Sunday, March 7, 2010

Margaret, Are you Grieving?

This is the second time I'm dying with Flannery O'Connor - the first time when I was reading her letters in The Habit of Being, now her biography by Brad Gooch. I've come to the place where she wrote a friend from her hospital bed, dying of lupus. After thanking the friend for a Byzantine mass offered for her, she closed the letter with the first two lines from this poem (italics mine). This post is in honor of Flannery and my second dying with her, much regard to mortality:

Gerard Manley Hopkins (1844-1889)

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 & by, nor spare a sigh
Though worlds of wanwood leafmeal lie;
And yet you wíll weep & know why.
Now no matter, child, the name:
Sorrow's springs are the same.
Nor mouth had, no nor mind, expressed
What héart héard of, ghóst guéssed:
It is the blight man was born for,
It is Margaret you mourn for.


  1. Hello, dear friend!

    I absolutely love that painting! It's gorgeous!

    I've read only one story by Flannery O'Connor and I can't seem to make myself read another. It was A Good Man Is Hard To Find. It gave me the willies so bad that I had to put the book down and haven't been able to pick it up since! :-) That's been about 6 or 7 years now...

  2. :)Jan, A Good Man Is Hard To Find is a hard read - like all her stories. They are angular and thorny to say the least. Miss a line you'd think it's written by an existentialist like Camus. I think she deals with the falleness of man nakedly and unflinchingly. But she's also more hilarious than anyone I've come across on paper.

    Thanks for comment on painting - it's a lame fit for a grief post but I like it too :)


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