Wild air, world-mothering air,
Nestling me everywhere,
This needful, never spent,
and nursing element;
My more than meat and drink;
My meal at every wink;
This air, which, by life’s law,
My lung must draw and draw
Now but to breathe its praise
Minds me in many ways
Of her who not only
Gave God’s infinity
Dwindled to infancy
Welcome in womb and breast,
Birth, milk, and all the rest
But mothers each new grace
That does now reach our race-
She, wild web, wondrous robe,
Mantles the guilty globe,
Since God has let dispense
Her prayers His providence
And men are meant to share
Her life as life does air,
If I have understood,
She holds high motherhood
Towards all our ghostly good
And plays in grace her part
About man’s beating heart,
Laying, like air’s fine flood,
The deathdance in his blood:
Yet no part but what will
Be Christ our Savior still.
Though much the mystery how,
Not flesh but spirit now
And makes, O marvelous!
New Nazareths in us,
Where she shall yet conceive
Him, morning, noon, and eve;
New Bethlehems, and be born
There, evening, noon, and morn-
Bethlehem or Nazareth,
Men may draw like breath
More Christ and baffle death.
-Gerard Manley Hopkins-