• This sonnet celebrates the greatness of  God.
  • Hopkin marvels at God’s  magnificence.
  • He does not understand why people ignore God.
  • He laments the  damage that we are doing to the planet, but believes that nature can never be destroyed.


  • God & Nature – God’s greatness is evident everywhere in  the world. It is an electrical current  running through the planet. “It will flame out, like shining from shook foil”. Everything on the planet together displays God’s greatness. Although we persist in damaging the world, we cannot destroy it. The holy ghost  protects it.
  • Man & God – The poem expresses astonishment that the world is no longer aware of  God’s presence. Although his  grandeur is evident everywhere, we  seem oblivious. Due to our  advancements in technology, we no longer recognise God as a force in the world. However, despite the fact that we  have forgotten him, he has not forgotten us. The Holy ghost still sits lovingly over us and the world.


  • Form – Petrarchan rhyme scheme.The first verse is negative, but the sestet brings hope of a new dawn.
  • Imagery – Images of light represent the powerful presence of God. “Shining from shook foil”,”Ah bright wings” He also mentions the rising of the sun. The world has potential for renewal.
  • Sound effects – The poem has a gentle, soothing musical quality about it. This is due to the assonance and alliteration used. “dearest freshness”, “last lights” This could represent the kindness and gentleness of God.
  • Internal Rhyme & Repetition – “All is seared with trade, bleared, smeared with toil.” This line has an unpleasant harshness which creates an effect emphasising the relentlessness and monotony of man’s industrial endeavours, and their horrific effects on nature.