God’s Grandeur Summary
"God’s Grandeur" starts off with a claim: the earth is full God’s special power, God’s vitality. But the earth is ultimately temporary. The fire will go from it one day. It will reach a peak, then slowly spread, and then collapse
The speaker states that the natural world is inseparable from God, but at the same time temporary. The speaker wants to know why don’t people don't take better care of the natural world. Why don’t they recognize and respect the power of God that is running through our environment? He says that people have been endlessly tromping and trudging through the world for so long, and now the surface of the earth is calloused and burnt over by industry. It looks blurry and out of focus with all this industry, and endless hard work covering it.
The world is charged with the grandeur of God.
It will flame out, like shining from shook foil;
It gathers to a greatness, like the ooze of oil
"The world," according to the poem’s speaker, is energized with God’s energy and beauty. Duty is another implication of the word "charged" and a strong one in this poem. It implies a caretaker, or protector, or even guardian role. The world is responsible for taking care of this force of nature. The speaker is saying that the charged world is temporary. Hopkins says that the image of "shook foil" was inspired by "tinsel," metal "leaf," and "sheet lightening," and "fork lightening." "Foil" can also mean "sword," and since swords also have a metallic surface, it fits. This imagery meshes with the sense of battle or struggle that permeates much of the poem. We smell the oil released from plants and other natural elements when they are "crushed" to make perfumes or soaps or incense. But we also feel the world becoming "crushed" as we take too much oil from it, without replacing what we’ve taken. The speaker reasons that since the natural world is fueled with God’s force, and we are here to take care of it, and since we only get...