Sunday, January 5, 2014

Gerard Manley Hopkins - Poetry

I've never heard of this poet or poem.  It's called 'Spring and Fall' or alternately 'Margaret, Are you Grieving?'

Margaret, are you grieving
Over Goldengrove unleaving?
Leaves, like the things of man, you
With your fresh thoughts care for; can you?
Ah! as the the heart grows older
It will come to such sights colder
By and by, nor spare a sigh
Though worlds of wanwood leafmeal lie;
And yet you will weep and know why.
Now no matter; child, the name:
Sorrow's springs are the same.
Nor mouth had, no nor mind, expressed
What heart heard of, ghost guessed:
It is the blight man was born for,
It is Margaret you mourn for.

A curious poem.  If I have the theme right, it's a comparison between the ever changing seasons and overall mortality.  The fall of the colored leaves makes us sad.  We mourn for the loss of their beauty, but also for the passage of time.
I can get behind this exact feeling.  I always feel more joyful in spring and start to get down when winter pops up.  In part that's because I'm afraid of days like this where the weather in Minnesota is about -50 with windchill.  Feels like a prison sentence.  And when the first warm stretch in spring appears, it feels like an enormous release.
I've never connected that to overall aging though.  It makes sense.  We don't often think of it, but we only have so many autumns and springs in our allotment.  I don't know that this is a piece of my mourning, but maybe it is and maybe it should be.
Or maybe I'd be better off not paying attention to the odometer...

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