The title of the poem itself is a clear indication of what follows (“pied” meaning ‘of more than one colour’), a celebration of imperfection; of diversity. The poem opens with the poet praising and thanking God for spotted or dappled (imperfect) things, “Glory be to God for dappled things”. This one line alone sends the reader into contemplation—having always associated beauty with perfection, this makes one look at things from a whole new perspective; a perspective not tainted with the artificial and superficial human ideals about beauty. The poet then draws the reader’s attention to the ever-changing skies and compares them to a “brinded cow”. The poet uses a simile because, just like the cow, which is usually white with streaks of brown or black, the sky too is streaked with different colours: red, yellow, purple, blue, white and orange. And while most of us acknowledge the brilliance of the sky (“most of us” meaning those who take the time “to stop and smell the roses” as the saying goes) we rarely ever give a second thought to cows— let alone ever perceive them as an object of beauty. In our quest for ‘perfection’ we tend to overlook the earthly kind of beauty. But if perfection was the key word, then clear, blue skies should hold more appeal than cloudy, stormy ones; instead, though we might wish for one now and again, blue skies would bore us pretty soon; it is the variety that keeps us enthralled. Though the things described in the poem are normal, everyday things, it takes a poet’s eye to draw our attention to the everlasting, “real” beauty. For example, trout, which is mainly seen as a source of food, is described as something which would (or should) most definitely earn a second glance. The word ‘mole’ usually always invokes the ungainly imagery of warts, however, in “For rose-moles all in stipple upon trout that swim”, ‘rose’ is associated with ‘moles’, banishing all thoughts of...
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