My previous post spoke of Jacob's experience at the Ford of Jabbok when he wrestled with a man/angel/God. One of the poems of Gerard Manley Hopkins refers to this episode from Genesis.
'Carrion Comfort' is an expression of Hopkins' determination not to succumb to despair. He battled against a gloomy and depressive nature through much of his adult life but died with the words 'I am so happy' on his lips. For me this poem seems to express an honest ambivalence about his calling to the monastic life and his personal struggle with suffering.
It speaks to me at a very deep level, because I too have a depressive nature and sometimes have ambivalent feelings about my own calling. I would be interested to hear other people's impressions of the poem and particularly whether you can relate to it and, if so, in what way.
Not, I’ll not, carrion comfort, Despair, not feast on thee;
Not untwist – slack they may be – these last strands of man
In me or, most weary, cry I can no more. I can;
Can something, hope, wish day come, not choose not to be.
But ah, but O thou terrible, why wouldst thou rude on me
Thy wring-world right foot rock? lay a lionlimb against me? scan
With darksome devouring eyes my bruised bones? and fan,
O in turns of tempest, me heaped there; me frantic to avoid thee and flee?
Why? That my chaff might fly; my grain lie, sheer and clear.
Nay in all that toil, that coil, since (seems) I kissed the rod,
Hand rather, my heart lo! Lapped strength, stole joy, would laugh, cheer.
Cheer whom though? the hero whose heaven-handling flung me, foot trod
Me? or me that fought him? O which one? is it each one? That night, that year
Of now done darkness I wretch lay wrestling with (my God!) my God.
Gerard Manley Hopkins