My junior class took a unit test on Friday, and I faced that awkward end-of-the-quarter/too-short-to-accomplish-anything interval of 30 minutes or so. The day was autumnal and golden, I hatched an alternate plan, reading to them Gerard Manley Hopkins’ Pied Beauty and then took them on a stroll on the trail behind the school. The poem is a whimsical celebration of beauty and language and I’m sharing it below.
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:
Source: Gerard Manley Hopkins: Poems and Prose (Penguin Classics, 1985) Via the Poetry Foundation