I came across this John Olsen again yesterday at the Art Gallery of South Australia - it’s one of my favourites of his, I mean the colours are obviously me. But really it’s the dappled mess of it, the glory that raises up, the perfect balance of gold and deep red, soft moments of glowy blue. It’s a real dream in person, the size and texture quite something.
Pied Beauty, it’s called. For the Gerard Manley Hopkins poem I can only think. It was one of my favourite poems from school, one of those old classics that stays with you, lines I think of often. It does what I think poems should, in that it creates a small and perfect feeling, a reminder of those natural things, the layers of beauty that fold around you any old time.
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:
Gerard Manley Hopkins