Thursday, November 8, 2012

Spring and Fall

- Gerard Manley Hopkins

                             to a young child

one red and gold leaf on the forest floor
Márgarét, áre you gríeving
Over Goldengrove unleaving?
Leáves, like 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 will 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.


  1. This is one of my favorite poems. I have a tree right outside my window that turns bright yellow and then to gold as it starts unleaving, so I think of that line (and then the rest of the poem) at least once a year. I used to like to ask students to read the "what heart heard of, ghost guessed" line out loud and then talk about why it is so difficult to say.

    1. Sadly, since I live in California, I am deprived of the beauty of the color change. Leaves just brown & fall to the ground. It looks more like everything is just dying, and accentuates the feeling of sadness that, for me, has always accompanied autumn. "Though worlds of wanwood leafmeal lie / And yet you will weep and know why."