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Glory be to god for dappled things: the magic of hopkins

Read this poem aloud. read it as if you were overhearing a conversation in another language. Let the sounds surround you with their warmth and rhythm- it is a beautiful language with words that dance and sing, like Malayalam, French, or Gondhi. Maybe you will understand how the speakers are feeling, because you are freed from the baggage of comprehension, and you start to pick up other things - like tone of voice, accent, body language etc.


This is how I approach Hopkins’ poetry and his love for ‘dappled' things. Hopkins was a priest. This poem is an ode to nature, and to God’s grandeur that shines through every spotted element. Whenever I listen to Hopkins’ verse I close my eyes and let the sounds and the rhythms wash over me like a sea in tumult (this should be true of all poetry, in my opinion). I do not think of meaning. and often, in a sudden musical turn of phrase, or a word I have never heard, the incandescence of his epiphanies finds its way to my heart.


transcript


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 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: Praise him.


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