Letter: Enjoy the delicious, dappled stew of civil discourse

Posted 8/6/20

“Glory be to God for dappled things – For skies the coupled color of a brindled cow …”

So begins the first stanza of my favorite poem, “Pied Beauty,” …

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Letter: Enjoy the delicious, dappled stew of civil discourse

Posted

“Glory be to God for dappled things – For skies the coupled color of a brindled cow …”

So begins the first stanza of my favorite poem, “Pied Beauty,” by Gerard Manley Hopkins. Pied means having two or more colors — not solid — but mottled, spotted, blotched.

I think of this poem when arguments get heated, when everything is right or wrong; when everyone is good or bad; when we see only ulterior motives and the most unforgivable extremes.

Contrary things keep us honest and hold us accountable. How can we justify our own views if we don’t understand those of others?

It takes courage to open our minds, listen hard to reasonable people who disagree with us, and ask not just what they think, but why. We may discover that their fears and hopes, joys and hardships, make them as beautifully flawed as those we most love.

Our country isn’t a melting pot, but a hearty stew of unique ingredients. It’s red, white and blue separately, but together.

Hopkins ends his poem celebrating the beauty of “All things counter, original, spare, strange; Whatever is fickle, freckled (who knows how?) With swift, slow; sweet, sour; adazzle, dim …” 

So, take heart, take your place at the table, and dig into the delicious, dappled stew of civil discourse.

Andrea Rounds
Bristol

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