Left hand of Darkness


Photographs courtesy of Alistair Hamilton of Eurgain Studio

This mobile is based on a poem which is central to Ursula LeGuin’s fantasy novel “The Left hand of Darkness”.  If you haven’t read it I urge you to do so. Published in 1969 its the first book I read which really challenged the idea of binary gender, but most importantly it is beautifully written and conceived.

“Light is the left hand of Darkness
And Darkness the right hand of Light
Two are one
Life and Death
Lying together
Like Lovers in kemmer
Like hands joined together
Like the end and the way.”

Pied Beauty

This Trout mobile sprung from the wonderful poem by Gerard Manley Hopkins “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 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:
Praise him.

I don’t share Hopkins’s religion (or any other) but I can’t help sharing his delight at the play of light on various surfaces.  I think he’s also marvelling at and celebrating the variety of our world.