I first encountered “As Kingfishers Catch Fire” in a homily. While I don’t fully remember the homily itself, this poem has stayed with me ever since—enough that I even bought a book of Hopkins’ poems. I keep coming back to it because it helps me to recall and envision the grace-filled life that God desires for me.
A few days after last year’s Feast of the Visitation, I started working on this poem. I had recently come across a villanelle (a form of poetry that’s a bit like a puzzle, definitely structured but not too strict) and wanted to try writing one myself. I looked back at it today and was surprised how much I liked it—enough to share it, I guess.
During my daughter’s early weeks of life, I started to read her poetry as I fed her. I’d like to say it was because I knew she found the sound of my voice soothing, or because I hoped to instill in her a love of literature from an early age or because I believe that vocabulary formation begins in these first, tender weeks. These things may all be true, but that’s not why I fill her sweet little ears with metered verse. No, I read her poetry to pass the time.