African Pied Beauty

I doubt Gerard Manley Hopkins ever made it to Africa.

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In fact, I’ve checked. He didn’t.

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But his poetry could have been inspired by the rhythms of the continent, by its dramatic landscape, by its preposterously diverse (read: deliriously kooky) wildlife.

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Out in the middle of the Serengeti, bumping along in a camo-colored jeep, I found myself reciting Hopkins as a backdrop to the vast and dappled (a Hopkins word) canvas surrounding me.

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Glory be to God for dappled things –

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For skies of couple-color as a brinded cow: . . .

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I wondered: Who thinks up creatures like the flamingo? Honestly. Hot pink? Double jointed?

That loopy neck thing going on?

Who dared submit that design to the board?

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And the warthog? We’re serious?

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The dung beetle? (Read that one again.)

(Slowly.)

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Did no one want to test it before just putting it on the road?

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All things counter,

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Original,

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Spare,

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Strange;

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Whatever is fickle,

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Freckled (who knows how?)

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With swift, slow;

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Sweet,

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Sour; 

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Adazzle,

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Dim;

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He fathers-forth whose beauty is past change:

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Praise him.

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4 thoughts on “African Pied Beauty

    • Yes, they’re glorious animals. To see them in their natural habitat is completely arresting. A lion only a few feet from your Jeep or an elephant within arm’s length form where you’re standing. . .and no zoo fence. . .it’s pretty chilling.

    • Sharlee, Since the text is from Hopkins, the pictures from my boys and husband,and the subject matter from Divinity, I take no credit and praise them – and Him, above all – forever and ever. No praise will ever be worthy enough.

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