The Little Review (littlereview) wrote,
The Little Review
littlereview

Poem for Wednesday


The Leaden Echo and the Golden Echo
By Gerard Manley Hopkins


The Leaden Echo

How to keep -- is there any any, is there none such, nowhere known some, bow or brooch or braid or brace, lace, latch or catch or key to keep
Back beauty, keep it, beauty, beauty, beauty, ... from vanishing away?
O is there no frowning of these wrinkles, ranked wrinkles deep,
Down? no waving off of these most mournful messengers, still messengers, sad and stealing messengers of grey?
No there's none, there's none, O no there's none,
Nor can you long be, what you now are, called fair,
Do what you may do, what, do what you may,
And wisdom is early to despair:
Be beginning; since, no, nothing can be done
To keep at bay
Age and age's evils, hoar hair,
Ruck and wrinkle, drooping, dying, death's worst, winding sheets, tombs and worms and tumbling to decay;
So be beginning, be beginning to despair.
O there's none; no no no there's none:
Be beginning to despair, to despair,
Despair, despair, despair, despair.

The Golden Echo

        Spare!
There ís one, yes I have one (Hush there!);
Only not within seeing of the sun,
Not within the singeing of the strong sun,
Tall sun's tingeing, or treacherous the tainting of the earth's air,
Somewhere elsewhere there is ah well where! one,
One. Yes I can tell such a key, I do know such a place,
Where whatever's prized and passes of us, everything that's fresh and fast flying of us, seems to us sweet of us and swiftly away with, done away with, undone,
Undone, done with, soon done with, and yet dearly and dangerously sweet
Of us, the wimpled-water-dimpled, not-by-morning-matched face,
The flower of beauty, fleece of beauty, too too apt to, ah! to fleet,
Never fleets more, fastened with the tenderest truth
To its own best being and its loveliness of youth: it is an everlastingness of, O it is an all youth!
Come then, your ways and airs and looks, locks, maiden gear, gallantry and gaiety and grace,
Winning ways, airs innocent, maiden manners, sweet looks, loose locks, long locks, lovelocks, gaygear, going gallant, girlgrace --
Resign them, sign them, seal them, send them, motion them with breath,
And with sighs soaring, soaring síghs deliver
Them; beauty-in-the-ghost, deliver it, early now, long before death
Give beauty back, beauty, beauty, beauty, back to God, beauty’s self and beauty’s giver.
See; not a hair is, not an eyelash, not the least lash lost; every hair
Is, hair of the head, numbered.
Nay, what we had lighthanded left in surly the mere mould
Will have waked and have waxed and have walked with the wind what while we slept,
This side, that side hurling a heavyheaded hundredfold
What while we, while we slumbered.
O then, weary then why should we tread? O why are we so haggard at the heart, so care-coiled, care-killed, so fagged, so fashed, so cogged, so cumbered,
When the thing we freely fórfeit is kept with fonder a care,
Fonder a care kept than we could have kept it, kept
Far with fonder a care (and we, we should have lost it) finer, fonder
A care kept.—Where kept? Do but tell us where kept, where.—
Yonder.—What high as that! We follow, now we follow.—
Yonder, yes yonder, yonder,
Yonder.

--------

The Washington Post's Michael Dirda reviewed Paul Mariani's new biography of Gerard Manley Hopkins on Sunday, explaining that "nobody wanted to publish [his] angst-ridden, prayerful cries from the heart," put off by the heavily theological themes of Hopkins's poetry: "God, Nature, salvation, providence, human despair and spiritual exultation." A passionate Jesuit, Hopkins "pressed hard against what were the boundaries of acceptable poetic convention...as these opening lines from 'The Leaden Echo and the Golden Echo' indicate, Hopkins nearly always ignored the usual tuh-dum, tuh-dum of classic verse for a much looser metric he called sprung rhythm.' This, he wrote, is generated by 'scanning by accents or stresses alone, without any account of the number of syllables, so that a foot may be one strong syllable or it may be many light and one strong." The poems, Mariani adds, are meant to be recited, not read.

WHOOOOO! YESSSSSS! YAAAAAAY!

I wish I could claim I felt pure tearful joy, but most of what I feel is really relief. I can admit this now: I love Obama's belief in positive transformation, his refusal to pander to the lowest common denominator, his emphasis on unity, and his global view, but his election does not fill me with unqualified optimism. I'm not sure he can make good on one tenth of his promises. I'm a little nervous about who might end up in his cabinet, and how he will approach all the people and groups who have donated to his campaign expecting results that will benefit their own interests. But I am delighted that we've defeated the politics of hatred, we've kept our judicial system safe from appointments of extremist right-wing judges, and we've proven that as a nation we've outgrown the "Bradley effect."

Sadly, right now it looks like Prop 4 and Prop 8 may pass in California (and slots are going to pass in Maryland, which makes me WTF). I am a bit terrified that the Democratic majority and Democratic president won't be able to clean up the Bush administration's economic mess in just four years, and then we could be saddled with angry voters and a nightmare like Palin or Huckabee (Nancy Pelosi is one of the biggest political disappointments of my lifetime...our first female Speaker of the House who's all about her special interests and her cronies). I want to believe that this election is the turning point, but there is so much at stake. Even so, those worries do not overshadow my relief right now.

I spent today trying not to be crazed. We were going to take the kids to Skyline Drive to enjoy the fall color but it was rainy in the morning with a forecast of more storms, so we decided that driving two hours to hike out in the woods might not be the best idea. We voted early, with a longer wait than is typical but still under half an hour -- nothing like what people had elsewhere in the county. I thought about answering MoveOn's plea for people to come to Virginia to talk to people, but I get so hysterical when I care so much that I've concluded that I'm not really helping anyone -- the only people I'm confident I really influenced are people I wrote to, not spoke to.

So we took younger son to get a video game we had promised him if he got straight As -- my anti-bribery parenting philosophy has gone out the window since younger son has actually been getting excellent grades -- and we stopped for our free California Tortilla tacos (we were going to get our free Starbucks coffee, but then we remembered that we had coupons for Seattle's Best in Borders so we had that instead). At home we decorated sugar skulls, had pumpkin peanut chicken for dinner, and watched the early returns and the Stewart-Colbert election special together. So it was a nice family bonding day!


Daisy spent election day busy with craft projects. And sleeping, of course.
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