Clive Hicks-Jenkins earned the honor of being first because he was so wonderfully quick in response, but as it seemed a little self-serving to make one of my own poems go first, I have delayed him and begin with the myriad-minded Paul Digby. Every post at The Lydian Stones will contain three sections: a short biography of a featured artist, along with a picture of some kind; his or her commentary on a favorite poem as well as links to further work or information about the poet; the chosen poem. This post contains a little celebratory extra, a piece of Paul Digby's music.
About Paul Digby
About Paul Digby
A biography is rather difficult for me to write. I enjoy many aspects of creative work and dabble in musical composition, painting (figurative/portraiture), light poetry, pottery, life drawing, and much else. I studied composition as a teenager but decided upon a hiatus from that when in my early twenties. Over the past ten years I have slowly returned to it because I can now write orchestral and choral work using sampled instruments and voices. There is a very steep learning curve to the process of scoring an orchestral work, but I am tenacious by nature and rather stubborn about the whole thing. In the past I wrote much piano music (my first instrument) but found that unsatisfactory. I have recently taken up oil painting, and find this to be a rich experience for me, and one that goes hand-in-hand with musical composition work. I both paint and write music to express the same ideas at the same time. Communicating ideas in this way keeps me sane.
Without this, I would simply talk an awful lot.
When writing this music recently--as part of an art show experience --I attempted to express both ethereal and earthy immediacy within the work.
The piece explores the idea of the “ascension of us all”--and also, what we would wish to ascend from. The boy solo calls to us throughout.
About the poem
I was first introduced to the work of Gerard Manley Hopkins while still at school and studying toward my 'A' level in English Literature. I must have been fifteen or sixteen at the time. It was the work of this poet that woke me up to the beauty of the sound of poetry. I realized then that words held meanings that sometimes became more powerful when put out into the air, as music. For me, poetry is spoken music. Poetry has rhythm, texture, and tonally modulating qualities that arrest my attention. It was this realization that woke me up to poetry and I have been awake to it ever since.
Gerard Manley Hopkins' work displays a very strong Christian faith, and although I am an atheist, essentially, I find beauty and integrity in his work and admire his faith and his appreciation of beauty in this world.
I have been reading his poetry for nearly forty years now, and his poetry remains as fresh and wonderful to me as it was the first time I read him.
“Pied Beauty” expresses so much that I love about life. There is also an acceptance of mystery “(who knows how?)” that I find appealing for its simplicity.
To read this poem is a joy. To read this poem aloud, well . . . that pushes something beautiful out into the world.
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 all trades, 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:
Poem in public domain.