Wednesday April 15 – “for skies of couple-colour as a brinded cow”
Gerard Manley Hopkins, sj wrote this jewel of praise in 1877; it was only published in 1918, long after he died in 1889. What is it like to write with such grace and not much expectation of recognition . . . . ? Teachers do that over and over. They write critiques of student’s work on the margins of lab reports, or assigned papers; they scold and encourage during office hours and on the sidewalk. So do lots of the women and men who work at a university, in this place of learning. Encouraging students, especially when coupled with candor, is one of the great deeds of employees at universities around the world. Gratitude can go unnoticed for years, like this poem did. And surprise can run deep when you hear intense respect years later. The saying, “beauty is its own reward”? Hopkins gets it.
Best to read the poem several times, out loud with pauses. Maybe while glancing at the sky or the green grass. It’s not summer yet but it sure is Spring.
Have a good day.
john st sj
Today’s Post, “Pied Beauty” Gerard Manley Hopkins, sj
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 áll trádes, 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:
G. M. Hopkins, sj 1844-1889