Today is obit day. The nation lost three visionaries, as you’ve heard by now: Steve Jobs, the Reverend Fred Shuttlesworth, and Derrick Bell. Others have said what there is to say, brilliantly. But such a day of losses made me think of a Gerard Manley Hopkins poem I try to say to someone every autumn. Close your office door and read it aloud. 

Spring and Fall

to a young child

 

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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