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john davies
notes from a small vicar
from a parish
in Liverpool, UK

    Wednesday, September 29, 2004
    Becoming conscious
     
    The view from St Beuno's is quite spectacular, high on the edge of the Clwydian hills looking westwards towards Snowdonia and Great Orme's Head nudging the Irish Sea. No wonder past resident, trainee priest Gerard Manley Hopkins described it as one of the most beautiful places on earth.

    During Hopkins' final year at St Beuno's College, their website tells us, "Poetry simply poured out of him, including God's Grandeur, The Starlight Night, In the Valley of the Elwy, The Sea and the Skylark, (written at Rhyl) and The Windhover, which he said, was the best thing he ever wrote."

    Well, this afternoon I was thinking the sorts of thoughts you think on retreat - how unfocussed I am (anyone reading this blog for a while could tell me that), how un-conscious in contrast to the calls to extremely conscious living demanded by trailblazers like Walter Wink, whose words (from Engaging the Powers) we'd studied together earlier.

    Thinking these thoughts I was sat somewhere near where Hopkins must have been sitting when the images of The Windhover came to his mind's eye, up the hill above the house. And I became yes, conscious, of a bird of prey spiralling slowly below. And I recalled, yes, that poem, in all its wondrousness.....