Pied Beauty: The Grouch Reflects

I’ve been wanting to share a little about our current Hopkins poem: why I love it, what it’s been meaning to me, what I hope you’re getting out of pouring it into those crinkly recesses of your brain.

But I have to admit, I’m tired and off schedule (it’s never easy for me to write when I’m not at home in normal life…and right now I’m visiting family), and feeling a bit sheepish because I’m the worst mom in the church nursery and received a second “sign up to volunteer or else!” email today (which made me feel like a such a jerk. Ugh. I hate that feeling of failing people and not being the person I want them to think I am. I’m afraid nursery lady hates me and now I’ll never prove to her that I’m not just the mom who doesn’t sign up for nursery duty.)

So, I’m calling on the depths here. I’m needing Gerard Manley to tell us why we love him and need his words on this fine Friday morning.

I chose “Pied Beauty” because it reminds me of Spring and I had sweet images of myself hopping along the street by the park in paisley capris, latte in one hand, stroller in the other, gazing musical-actress-like from flowering tree to tweeting bird, quoting Hopkins to my son with my mouth and worshiping God with my heart. Is that too much to ask?

Why do I sound so bitter today?

Maybe I should stop here…before I pull out my poetry handbook and start spouting off all the “I studied poetry in grad school” things about Hopkins’ style and form and rhythm and depth. I’ll stop before I go line by line into how this poem uses images and descriptions that are completely average in regular life but somehow rockets them into splendor, taking us completely by surprise. (It’s like how roasted chicken is perfect with just salt, pepper and lemons…it needs none of the fancy stuff.)

How many songs and poems and silly melodies some refer to as “worship music” start with “Glory be to God…”? And how many complete that thought with “for dappled things”? Ahhhh. I love that.

I love Hopkins because even right now in my sour disposition (did I mention that I have a chest cold?), I can’t help but get giddy of over giving glory to God over, yep, just some “dappled things.” You know. The usual.

Please, friends. If you’ve been memorizing this poem, tell us what the process has been like for you, what you think about it, if you’re giddy about it or feeling really sorry for your extra crinkly brain or your chest cold.

Happy Friday…

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