Book 10

Spring and Fall - to a young child

by Gerard Manley Hopkins

Márgarét, are you gríeving

Over Goldengrove unleaving?

Leáves, líke the things of man, you

With your fresh thoughts care for, can you?

Ah!  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.

 

Gerard Manley Hopkins

Spring and Fall-to a young child

This poem was running through my head around the same time as I was having a conversation with my optometrist, Marc Teles, about making a book to fit into an eyeglass case. I said that the one that I was holding in my hand sort of looked like a coffin which prompted him to say that he had one from a line of glasses that they no longer carried that REALLY looked like a coffin. Then he pulled this out and offered it to me.

 

This has, perhaps wierdly, been one of my favorite poems for a long time.  The text runs right across the whole piece sort of like fallen leaves.