Explaining Death and Loss to a Young Child, A Poem By Gerard Manly Hopkins, SJ

When words fail, and our hearts are not still, what can we do?When tragedy strikes, there are questions that must be answered, and mourning that we must endure.

At times like these, I turn to prayer, and to the psalms seeking comfort. Further still, I look to the poets, like those of a Jesuit priest named Gerard Manly Hopkins.

Some poems are meant to be sung, and thankfully, Natalie Merchant sings this one for us beautifully. Follow along with me,

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Spring and Fall: To a young child (1880)

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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