Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Goldengrove, unleaving..

Last Wednesday I woke feeling a bit sad and with the first few lines of a poem rattling around in my brain - "Margaret are you grieving/ Over Goldengrove unleaving?/ Leaves like the things of man, you/with your fresh thoughts care for, can you?"

I remember discussing this in some class in High School and being told that it's about an adult talking to a small child who is weeping because the leaves are falling from the trees.  And, beyond that, Goldengrove is a kind of Eden, where death does not exist and the child's tears are about her discovery of mortality - the lot of all living things.

Not saying that's wrong.  But I've always loved this poem and it speaks to me personally of all change, not simply mortality and death. There's something about the use of the word 'unleaving' that to me has always been numinous with echos of 'leaving'.  Leaving is always sad for me.  I attach. That's at the core of who I am, so leaving is always a wrench.  Even when I leave a hotel room after one night, I turn and look at it on the way out and have a little Moment.

The reason I was feeling sad was that we were leaving for Brighton and it was sad to me to leave Ipswich.  I will feel the same way when we leave Brighton in the end of April.  I tell myself it's just part of the price I pay for  going places, for living two lives simultaneously.  It's a thing I don't talk about much. It is a lovely thing to be able to have these two homes, but it is not without its costs.

When we flew out of Boston it was after dark and the whole area was filled with lights - so beautiful.  I didn't think to take a picture at first, but here is one, which hardly does justice to the scene:

So, anyway, we left on a flight that was emptier than any I have seen in many years. I had a whole row of seats in the middle to stretch out it.  Though not as comfortable as it seemed it should be, at least I was horizontal for a few hours. As it grew light outside, I returned to sit by the COG and we were treated to the most amazing sunrise above a thick blanket of clouds:

Then, we were in London and quickly en route to Brighton.  Got to the flat, it was still there and unchanged.  And we napped. 

Here is the complete poem, so you don't have to  Google it:

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.


Vivi said...

I love G.M. Hopkins, for his baroque phrasing and the driving cadences. But what's up with all the accents over letters in funny places?

"Unleaving" is a funny word -- he means it, apparently, as "leaves dropping from trees" at least in a simple interpretation of the word. But of course, you can't get away from the other interpretation -- the absence of leaving. Which I can't quite wrap my head around at the moment.

I hadn't read this poem before, so I'll have to reread it a couple times.

The Bride said...

Those accents are weird - dunno what caused them. I think I've gotten rid of them now.

Vivi said...

Yep, they're gone now.