Tuesday, September 13, 2011

All things counter, original, spare, strange

Tuesday already? What?

Gerard Manley Hopkins is one of my go-to poets, partially because of his use of "sprung rhythm" and his general playfulness with words. Partially it's also because I went to his church, St. Aloysius, when I studied at Oxford for a semester.

Pied Beauty

Glory be to God for dappled things--
   For skies of couple-colour as a brinded 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; adazzle, dim;
He fathers-forth whose beauty is past change:
                                     Praise Him.

And just because it's fun to hear it aloud:


  1. Oh, "Pied Beauty." I remember that from when I first began to care about poetry, when I was a young teen. That was one of the first poems that stuck in my head.

    Somehow, though, I always think of it as a spring/summer poem. I don't know why, there's nothing particularly seasonal about it.

    Maybe just because fall is so much associated with
    Margaret, are you grieving
    Over Goldengrove unleaving?

    Why yes, yes I am, although my heart has grown considerably older since I first read these poems. Ah well, it is the blight man was born for, and woman also, I suppose.

    On a more cheerful note, it also reminds me of Louise Bogan's "Variations On a Sentence."
    There are few or no bluish animals...
    -Thoreau's Journals, 1885

    Of white and tawny, black as ink,
    Yellow, and undefined, and pink,
    And piebald, there are droves, I think.

    (Buff kine in herd, gray whales in pod,
    Brown woodchucks, colored like the sod,
    All creatures from the hand of God.)

    And many of a hellish hue;
    But for some reason hard to view,
    Earth's bluish animals are few.

  2. Huh. I think "Pied Beauty" is more of a fall poem for me. Winter is most closely associated with Frost's "Birches." And the changing of seasons is "Nothing Gold Can Stay."

    I'll have to think about summer and spring.

  3. Good blog. I have a real soft spot for this Manley Hopkins poem http://caroleschatter.blogspot.co.nz/2011/12/great-poem-by-manley-hopkins.html