…in fact, reading through Felix Randal again just now–one
doesn’t think about these things from one year’s end to the next–I am
struck by what a truly superb poem it is. “Difficult”–okay; but once you
have grasped the essential idea** and got used to Hopkins’s rather odd
diction, it makes perfect sense, and there is not a word out of place. A
beautiful, beautiful gem.
**Randal is a village blacksmith who got sick, rallied, then got sick again
and died. Hopkins was his (Roman
Catholic) priest, who nursed him through it all, apparently administering
last rites at one point, and has just learned of his death.