Spring and Fall
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.
We drove down to spend Thanksgiving week at Grandma and Grandpa’s farm, and you were captivated by the baby chicks. You tromped out through the snow each day, looking forward to feeding, watering, watching, holding, and petting them. And for the week we were there, you and I talked repeatedly about how you would miss the baby chicks, and how you were sad that they would grow up and get bigger, and how you wished you could bring their enclosure and heat lamps into your room and watch over them and keep them safe all night and keep them little. It truly caused your heart to ache.
I know that someday – too soon for me – you will grow older, and you will grow to such sights colder. I wish I could somehow capture the pure, sweet, innocent you of today. I didn’t tell you as I lay there trying to calm your fears and snuggle you to sleep, but I know exactly how you feel. It is Margaret that I mourn for.