Poem introduction

'Spring and Fall', as the title suggests, pictures youth and maturity and man’s fall from grace. In a short musical space, it creates a paradise lost. Addressed ‘to a young child’, but not based on a real incident or child, it seems to me less a direct address than a poem of recollection: of Hopkins’ own youth perhaps, that time of life in which we seem closer to nature and through it, have intimations of mortality. The poem itself is like the unfurling of a leaf, alternating inward and convoluted thoughts with open expressions of truth, especially at the close. The name Margaret means a pearl, symbolically the New Testament’s pearl of great price, the soul. A spirit of oneness pervades the poem, oneness with the seasons and between the soul of nature and man.

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