The second line of Gerard Manley Hopkins's sonnet God's Grandeur is:

It will flame out, like shining from shook foil.

What I found on the Internet regarding the analysis of this line was rather complicated. I have to present this poem in front of my classroom and I am still just a high school student. Could anyone give me the easiest explanation , something that everyone will be able to understand please?

1 Answer 1


When you take a sheet of metal foil and shake it vigorously, the metal sparkles as the light catches it. Here is an example of gold foil being shaken. The left edge of the foil in particular is reminiscent of flames:

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As you can see, the light glitters and shines off the foil in an active way. That's what Hopkins means: God's grandeur is actively reflected in the world, as light is actively reflected when foil is shaken.


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