Dappled things – by Gerard Manley 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 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:
This poem was written in 1877, but not published until 1918, when it was included as part of the collection Poems of Gerard Manley Hopkins.
Sometimes we enslave our idea of beauty to that which society says or what our senses like. There is an unseen classical beauty in two-toned images. Observe how photographers adore black and white images!
Every thing does not need to have a lush, sensual quailty. Starkness, brevity, simplicity, composition, balance are higher qualities than a mish-mash of over-rich hues!
Gerard Manley Hopkins was a priest and an exquisite poet. In the appealing contrast of dappled things he found evidence of divine benevolence! Indeed of God’s grandeur – a phrase which he used as the title of another of his poems.
But all poets are UP TO SOMETHING!
In Hopkin’s case ( as Wikipedia puts it) –
This ending is gently ironic and beautifully surprising: the entire poem has been about variety, and then God’s attribute of immutability is praised in contrast.