Time shifts and we drift towards Winter and the wind sighs and rolls like the sea and it doesn’t know whether to be wet or dry or sunny or fierce; the weather is like a toddler – unpredictable and restless, and its influence is creeping into my bones and making me the same…
So on my walk to work this morning in the metallic light of First Thing, I stopped, and gathered some leaves, wet and glistening…The wind had ravaged the tree in the dark of night, stripped her cold and naked revealing her lovely arching bones, her clothes pooling and scattered at her feet in a red and gold silk-like riot on the moist brown earth…
Leaves, I can’t know which ones to pick up and which ones to let go, in the knowledge that they will all soon be dust, and then what, anyway?
But I keep them still; when the flower press is full they are slid in fat recipe books so when I think to cook something somewhere down the days I open the book and get a surprise and a streak of colour, inspiration, free of charge!These leaves still look as if life blood is pulsing through them, lungs, hearts, the cells still wet and believing themselves to be alive my eyes trace their veins and arteries…
Later, back to the house for coffee my eye falls on a drier, earlier harvest, a gleaning from the swing of a Summer bed, a bunch of fat poppy seed heads, bony and blonded by time and hollow bearing gifts…
The gifts a knobbly fistful of genetic promise, the seed for seasons to come when the wind shakes the rattle and the magic dust falls to the earth and waits for rain.
I wait for the silk and crinkle of the poppies, frail-seeming beauty which triumphs crazily even in the crack of a path. I look at the architectural hardness of the seed-heads, with the turned joints, and I remember the silk.
Gerard Manley Hopkins (1844-1889)
Spring and Fall:
to a Young Child
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 héart héard of, ghóst guéssed:
It is the blight man was born for,
It is Margaret you mourn for.
How this poet spoke to me, when real literature ousted poor, mean, crazy Enid…
I always thought he was talking to me straight into the vein via the ear, and this poem I always loved.
But Gerard was wrong about something; though my heart does indeed grow older, sometimes I wish could be colder, hardened up a bit, but no, it doesn’t miss much…nor falter…but I can afford this grief.