Will Johnston asks, as prologue to our presentation on Hopkins, why do we like to read difficult poetry? April, with its showers sweet, is the cruellest month. Discuss. As if existence is not complex enough, we want ever more complex sentences. Hopkins wanted, briefly, fourteen lines to speak of the Eternal. For every word that gives access, another expects us to learn something new. We yearn for, even delight in, sentences we don’t understand. The effort is enough, sometimes; we respect the mystery we cannot, for now, know in full, and memorise. We wish footnotes were superfluous. Or do we?