Take a Stanza: Spring and Fall

May almost slipped away before I got a chance to post the month’s stanza. This poem, “Spring and Fall,” was written by one of my favorite poets of all time, Gerard Manley Hopkins. A couple of the lines are hard to unpack, and the syntax is a little convoluted in places, but most of the sense of it is pretty straightforward. I like his neologisms—”unleaving” and “wanwood” and “leafmeal.” Nice. And since the poem is in the public domain, I can post the whole shebang.

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.

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One Response to Take a Stanza: Spring and Fall

  1. Nicole says:

    Hi Karl…

    I recall you bestowing this piece unto us back in the day at Unity, and I loved it then, too.  You had (have) such a gift of introducing your students to great works such as these, encouraging us not only to dissect the piece but to personalize it.   Thanks for reminding me how beautiful this poem is.

    Happy Memorial Day…


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