Dappled Things in Their Pied Beauty

March 31st, 2016 · No Comments

by Jane St. Clair

The first time I read Gerald Manley Hopkins’ poem, “Pied Beauty,” I wasn’t sure what he was talking about. Dappled things?

Was he really thanking God for the speckles on trout? After all, that’s what “stipple on trout” means.

Trout are pretty cool looking, but really?

Dappled Things Jane St Clair Rainbow Trout

The next thing you know Hopkins is thanking God for the stripes on cows. Stripes on cows are also cool, but yet …

Brinded Cow in Iceland by Christian Bickel wikipedia 1

The more I thought about Hopkins’ words and kept looking around me, I finally understood what he meant by Pied Beauty. Gerald Manley Hopkins meant that speckled or dappled things as well as striped or brinded things are all around you, and they are beautiful in their own way.

Beautiful striped skies, for example.

Brinded sky, Jane St. Clair

Or the way that tree shadows form long wavy stripes on sand …

Tree Shadows are Brinded Dappled Things Jane ST Clair

Or even everyday striped things like an everyday striped cat …

Dappled Things Brinded cat Jane St Clair

Or the wondrous beauty of vast striped things like the Grand Canyon ..
Dappled Things Jane St Clair Grand Canyon

Then I began to see dappled things  … the dappled things all around us … like pebbles in speckled patterns …

Speckled Dappled Things by Jane St Clair pebbles

And how wildflowers can be dappled too …

wildflowers Dappled Things Jane St Clair

The ability to see dappled and brinded things is a beautiful revelation.. because as Simon and Garfunkel wrote, once you’re dappled, you love life. ..

“…I’m dappled and drowsy and ready to sleep. Let the morning time drop all its petals on me. Life, I love you, All is groovy …”

Thank you, Brother Gerald, for opening us up to dappled things.

Dappled Things Jane ST Clair Finch

Pied Beauty by Gerald Manley Hopkins

GLORY be to God for dappled things—
For skies of couple-color 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;

G.M. Hopkins

G.M. Hopkins poet and monk

Whatever is fickle, freckled (who knows how?)
With swift, slow; sweet, sour; adazzle, dim;
He fathers-forth whose beauty is past change:
Praise him.

Dappled Things Brinded Sky over Mayer Jane St Clair

Tags: Arizona photography · Jane St. Clair · nature essay