Category Archives: Poem Project
“Spring and Fall: to a young child,” a poem by Gerard Manley Hopkins (1844 — 1889) set to music by Natalie Merchant. From Merchant’s 2010 album Leave Your Sleep.
“Spring and Fall: to a young child”
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.
I heard this recently on a Poetry podcast and immediately rewound so I could listen again.
From an interview with TriQuarterly Online:
TQO: As an avid reader of poetry, what do you say to someone who just doesn’t get poetry—someone who can’t see any pragmatic purpose to it? What about the accusation that poetry can be understood and enjoyed by only a select group of people?
BC: I can empathize, but I think there’s usually a difference between those who don’t get poetry and those who don’t think there is a pragmatic purpose to it. Basically, you just have to allow that poetry serves a purpose the way that music, theater, comic books, and graffiti serve a purpose: creative types can’t help but make their commentary through their art.
And, honestly, there is a point where poetry can only be understood by select group of people. Poetry as we write it in 2011 is a wild animal for most readers who don’t also write it; it doesn’t offer the same access points that a news article or a blog post or a novel offers. And there’s an element of poetry that is like philosophy: readers know it can be skillful and rigorous and smart and taken seriously, but there simply is no “right or wrong” to it, there are lots of variables and opposing approaches. Once readers allow that a poem can be understood “correctly” more than one way (intuitively, contextually, critically, artistically, etc.), they get poetry just as well as any practicing poet. It’s up to that reader to dig deeper into the poem to get the most out of it.
TQO: But if you did have to get a tattoo, what would it be or say?
BC: I worked for the public library in Carmel, Indiana, for ten years off and on. My favorite section was (of course) the 811 section (which in this library is very extensive)—more specifically, the 811.52 section. My friend and fellow poet Danielle Wheeler is the first one I know to have the 811 tattoo, and I was crazy with envy when I saw it—but I’d have to go all the way with 811.52. I haven’t ruled out getting that one but keep bumping up the literary milestone that will warrant it. At this rate, I’ll need to win the Nobel before I get it done.
Poet Rhonda Welsh reads Naomi Long Madgett’s “Fragments of a Dream.”
Read by Matt Baker (poetry fusion)
Stafford shares his inspiration:
(I love the brief glimpse of Stafford’s submit notes, toward the end.)
"An Irish Airman Foresees His Death" William Butler Yeats I know that I shall meet my fate Somewhere among the clouds above; Those that I fight I do not hate Those that I guard I do not love; My country is Kiltartan Cross, My countrymen Kiltartan’s poor, No likely end could bring them loss Or leave them happier than before. Nor law, nor duty bade me fight, Nor public man, nor cheering crowds, A lonely impulse of delight Drove to this tumult in the clouds; I balanced all, brought all to mind, The years to come seemed waste of breath, A waste of breath the years behind In balance with this life, this death.
Credit: JustAudio2008 (YouTube channel)