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.