My prayers must meet a brazen heaven

And fail and scatter all away.

Unclean and seeming unforgiven

My prayers I scarcely call to pray.

I cannot buoy my heart above;

Above I cannot entrance win.

I reckon precedents of love,

But feel the long success of sin.

My heaven is brass and iron my earth:

Yea, iron is mingled with my clay,

So harden’d is it in this dearth

Which praying fails to do away.

Nor tears, nor tears this clay uncouth

Could mould, if any tears there were.

A warfare of my lips in truth,

Battling with God, is now my prayer.




Gerard Manley Hopkins

Poems by Gerard Manley Hopkins