time for poetry

April 22, 2010

I am one of those [of whom a larger population exists, I suspect, than one might imagine] who tends towards an obsession with words. I seem to be unable to hold back the compulsive composition of word plays, poems, rhymes, and songs. This does come in handy as a teacher for little ones, as I have a knack for randomly composing mnemonic devices to help them remember such things as the French Alphabet, the Days of the Week, and the like.
It is not, unfortunately, as skill that does very well at earning a living . . . but I digress.
The point of my, er, point [;-)] is that I like words. And that I like poems. And so I like Poetry Wednesday.
For today’s such event, I decided to post a poem that is probably familiar to many of those in my blogging circle. Multiple reasons prompted this decision. One of those is that I recently was asked [by one who was used to seeing the name in my email signature] who Gerard Manley Hopkins was. This gave me the occasion to go back and read through several of his poems, and to re-read about his life.
Around the same time, I learned of the newest release by Natalie Merchant which is, I think, quite brilliant . . . a passion of my own, as well. Her album–Leave Your Sleep–is a children’s collection of songs based upon sophisticated and traditional poems, rhymes, and lullabies.
Also around this same time, I accidentally wrote my first “serious” song [as opposed to educational little ditties and limericks]. Consequently, with the urging of a friend and collaborating musician, I have begun the exhilarating project of my own potential [budding] musical project . . .
All that to say, I would like to share with you one of the poems that my dear blogging buddy introduced me too years ago, also introducing me to the poet. This poem is also the inspiration for one of my favorite songs on Merchant’s CD [though I confess that I do not have, and so have not listened to in its entirety, the album.
But enough ramblings from me. Here’s the poem. Enjoy!

To a Young Child
by Gerard Manley Hopkins

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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4 Responses to “time for poetry”

  1. Beth said

    That is a beautiful poem. Thank you for your post and thank you also for your heads up on Merchant's endeavor. There is something about her voice, her songs and a children's album sounds fantastic.

  2. anna j said

    Thanks, Beth–I'm glad you agree about Merchant's promising new venture :-)~anna

  3. Oh, Natalie! I am pretty sure she is the only woman my husband would leave me for. Let's hope she doesn't come knocking. Bought him her CD for today's anniversary, he is enjoying it immensely. Hopefully I will be listening to her soon.

  4. anna j said

    Too funny, Kris! I still haven't heard it so you shall have to give a report on how the CD is once you've snagged it from your husband ;-)

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