“It is the blight man was born for,
It is Margaret you mourn for.”
-“Spring and Fall: To a Young Child,” Gerard Manley Hopkins
In the dark, we watch a wall
that shimmers light
from a cubicle outside
the almost-empty room.
Somewhere not here, a bird sings,
then plummets toward Goldengrove’s
dying. We hear the sad trill in the score,
recognize its ghost of an image
on the decades-old screen,
in its stabbed-in-the-heart theme
cocky enough to stalk the poem
and take its lines hostage.
Even so, the camera has panned
our sorrow perfectly: all the world’s
turmoil in that first burst of leaves
dropping their gold as when
Lonergan directs his carefully
orchestrated bus to screech
into distraction, into death,
into all the cinematic close-ups of blame
as weak as Adam’s first disclaimer,
as pale as the guilt-stained cheeks of Paquin,
who won’t stop screaming incriminations
she can’t fix, immortality
thrown under City Transit
thanks to Special Effects
expertly bleeding grief
that even now wells up
in each character and, yes, in us,
Hopkins’ autumn as fresh as the credits
flashing their momentary light
as we linger too long
in the familiar local theatre
strewn once again with popcorn
and empty, crushed boxes of Dots.
This poem was originally published in Marjorie Haddox's book, True, False, None of the Above (Poiema Poetry Series, Illumination Book Award medalist).
Click here to read "Spring and Fall" by Gerard Manley Hopkins.
Sage Graduate Fellow of Cornell University (MFA) and Professor of English and Creative Writing at Lock Haven University, Marjorie Maddox has published eleven collections of poetry-including True, False, None of the Above; Wives' Tales; Local News from Someplace Else; Perpendicular As I; Weeknights at the Cathedral; and Transplant, Transport, Transubstantiation; the short story collection What She Was Saying; the anthology (co-editor) Common Wealth: Contemporary Poets on Pennsylvania and four children's books. For more information, please see www.marjoriemaddox.com
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