Thursday, 2 July 2009

Pure Poetry

Pied Beauty

Glory be to God for dappled things-
For skies of couple- colour as a brindled cow;
For rose-moles all in stipple upon trout that swim;
Fresh-firecoal , chestnut falls; finches' wings;
Landscape plotted and pieced - fold, fallow, and plough;
And all trades, their gear and tackle and trim.

All things counter, original, spare, strange;
Whatever is fickle, freckled ( who knows how?)
With swift, slow; sweet, sour, adazzzle, dim;
He fathers- forth whose beauty is past change:
Praise him.


I am aiming to post a poem at least once a month. I love this one by Gerard Manley Hopkins because it is an outpouring of amazement at the sheer beauty and variety of creation. I particularly love the fact that what Hopkins values is the unusual and striking, not the bland or uniform but the "freckled", the " counter, original, spare, strange." You can tell Hopkins has the mind of a true poet when he sees a similarity in the "couple- colour" of the sky and the couple colour of a cow's hide. It is as though Hopkins imagines the creator saying , " I love that sky pattern, far too good to waste, where else could I use it? - I know, on a cow!" The sounds of this poem are also just fantastic, they spill out and the words are broken up with punctuation and dashes to give a sense of the sheer energy and joy of creation.

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