Friday, April 24, 2009


Celebrate National Poetry Month!!

Today's favorite poem is from YA writer R.A. Nelson, author of TEACH ME, BREATHE MY NAME and the forthcoming DAYS OF LITTLE TEXAS. He says he has many favorites that tend to shift and change with time. Here is one of his current faves:

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 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.

- Gerard Manley Hopkins

Russ says, "What I love about this poem is how it recognizes beauty in all its wondrous forms...not just the large and dazzling, but the small, subtle, even forgotten or ignored. Beauty is everywhere -- the universe is a creation beyond imagining...a gift which greets us each day if we will only allow it to do so.

I love how this poem fits in the mouth...I love the feel of its clicking consonants juxtaposed against the assonance, all the internal similarities of sound. I love how in such a short space Hopkins manages to catalog so many wonderfully diverse, yet subtlety connected concrete images. And the first time (and every time thereafter) that I ever read the poem, the last two lines suddenly turned the whole thing so sharply (and rapturously) outward toward the infinite and the size of the blessings we have been bequeathed, that it made the little hairs stand up on the back of my neck. Praise him, indeed."

Is anyone else noticing a theme here?? Yes, beauty is everywhere. Even in the small things. Maybe with poetry, especially in the small things.

Quick update:
1. Took kids to see their first live comedy show -- James Gregory. So fun to see them laugh so hard! My face actually hurt from laughing by the time it was over.
2. Limestone Dust Poetry Festival was inspiring, as ever. So many great poets in the world!
3. Our a/c is not working. Of course this would happen the first day the mercury hits 90 degrees for 2009.
4. Poetry Month is coming to a close. I've got two more events in celebration: a school visit to Inverness Elementary and a presentation at Hoover Senior Center. Then it's over for another year. Looking forward to May flowers!!

1 comment:

  1. Irene, what a fabulous poem! "Fresh-firecoal chestnut-falls", I love that! How fun that you took your boys to a comedy show! It's so important to share wonderful things like that with your kids.

    Sounds like you are a very busy gal, these days! Yay for you!!!



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