Finding beauty crammed in the ordinary.
I’ve mentioned previously how easy it can be for me to confuse efficiency for purpose. In part, “Summer Rain” is an intentional slowing of pace to really see and appreciate what is happening around me. But even more it reminds of how the slowing itself refreshes the soul that would allow it — much as the summer rain refreshes the reaching boughs. This is head-knowledge, “education for the mind”; but it reaches deeper, and would remind our hearts of the oft-forgotten value of rest, and of paying attention.
As I’ve written, revisited, and revised this poem I’ve also come to appreciate how its very form points to the beauty in the ordinary that a restful intentionality can help us see. There is no rhyme scheme, and the images are not glorified, but simple. There is, however, a rhythm and a meter that guide the words, giving them the beauty of purpose and place. Similarly, the ordinary scenes and images of our days are crammed with beauty, and “charged with the grandeur of God.”1 Sometimes, it is enough to take pause from our hurryings and our endless to-do’s and to “drink the tune of summer rain,” finding the rhythm of things where no purpose appeared at first.
I hope and pray that you can hear such music somewhere today; and every day.
The rain beats slow and gentle tones in blessing grateful boughs — a welcome din in middle June the thirsty heart imbibes. Sweet education for the mind, but sweeter for the soul: it is enough to sit and drink the tune of summer rain.
Gerard Manley Hopkins, "God’s Grandeur," Poetry Foundation, accessed 09/03/2022, https://www.poetryfoundation.org/poems/44395/gods-grandeur.
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