In the poem ‘God’s Grandeur’ by Gerard Manley Hopkins, the theme of imperfection and perfection is highlighted. The majority of the poem is a contrast between imperfection and perfection. The first stanza discusses the contrast between the two themes; perfection and imperfection, while in the second stanza; God’s perfection is mainly spoken about. Perfection The mere title of this poem suggests the poem is about something great and powerful. The word ‘grandeur’ is defined as splendour and impressiveness. This word is frequently used when referring to appearance or style and is a synonym and implication of perfection.
Therefore, the poem’s title is suiting and signifies God’s perfection and His grace. In the poem, the earth and nature is also seen as a symbol of perfection, as it is made and controlled by God. This is evident in line one, which quotes “The world is charged with the grandeur of God. ” This shows that nature is seen as pure and it is renewed at this point to be slowly changed by imperfections such as man. In line six it is stated that ‘all is seared with trade; bleared, smeared with soil; And wears man’s smudge and man’s smell. However nature is relentless and proves itself to always be perfect, no matter how many attempts man tries to destroy it, it just always finds a way bounce back what harm man does to it. Lines nine and ten state ‘…nature is never spent; there lives the dearest freshness deep down things. ’ These phrases clearly prove that the earth will not lose its purity due to man. The Holy Ghost’s presence with vitality and life and al luminous things are what keep the earth together, with warm breath and bright wings. Imperfection
In the poem ‘God’s Grandeur’ the theme of imperfection directly deals with the attitude and the action of man. God has blessed man with a wonderful earth, a natural home with abundant resources to help man to survive, but unfortunately man has become blind and ungrateful. For centuries man has destroyed the earth for selfish gain. This can be shown by the phrase ‘the soil is now bare’, which gives the image of a desolate, dry earth whose resources were used for the wrong purposes. The phrase ‘nor can foot feel’ hich contains an example of alliteration and also imagery, shows how man has separated himself both physically and spiritually from nature and the earth which God has blessed them with and consequently they are also separating themselves from God. The poet’s tone of gratitude and awe throughout most of the poem clearly shows his disappointment of man’s treatment to the earth due to ignorance selfishness and ingratitude which contribute to man’s imperfection. Even the phrase ‘why do men then now not reck his rod? ’ show that the poet does not understand why man does not give God the thanks and respect that He is due.
Unfortunately man does not realize that by trying to help themselves , they are actually hurting themselves , since they are destroying something that is keeping them alive. Most of the book of Matthew chapter five , especially Matthew 5:48 which states ‘you therefore must be perfect as your Heavenly Father is perfect’ clearly shows that due to man’s sin , such as selfishness, hatred, ignorance and in relation to the poem the misuse of God’s blessings , which contribute to man’s imperfection, can resultantly separate us from God.