Breathing space

Illustraton By Lara Harwood

As we enter the final months of the year, we continually hear people talk about how quickly time seems to be moving, and particularly so since the beginning of the pandemic. In a well-known poem entitled Pied Beauty, the Jesuit priest Gerard Manley Hopkins (1844-89) exalts the “dappled things” – the variegated beauty of God’s creation. As the season changes, it seems to us an appropriate respite for reflection.

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 all trades, 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:
Praise Him.


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