Mar 21, 2010
Pied Beauty by Gerard Manley Hopkins : The Poetry Foundation [poem] : Find Poems and Poets. Discover Poetry.
After “Carrion Comfort” on March 17, it seems only fair to present the joyful Hopkins. This is Sunday, so let’s keep it short and sweet with “Pied Beauty,” where it's dappled and contrary things that are beautiful—or, reduced to cliché, variety is the spice of life. But for Hopkins the spottedness of the physical world, its bounty of opposites or merely differences, is not just beautiful but also evidence of the God that he finds beyond “change.” And that permanence, that’s the force to be praised.
Notice too that the devil is, as always, in the details. If Hopkins had said, "I like all the variety I see in the world," and left it at that, we'd probably respond, "Ho Hum." But in his images and pairings of opposites (like "adazzle, dim"), he's giving visual and auditory examples to make palpable his opening statement: "Glory be to God for dappled things." Because of that, it's a poem we should probably not dismiss as simplistic.