by George Manly Hopkins
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 trades, their gear and tackle and trim.
All things counter, original, spáre, strange;
Whatever is fickle, frecklèd (who knows how?)
With swíft, slów; sweet, sóur; adázzle, dím;
He fathers-forth whose beauty is pást change:
This is, I think, my favorite poem. It speaks of all I love the best about the world, and reflects the wonder back to the Designer. That about covers everything.
As I have lived with this poem (I think I ran into it at college, so that would be some fifty years ago) it has grown! There is always some favorite place in it that delights and surprises me. What more can I discover?
Well, this morning I realize that the accents are puzzling, and although I remember vaguely that it has to do with meter in poetry, I am not so sure about all that. So I will have to look it up and find out. A good puzzle.
Wikipedia has quite a lot on Gerard Manly Hopkins– more than I expected, and I find I must look further. I never fully trust Wikipedia, since anyone can edit it, but this treatise seems exceptionally well researched. Click NOTES to see what I collected in a half hour’s time from Wikipedia and others.
I always did think this poem was like a paeon in the sense of being a song of praise. Surely there is much to be learned about Hopkins vis-à-vis music. I shall have to check to see if the poem can technically be called a paeon, which word also refers to meter with one long syllable and three short ones.
And so the old swimmer’s mind is again plied by that old “needing to know.”