Grieving for Hopkins: Daily Dose of Poetry and Art

Grieving for Hopkins: Daily Dose of Poetry and Art

Mulberry Tree by Vincent Van Gogh
Mulberry Tree by Vincent Van Gogh

My friend Nicole introduced me to Richard Katrovas, who was her teacher.

I thought this take on Hopkins was interesting.

Grieving for Hopkins

Margaret, behind you is someone
whose heart churns slowly as decay.
Eve in “grieving” and “unleaving”
is his joke with God, whom he suffers
to accommodate like slow burn-
ing of vegetation into earth
in autumn. His presumption as
to what has caused your sadness I
shall not presume to understand;
though I must think that any child,
witness to such pageantry as
red and golden leaves and joyful
songs of harvest, would not pause to
contemplate harbingers of death.
You turn and that man turns.
Margaret, his soul is ready
for the next breeze to send it flut-
tering towards earthly fires,
where a wounded god is healing in your eyes.

Richard Katrovas
from his book Snug Harbor
Wesleyan University Press, 1986

This is, of course, a response to one of my favorite Hopkins poems:

Spring and Fall

to a young child

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.

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