Themes in That Nature is a Heraclitean Fire


For all the poem's length, the theme is straightforward: there is a hope of permanence beyond change. This guarantees humankind's inscape (uniqueness), since people have the hope of resurrection bodies. Otherwise that, and people's instress, their ‘mark on mind' (l.11), ‘is gone!'

The sovereignty of God

The thought of the uniqueness of each individual is only part of Hopkins' grasp of God's sovereignty and power. Nature's ‘million-fuelled' fire does seem powerful, but he believes that God created it and so can order a resurrection beyond this, in the same way that a diamond is only formed out of intense pressure into something permanent.

Hopkins has a sense of Heraclitus' worldview, and the discoveries of modern science- the vastness of the universe particularly, but finds that the Christian faith can contain and go beyond them.

Investigating That Nature is a Heraclitean Fire
  • What words and images best convey the hope Hopkins feels?
  • Do you get the sense that Hopkins is well beyond his ‘Dark Night', or that it is still hovering on his emotional horizon?
    • What parts of the poem do you see as evidence?
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