Wiglaf Annonymous Poetry is something that used to give me nightmares. In high school, if I knew that a poetry assignment was going to be given, I would stay home sick. I’ve since learned that while work is involved, discovering the authors intended meaning is fun and actually gets easier the more I practice it. When given the task to interpret ‘Spring and Fall’ by Gerard Manly Hopkins, I at first was worried about the length of the poem; however, after I began to read the poem, I was able to get a picture of what was being said. In this essay, I will analyze why Margaret is grieving.

The poem leads into a young girl who is saddened by the winter’s approach and the symbolic death of the forest. She doesn’t know it consciously, but in her heart she knows that all things will end and the coming of winter foreshadows her own mortality. She is told that as she ages, it won’t bother her even though she may see an infinity of leaves as said in line six ‘It will come to such sights colder.’ But line ten is contradictory in saying ‘And you will weep and know why.’ Which I must take to mean that as Margaret nears her end, she will be saddened by everything that has been, and ever will be lost to time. Eventually she is told that people are born to die, and as if she has eaten from the tree of knowledge, she is aware and saddened for her innocence lost. In ‘Spring and Fall,’ Hopkins explains to a child that we all age and die.

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That Margaret, like all of us, must deal with this fact and not let the knowledge of it hold her back from life. This is a message that almost everyone needs to hear sometime in their lives. Steve Nix 2-9-98.