Notes from the Waxhaws


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It’s one of those words that I’d always just taken for granted…without really knowing what it meant. Pied…as in…the Pied Piper of Hamelin. It wasn’t until I first read Gerard Manley Hopkins’ poem Pied Beauty, that this old word’s meaning came to light for me. A simple word…meaning two or more colors…something that is multi-colored, such as the clothing worn by the famous piper of Hamelin (the legend, by the way, is an interesting one…and somewhat sad).

I was out on the front porch the other day, and noticed two extraordinary creatures gracing my presence…one on each of the two handrails leading up the steps to the porch. Both were basking in the warm sun of a quite beautiful afternoon here in the Carolinas…both, fully aware of the present moment. On one handrail, a tiny green anole lizard was stretched out…its delicate eyes gazing into the distance. On the other railing…a handsome creature that brought to mind the words of Hopkins’ poem…

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 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.

~ Gerard Manley Hopkins

One Response

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  1. Thanks Jim. Glad to have found your blog. I’ll be back. Regards from Thom at the immortal jukebox (give it a spin).

    Thom Hickey

    June 17, 2014 at 3:19 pm

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