Sunday Morning Poem: “Pied Beauty”

2016 was, well, a mixed bag, and 2017 promises to be no different. Perhaps this poem by Gerard Manley Hopkins can serve as an inaugural prayer that we might discern God’s grace in whatever comes.

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 trádes, 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.


  1. All of last year was dappled for me; here’s to finding more praise therefor in this year ahead. Thank you.

  2. One of my favorites. Great choice for New Year’s.

  3. I’ve known this poem before… a long time ago. As always, thanks for being wise and thoughtful in your choice for this day. This is perfect. Happy New Year.

  4. A fine start to my day, Jason; thank you. Will this be a series–related to your FB resolution, perhaps?

  5. I had a series going before, but yes, I think I’ll resurrect it.

  6. Love this poem and this series concept. There is not a single possible situation, event, or occurrence in the realm of human possibility for which “more poetry” is not a better response than “less poetry.”

  7. Love this poem and I encourage you to resurrect the series.
    There is a bittersweet aspect, however. This poem, decades ago, caused an early awakening to the idea that when I found myself glorifying God for dappled things, I was out of step with some of what I heard from the pulpit, that reverenced the pure and white and unspotted from the world. (Note that this is not a critique of Mormonism in particular. I understand that it is a not uncommon criticism or reflection on Gerard Manley Hopkins generally.)

  8. Mary Lythgoe Bradfford says:

    One of my Favorites–Thanks!

  9. Chris: yes, I think that’s some of what Hopkins was getting at. Finding glory in the dappled does run counter to preferences for the pure, but it has the advantage of allowing us to glory in things that actually exist.

  10. Joseph Stanford says:

    Great start to new year!

  11. Mary Lythgoe Bradfford says:

    One of my faves!

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