Sunday, April 05, 2009

Poetry 5: Gerard Manley Hopkins

I still remember where I was sitting when this poem blew me away (in Dr. Cracroft's 251 class). Because, for one thing, it is just so fun to read aloud! But also because it spoke to me in many ways. (For one thing, I myself am not catch-y0ur-eye beautiful. But this poem told me that maybe there is beauty in me, too--and maybe someone would see it someday.) Not being quick at memorizing, I don't memorize poetry often, but I memorized this one a couple of years ago just to have it with me always.

Pied Beauty
by Gerard Manley Hopkins

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 áll trades, their gear and tackle and trim.
All things counter, original, spáre, strange;
Whatever is fickle, frecklèd (who knows how?)

With swíft, slów; sweet, sóur; adázzle, dím;
He fathers-forth whose beauty is pást change:

Práise hím.

(Don't know what's with the little accent marks--they were there on the website I got this from.)


Anonymous said...

The stress marks are original to the poem -- I'm vague on the details but I remember hearing that Hopkins made up some new way of stressing language that he used in his poems, or something like that (I'm sure I'm not doing the facts justice at all with my ancient memory.)

Whaddaya know, I also have a Hopkins poem memorized that I studied in a BYU English class and fell in love with. I wonder if I can still get it right:

In the Valley of the Elwy

I remember a place where all were good to me, God knows deserving no such thing. Comforting smell breathed on very entering, fetched fresh, as I supposed, on some sweet wood. That cordial air made those kind people a hood all over, as a bevy of eggs a mothering wing will, or mild nights the new morsels of Spring. Why it seemed of course; seemed of right it should. Happy the [?]], woods, vales, all the ___ ___ __ that build this world of Wales.

Only the inmate does not correspond.

God, lover of souls, swaying considerate scales, complete thy creature dear oh where it fails.
Being mighty a master, being a father and fond.

Drat, I've forgotten some (including where all the line breaks go.) Time to refresh.

Here's the correct version.

Clark Draney said...

Is it way late and way lame to comment on this post so many days later?

Hopkins is one of my first poetic loves. I learned [carrion comfort] in high school and have loved Hopkins since. Hopkins didn't title this poem, exactly, so it's known by its famous bit from the first line.

Not, I'll not, carrion comfort, Despair, not feast on thee;
Not untwist--slack they may be--these last strands of man
In me ór, most weary, cry I can no more. I can;
Can something, hope, wish day come, not choose not to be.

But ah, but O thou terrible, why wouldst thou rude on me
Thy wring-world right foot rock? lay a lionlimb against me? scan
With darksome devouring eyes my bruisèd bones? and fan,
O in turns of tempest, me heaped there; me frantic to avoid thee
and flee?

Why? That my chaff might fly; my grain lie, sheer and clear.
Nay in all that toil, that coil, since (seems) I kissed the rod,
Hand rather, my heart lo! lapped strength, stole joy, would laugh, chéer.
Cheer whom though? The hero whose heaven-handling flung me,
fóot tród
Me? or me that fought him? O which one? is it each one? That night,
that year
Of now done darkness I wretch lay wrestling with (my God!) my God.

Hopkins "style" is called sprung rhythm, but you prolly already knew that.