Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Spring and Fall: To a young child (A Few Words for Wednesday)

A poem by Gerard Manly Hopkins, SJ on understanding death and loss, as explained to a child in a wood. 

Spring and Fall: To a young child (1880)

Márgarét, áre you gríeving
Over Goldengrove unleaving?
Leáves, líke the things of man, you
With your fresh thoughts care for, can you?
Áh! ás 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 wíll weep and know why.
Now no matter, child, the name:
Sórrow’s spríngs áre the same.
Nor mouth had, no nor mind, expressed
What heart heard of, ghost guessed:
It ís the blight man was born for,
It is Margaret you mourn for.

Not for a child only, it seems to me. 

Behold! First fruits from my reading over at the Rock and Theology blog: the discovery that Natalie Merchant, formerly of the music group 10,000 Maniacs, set Hopkin's poem to music and sings it beautifully.