In Honour Of St. Alphonsus Rodriguez

Laybrother of the Society of Jesus

by Gerard Manley Hopkins

Honour is flashed off exploit, so we say;
And those strokes once that gashed flesh or galled shield
Should tongue that time now, trumpet now that field,
And, on the fighter, forge his glorious day.
On Christ they do and on the martyr may;
But be the war within, the brand we wield
Unseen, the heroic breast not outward-steeled,
Earth hears no hurtle then from fiercest fray.

Yet God (that hews mountain and continent,
Earth, all, out; who, with trickling increment,
Veins violets and tall trees makes more and more)
Could crowd career with conquest while there went
Those years and years by of world without event
That in Majorca Alfonso watched the door.

I dedicate this to my friend Tom Marshall, S.J., who died on March 11, 2010.
A laybrother of the Society of Jesus,
a Zen priest in both the Soto and Rinzai lineages,
and my hero.

May he rest in peace.


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