A Pear and a Poem
Today my pear at breakfast was perfect, so very ripe and juicy and sweet-scented. And although a pear is just an ordinary thing, still I felt a little spike of pleasure when I spooned it into my mouth along with some yogurt and honey. There was pleasure, too, that I had this quiet time to notice the pear and the way the morning light was washing into the room where I sat on the floor with my back up against the wall. Without their wooly slippers, my bare feet were getting cold but I stayed there in that moment of pear delight until the whole bowl was licked clean. An ordinary pleasure, a simple moment.
Before eating it, I peeled the pear and as I held it, I noticed that its skin was mottled and rough and strangely attractive. It got me thinking of the Gerard Manley Hopkins poem about dappled things and perhaps that set my mind toward finding the pear moment to be so fine. As I sat there on the floor, empty bowl in hand, I wondered if maybe all my meals should be preceded with a poem. I found this to be an extremely exciting possibility, although not without some logistical challenges.
Still, perhaps the most important thing was allowing the pleasure of the moment to fully arise and join into the weave of the day that was just beginning and so full of potential. As much as the pear filled my belly, the moment with the pear also filled my heart and made me stronger for its pleasure and its beauty and its intimacy. So thus fortified in both body and spirit, I clambered up from the floor and set forth into the day, into my “swift, slow; sweet, sour; adazzle, dim” dappled glory of a human life.
by Gerard Manley Hopkins (1844–1889)
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:
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I hope you enjoyed this encore Weekend Meditation, originally posted in March, 2011. I will be posting these vintage posts every Sunday (with the occasional new post, if I can manage!) for the next several months while I focus on writing my first book.