Guest poem sent in by Kamal Janardhan
(Poem #59) Spring and Fall, to a Young Child
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 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 bit about this poem, it takes a few readings to truly "get" it. About a little girl who weeps for the leaves that die in fall. Hopkins language here is a lot less compressed than most of his other works and hence in being less ornate it ends up being startlingly elegant. ----------------------------------------------------------- BIOGRAPHICAL SNIPPETS Gerard Manley Hopkins is one of the great unsung poets, virtually unknown in his lifetime. We have his poetry today only because it was collected and published by his friends after his death. It has some of the obsessive ornateness and sentimentality of the Victorians, but also a startling musicality which is ahead of its time and ours. Hopkins began his adult life, like many others of his time and middle-class background, as an earnest student at Oxford, concerned with the minutest details of religious practice. Like many others, Hopkins wound up "swimming the Tiber", that is, going from the Church of England to the Church of Rome: and, like many others, he was received there by John Henry Newman. The feelings of the converts' families are exemplified by a Mrs. Arnold, who wrote to Newman, "Sir, you have now for the second time been the cause of my husband's becoming a member of the Church of Rome and from the bottom of my heart I curse you for it." Not content with this, she also threw a brick through the window of the church where her husband was being received. Hopkins died in Dublin in 1889, aged 44. The first collection of his poetry was published in 1918. Kamal