… dappled light – a vital joy …

Cello bridge two orbs surge and ebb

as gold-white-silver-and-blue

flicker through the mesh

of vapour and dust

and amid clouds and branches

needle shadow lace

through myths and hollows

in dappled light on solids

… visible pointers

Shadow on door - Copyto deep-breathing space

within – the fulcrum from whence

unfolds everything

*    *    *

P1100852 - low

I found a poem by Gerard Manley Hopkins (1844-89) – ‘Pied Beauty’ – more musical and sophisticated than my Haiku attempt,and with sincerity of devotion I can’t muster. Enjoy …

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.

*    *    *

My thoughts on dappled light are a spin-off from an exchange of comments with my on-line friend Joe Linker who asked:   ‘Framing – How much light to reveal? Shuttering – How much darkness to avoid?’

Imacon Color Scanner

Here a scene from a stormy day in Rye with optimal exposure.

Analogue photography provides brilliant metaphors. No matter how interesting the chosen frame, shutter speed is vital. Too much light will turn the negative dense and dark, bringing bleached-out definitions to the positive print. Too little light produces a thin, transparent negative, resulting in a hard or soggy positive where subtleties of tone are lost. The amount of light is regulated by shutter speed.

In writing this is equivalent to the balance of rhythm, sound and shape of words drawing you into the frame.       I’ll keep practising 🙂

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20 Comments

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20 responses to “… dappled light – a vital joy …

  1. My favourite GMH seems to be quoted here. Can’t resist quoting the same exultant glory from the Windhover.

    Brute beauty and valour and act, oh, air, pride, plume, here
    Buckle! AND the fire that breaks from thee then, a billion 10
    Times told lovelier, more dangerous, O my chevalier!

    No wonder of it: shéer plód makes plough down sillion
    Shine, and blue-bleak embers, ah my dear,
    Fall, gall themselves, and gash gold-vermillion.

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  2. Poetry and pictures how lovely. For some reason this made me recall this piece

    Not every man has gentians in his house
    in Soft September, at slow, Sad Michaelmas.
    Bavarian gentians, big and dark, only dark
    darkening the daytime torchlike with the smoking blueness of Pluto’s
    gloom,
    ribbed and torchlike, with their blaze of darkness spread blue
    down flattening into points, flattened under the sweep of white day
    torch-flower of the blue-smoking darkness, Pluto’s dark-blue daze,
    black lamps from the halls of Dis, burning dark blue,
    giving off darkness, blue darkness, as Demeter’s pale lamps give off
    light,
    lead me then, lead me the way.
    Reach me a gentian, give me a torch!
    Let me guide myself with the blue, forked torch of a flower
    down the darker and darker stairs, where blue is darkened on blueness
    down the way Persephone goes, just now, in first-frosted September
    to the sightless realm where darkness is married to dark
    and Persephone herself is but a voice, as a bride
    a gloom invisible enfolded in the deeper dark
    of the arms of Pluto as he ravishes her once again
    and pierces her once more with his passion of the utter dark
    among the splendour of black-blue torches, shedding
    fathomless darkness on the nuptials.

    Bavarian gentians, tall and dark, but dark
    darkening the daytime torch-like with the smoking blueness of Pluto’s gloom,
    ribbed hellish flowers erect, with their blaze of darkness spread blue,
    blown flat into points, by the heavy white draught of the day.

    David Herbert Lawrence
    Of course there is that other one about roses and the distance. oh hold on I’ll have to go and find it now – see you’ve released the monster 🙂

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    • I’ve released a wonderful monster. Thanks so much for bringing D H Lawrence into this wonderful night.
      … The blue-smoking darkness of Gentians … ribbed hellish flowers erect, with their blaze of darkness spread blue …
      I came upon these flowers in the Alps, deeply impressed by their colour.

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  3. Perfect “mesh” of words and shadows and that dappled light that just appears and encourages the visual visit, an afternoon tea, maybe: “visible pointers.” I always enjoy your photos. The color in these is also very subtle, almost black and white in parts, but, as you say, more vapory than black and white, dusty as light contains dust, but then that blue curtain and the colors in the stainless steel pipe, and that wood figure -what is that? Of course the Rye photo is black and white. You can feel the wind and the marine air. And all this Hopkins suddenly! One of my favorites, with the “shook foil” and “ooze of oil” stuff, and ending as it does on the wings of an angel? (“God’s Grandeur”):

    The world is charged with the grandeur of God.
    It will flame out, like shining from shook foil;
    It gathers to a greatness, like the ooze of oil
    Crushed. Why do men then now not reck his rod?
    Generations have trod, have trod, have trod;
    And all is seared with trade; bleared, smeared with toil;
    And wears man’s smudge and shares man’s smell: the soil
    Is bare now, nor can foot feel, being shod.

    And for all this, nature is never spent;
    There lives the dearest freshness deep down things;
    And though the last lights off the black West went
    Oh, morning, at the brown brink eastward, springs —
    Because the Holy Ghost over the bent
    World broods with warm breast and with ah! bright wings.

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  4. aha found it

    Louis MacNeice, “Snow”
    The room was suddenly rich and the great bay-window was
    Spawning snow and pink roses against it
    Soundlessly collateral and incompatible:
    World is suddener than we fancy it.

    World is crazier and more of it than we think,
    Incorrigibly plural. I peel and portion
    A tangerine and spit the pips and feel
    The drunkenness of things being various.

    And the fire flames with a bubbling sound for world
    Is more spiteful and gay than one supposes –
    On the tongue on the eyes on the ears in the palms of one’s hands –
    There is more than glass between the snow and the huge roses.

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  5. Pied Beauty was one of my favourite poems when I was a young adolescent. Hopkins was so in tune to the natural world he describes it with all the passion you’d expect from a convert and a Jesuit.

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  6. Thank you Ashen! And those who commented with their choice of prose. It’s a lovely analogy of analogue photography and writing, the correct shutter speed, allowing a certain amount of light and dark, shadows …

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  7. Dappled light is a tangible reminder of perspective. Love the Hopkins poem, and the other comments too. You always supply a topic for consideration and I appreciate that so much in my hectic life x

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  8. I wonder about dappled light?
    When shutter speeds are mentioned, my eyes goes all misty and my brain fogs-up.
    Not being a photographer puts me at odds with the view that dappled light allows itself to be captive. Like photographing an aromatic waft of humid air.
    Dappled light seems to be a gift of circumstances. Just when the sun and shade briefly combine and cast their collective distant gasps on an un-suspecting, amiable surface.
    Pregnant with richness, the willing surface reflects such an elusive picture of colour and softness. A wanton dreaminess calling to us like the sound of a distant bell floating through hills.
    To have this feeling in photographic form, must be one of the great challenges to all artists. Just looking at your chair with the dappled light at rear, is calming and mind-opening.B

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