14 October 2010

pied beauty {gerard manley hopkins}

I'm not sure how much more I can write about fall.

To be more precise: I'm not sure how much more I should write about fall. Without ticking people off with my repetitiveness and my maybe-you-should-be-worried-about-me love for the season.

But here's just a short list of things I haven't even touched on, not in the slightest:
  • corduroy coats
  • the first time you get to wear boots. Not the snow boot kind, which can make you feel like a dorky kid {a kid with dry feet, but still a bit dorky}, but the stylish leather kind.
  • sleeping with the windows open and using extra blankets
  • driving to work with the sunroof open {to smell the fall air} and the heat on {to keep your feet warm. Unless you have stylish boots on, then maybe you won't need the heat.}
  • discovering yellow, crinkly leaves in your car because you accidentally left your sunroof open and some flitted in while you were at work
  • rainy days that make you want to listen to Erik Satie as you bake pumpkin-flavored things. Breads. Cookies. Muffins. Doesn't matter, so long as your house can smell like spice and all things nice for just a little while.
Ok, so I'll stop there. Even I'm getting a little worried about myself, that I don't have anything to say, except joyful raptures and rhapsodies about the weather.

Instead, I'll just turn this over to Gerard Manley Hopkins, a British poet from the late 19th Century. What, that transition didn't make sense to you? It will in a minute; go with me for just a minute.

Hopkins wrote this poem called "Pied Beauty" where he praises God for his undeniable creativity: in color, in landscape, even in what we do to fill our days on earth.

Being the good English major I was, I studied this poem in college and even did a project on it.

Being a last-semester-of-college English major at that point, the project was...well, it was really more of a photo/artsy essay. To this day, the project still feels like something I got away with.

Instead of an 8-page paper explicating the poem, my professor let me visually represent the ideas in here. I had pictures of early spring flowers pushing through snow, a pressed leaf from the fall before, and I even threw in poems that I'd written in response to "Pied Beauty."

I put it all together in a book, and I know that maybe it sounds impressive, this multi-media interpretation of a poem, but I'm going to be honest: it was on construction paper.

I turned in one of my last projects in college on construction paper and got an A. It was kindergarten come full circle.

You see why I have a special place in my heart for "Pied Beauty." Well, that and Hopkins describes so exquisitely—in such strong, demanding language—the reasons why I feel compelled to so often write about nature, try to capture it, try to remember every detail of every morning that made me smile.

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 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:
Práise hím.

1 comment:

  1. That is one of my favorite poems! I was even inspired to make my handle DappledDawn (for twitter and lots of other things), because I kept thinking of that first line.

    Also I could write about Fall non-stop too. I've even got baked apples in the oven right now just about ready to come out. Mmmm. :-)



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