Pied Beauty versus Homogeny

My other half and I have been cutting back on meat consumption, for moral and health reasons. We often use meat substitutes like tofu or seitan.

Hubby announced he was going to have a go at making seitan (wheat based product) himself. When I asked why, he told me that a 700 ml jar of seitan (including water weight) costs seven euros! How come meat, which comes from a living animal is so cheap, while a product that is better for our health and the environment is so expensive?

This issue reminded me of a poem I wrote some years ago while following a distance- learning poetry course at the Open College of the Arts.  I took Victorian poet, Gerald Manley Hopkins’ poem, Pied Beauty, as a template and wrote my version of it anno 2002 when Dolly the first sheep was cloned. The poems contrast people’s attitude to the natural world and spirituality in Hopkins’ day with our modern, economically-driven preference for homogeny.

Pied Beauty

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:

Praise him.

                          Cloned

Glory be to scientists for cloned beings-
For skies of two tones as a patented cow;
for chip-inserting all trout that swim;
Genetically altered grain; clipped wings;
Landscape managed and stitched – bent, barren, and fallow;
And all farm hands made redundant, grim.

All things bland, economical, matched, tame;
Whatever is exploitable (they know how)
With fast, fast; cheap, cheap; all made dim;
They father-forth their beauty, their change:

Praise them.

For some technical reason I can’t post Hopkins’ poem in its original, wonderful layout. If you would like to see the original layout, click here.

Advertisements

About susancarey

Writer and teacher living in Amsterdam. Trying to be mindful and occasionally succeeding!
This entry was posted in Uncategorized and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s