lack
Of answer the eagerer a-wanting Jessy or Jack
There God to aggrándise, God to glorify.—

Come you indoors, come home; your fading fire
Mend first and vital candle in close heart’s vault:
You there are master, do your own desire;
What hinders? Are you beam-blind, yet to a fault
In a neighbour deft-handed? Are you that liar
And, cast by conscience out, spendsavour salt?


By Gerard Manley Hopkins

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