Rose-Moles All in Stipple

Today I see the trout that Gerard Manley Hopkins describes in his poem Pied Beauty. For many years, I’ve taught students about the “rose-moles all in stipple upon trout that swim,” but I’ve never actually seen them myself. (I never knew what “stipple” meant. It’s an artistic term for marking something with little dots.)

We’re on a hike in the mountains, and right there in a little mountain stream, I see them. If you look closely, you can see them in the water.

Like Hopkins, I proclaim, “Glory be to God for dappled things!” Yes, a Clever Artist stippled these fish to blend right into the stream bed. Their strange beauty–dappled and counter–is perfect for how they were meant to live best. Enjoy the poem below and delight in your own dappled, strange, fickle self:

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;         5
    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:         10
                  Praise him.


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