One of the more popular poems in the English language launches its message with a pair of images that are immediately obscure. The apparently straightforward statement that opens Gerard Manley Hopkins' "God's Grandeur" reveals, like much of the sonnet's remainder, clear meaning in an instant and then further insight over time. However, the images that succeed that statement have long generated noisy confusion. A piece of foil, shaken by anonymous hands, produces flashes of light that sparkle forth like flames; oil oozes from something crushed or crushing, likewise unnamed. Though the poem is otherwise complex yet remarkably lucid, these images have at times been interpreted as signs of intentional oddness or sheer sloppiness. It is difficult, though, to believe that a poet writing of bare soil and shod feet, the setting sun and a brooding dove images that are immediately evocative would have deliberately opened with obscure concepts. And we should not easily accept that a poet skillful enough to speak powerfully to the widest possible range of readers may have begun a poem carelessly only to complete it with obvious care. Our widespread confusion should not lead us to assume that Hopkins meant to be confusing, nor that it was his bad fortune to be confusing when he meant to be profound, but rather that we may lack a ready understanding of the Roman Catholic faith which inspired him to write. Any reader educated in the symbolism of Catholicism should be aware that flames and oil juxtaposed must refer to the Holy Spirit; a closer examination of the actions described in these lines reveals a detailed, multi-faceted description of the Trinity.