Monday, October 24, 2016

As the Heart Grows Older

Spring and Fall

to a young child 

Márgarét, áre you gríeving
Over Goldengrove unleaving?
Leáves like the things of man, you
With your fresh thoughts care for, can you?
Ah! 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.

- Gerard Manley Hopkins

Oh, kids, this just isn't going to be my favorite autumn ever, is it?

I really shouldn't complain - there's nothing specific wrong, really; it's just that there's not much, one way or another, that's particularly right. Oh, I know, I know - I'm infinitely lucky, and I do appreciate that. I'm almost miraculously well, all things considered; I'm looked after and cossetted by the Mister (himself slogging through a nasty cold that so far has, if only barely, held off for me). We're safe and warm and fed and happy.  Even dear Koko has, after a scary moment or two last week, more or less regained his footing, permanently slow now, the doctors think, but still so generally cheerful.

Which I rather wish I were, but can't quite manage, just now.

As usual, however, I find that if I take a leaf from Miss Pym's book and concentrate on Our Greater English Poets, I do rather well. The above, for example, is an especially good example of morbid Victoriana, and it can if approached at just the wrong moment (as for example, this morning, when, having taken a very welcome day off from the low-octane circus that is life at Golden Handcufffs, I came in from a longish contemplative dogwalk) induce a good fit of middle-distance gazing and general glum self-indulgence.

But then I remember that - very likely, I'm assuming, unlike Miss Pym - I was introduced to this particular poetic gem by none other than Miss Bette Midler, who included it in her highly underappreciated literary magnum opus A View From a Broad, and then I feel a great deal better. She's a smart cookie, the Divine Miss M, and any world in which, in just a few months, she's going to burst onto Broadway as Dolly Levi can't be all bad.

Between that and the, if I say so myself, very inventive Leftovers Casserole that's bubbling in the oven, perhaps I'll make it through this little seasonal trough. If Márgarét can, then, well, so can I...


  1. I prescribe a little soothing music, courtesy of Club des Belugas... Jx

  2. I'm eating lentils and listening to the B-52s Lava, so I'm not sure if I'm being true to Miss Pym or not.

    1. Lentils? Oh, absolutely, unless you've made a bed among them, in which case you've likely strayed more into Mr. Bennett's territory...

  3. Replies
    1. Ah, well - the further extremes of Nineteenth Century Maudlin aren't for everyone...