Friday, August 1, 2008

Pied Beauty

My father and I happened upon this magnificent koi swimming in the ponds of Portland's Japanese Gardens during an afternoon of (book-browsing, coffee-drinking, and rose-smelling) leisure.

It's been almost twenty years since he first introduced me to the poem, "Pied Beauty," from which I have borrowed the phrase. In it, Gerard Manley Hopkins praises God "for dappled things -- / For skies of couple-colour as a brinded cow; / For rose-moles all in stipple upon trout that swim."

Both image and rhyme are fitting descriptions of our life these days. It is beautiful, but its beauty is of a kind that is "dappled" with imperfections. It is "counter [to our expectations], original [that is, filled with a mixture of joys and sorrows all our own], spare [as opposed to lavish], and strange [filled with unexpected, unfamiliar turnings]." Nevertheless, we are grateful for it; indeed, we, along with Hopkins, praise God for the "sweet" along with the "sour;" for all that is "adazzle" (namely, our sprightly daughter) as well as all that's "dim" (such as the real estate market).

For those interested parties I invite you to keep up with our happenings here.

1 comment:

Joseph Anfuso said...

Hi Heath-

I loved your "Pied Beauty" posting and the picture of the Koi(taken the day you and I visited Portland's Japanese Gardens :)) I also vividly recall reading you the poems of Gerard Manley Hopkins when you were perhaps nine or ten. It's a memory that still brings a tear to my eye, especially when I see your appreciation of Hopkins, as well as the beauty of your own writing, today. You are a precious pearl in the making, Heather!