Somewhere Hopkins refers to his great long
Ode as my wreck, as possessive as a salvager
Tossing sand dunes for rubble the day after.
And somewhere a critic says Hopkins thought
Volpone a great play. I can’t locate either
At the moment, but they are out there
Barely visible on the horizon as you
Fall asleep into the terrible weather
Of a dream, a collision in an hour-glass
And awake from a threadbare epic.
How much clearer at dawn is the memory
Of a motionless figure covered by snow
A statue at night oblivious to the storm,
The old bronze general riding south,
Whose four-o’clock-in-the-morning courage
Astonished those around him, as alone
Now as the statue of St. Joan a mile away
Rising out of the wreckage of the past.
— This poem appears in the July 7, 2014, issue of National Review.