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  1. #1
    Senior Member Anja's Avatar
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    Default Poetry of the Depressed and Existentially Challenged

    Yes, the title is a bit of a hook.

    Some of you are familiar with Gerard Manley Hopkins, an English poet, who wrote wonderfully complicated and vivid poetry toward the end of the Nineteenth Century.

    He was a Jesuit who suffered from depression in an era which had little to offer from a medical perspective for those so afflicted.

    I imagine he used his creative power to express and deal with his emotional pain.

    His poetry was published posthumously in 1918.

    As someone who faces the bugaboo of Seasonal Affective Disorder in Autumn, I have grown to appreciate this poem. And every year the clever wording and subtleties grow more rich.



    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:
    Sorrows springs are the same.
    Nor mouth had, no nor mind, expressed
    What heart heard of, ghost guessed.
    It is the blight man was born for,
    It is Margaret you mourn for.

    Gerard Manley Hopkins 1981



    Do you have favorite poetry which evokes the loss of summer's gifts?
    "No ray of sunshine is ever lost, but the green which it awakes into existence needs time to sprout, and it is not always granted to the sower to see the harvest. All work that is worth anything is done in faith." - Albert Schweitzer

  2. #2
    meh Salomé's Avatar
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    The Flower

    How fresh, O Lord, how sweet and clean
    Are thy returns! Ev'n as the flowers in spring:
    To which, besides their own demean,
    The late-past frosts tributes of pleasure bring.
    Grief melts away
    Like snow in May
    As if there were no such cold thing.

    Who would have thought my shriv'd heart
    Could have recover'd greenesse? It was gone
    Quite under ground; as flowers depart
    To see their mother-root, when they have blown;
    Where they together
    All the hard weather,
    Dead to the world, keep house unknown.

    These are thy wonders, Lord of power,
    Killing and quickning, bringing down to hell
    And up to heaven in an houre;
    Making a chiming of a passing-bell.
    We say amisse,
    This or that is:
    Thy word is all, if we could spell.

    O that I once past changing were,
    Fast in thy Paradise, where no flower can whither!
    Many a spring I shoot up fair,
    Offring at heav'n, growing and groning thither:
    Nor doth my flower
    Want a spring-showre,
    My sinnes and I joining together.

    But while I grow in a straight line,
    Still upwards bent, as if heav'n were mine own,
    Thy anger comes, as I decline:
    What frost to that? What pole is not the zone,
    Where all things burn,
    When thou dost turn,
    And the least frown of thine is shown?

    And now in age I bud again,
    After so many deaths I live and write;
    I once more smell the dew and rain,
    And relish versing: O my onely light,
    It cannot be
    That I am he
    On whom thy tempests fell all night.

    These are thy wonders, Lord of love,
    To make us see we are but flowers that glide;
    Which when we once can finde and prove,
    Thou hast a garden for us, where to bide.
    Who would be more,
    Swelling through store,
    Forfeit their Paradise by their pride.

    -George Herbert
    (manic depressive)

  3. #3
    Senior Member Anja's Avatar
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    Makes a good companion piece, Blue. His theme is very similar and it's good counterpoint.

    Now you've added something to my to-do list! George Herbert.
    "No ray of sunshine is ever lost, but the green which it awakes into existence needs time to sprout, and it is not always granted to the sower to see the harvest. All work that is worth anything is done in faith." - Albert Schweitzer

  4. #4
    meh Salomé's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Anja View Post
    Makes a good companion piece, Blue. His theme is very similar and it's good counterpoint.

    Now you've added something to my to-do list! George Herbert.
    George is past the doing - long time dead.

    I don't know why I like this poem because I'm not into the religious motifs, but then I like John Donne too....maybe it speaks to the latent Christian in me.

    I just think it's one the the best descriptions of the cyclical nature of bipolar disorder, which typically manifests seasonal patterns too.

  5. #5
    Senior Member Anja's Avatar
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    Yes. The everything interconnected stuff. Patterns in nature mirroring pattern in humans.

    Well, and to me Christian themes are reflections of universal thoughts long before the established church arose. I've never seen a need to discard them although I'm no longer Christian. Lots of good stuff there.
    "No ray of sunshine is ever lost, but the green which it awakes into existence needs time to sprout, and it is not always granted to the sower to see the harvest. All work that is worth anything is done in faith." - Albert Schweitzer

  6. #6
    Senior Member Gish's Avatar
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    From childhood's hour I have not been
    As others were---I have not seen
    As others saw---I could not bring
    My passions from a common spring.
    From the same source I have not taken
    My sorrow; I could not awaken
    My heart to joy at the same tone;
    And all I lov'd, I loved alone.
    Then---in my childhood---in the dawn
    Of a most stormy life---was drawn
    From ev'ry depth of good and ill
    The mystery which binds me still:
    From the torrent, or the fountain,
    From the red cliff of the mountain,
    From the sun that 'round me roll'd
    In its autumn tint of gold---
    From the lightning in the sky
    As it pass'd me flying by---
    From the thunder and the storm,
    And the cloud that took the form
    (When the rest of Heaven was blue)
    Of a demon in my view.

    -Edgar Allan Poe
    Whoops.

  7. #7
    Senior Member Anja's Avatar
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    Poor, dear Eddie. . .
    "No ray of sunshine is ever lost, but the green which it awakes into existence needs time to sprout, and it is not always granted to the sower to see the harvest. All work that is worth anything is done in faith." - Albert Schweitzer

  8. #8

    Default Alien, Estranged

    Perchance, touched.
    Perchance, cursed.
    Alien, estranged.

    Dream in night.
    Sleep in day.
    Not wise--thus arranged.

    Lacking hope.
    Striving? Nope.
    For long, nothing has changed.

    Dreams crushed.
    Esteem mushed.
    Soul has been exchanged.

    Labor loathing.
    Spoiled clothing.
    If met, you'd think me deranged.

    Lonely in kind.
    Alone in spirit.
    Alien, estranged.

    Accept the past. Live for the present. Look forward to the future.
    Robot Fusion
    "As our island of knowledge grows, so does the shore of our ignorance." John Wheeler
    "[A] scientist looking at nonscientific problems is just as dumb as the next guy." Richard Feynman
    "[P]etabytes of [] data is not the same thing as understanding emergent mechanisms and structures." Jim Crutchfield

  9. #9
    Senior Member bronte's Avatar
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    I love gm hopkins
    here's another hymn of pain!


    "No worst, there is none. Pitched past pitch of grief,
    More pangs will, schooled at forepangs, wilder wring.
    Comforter, where, where is your comforting?
    Mary, mother of us, where is your relief?
    My cries heave, herds-long; huddle in a main, a chief
    Woe, world-sorrow; on an age-old anvil wince and sing -
    Then lull, then leave off. Fury had shrieked 'No ling-
    -ering! Let me be fell: force I must be brief'.

    O the mind, mind has mountains; cliffs of fall
    Frightful, sheer, no-man-fathomed. Hold them cheap
    May who ne'er hung there. Nor does long our small
    Durance deal with that steep or deep. Here! creep,
    Wretch, under a comfort serves in a whirlwind: all
    Life death does end and each day dies with sleep."

    -- Gerard Manley Hopkins.
    I've learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.
    Maya Angelou

  10. #10
    Senior Member bronte's Avatar
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    Toads

    Toads

    Why should I let the toad work
    Squat on my life?
    Can't I use my wit as a pitchfork
    And drive the brute off?

    Six days of the week it soils
    With its sickening poison -
    Just for paying a few bills!
    That's out of proportion.

    Lots of folk live on their wits:
    Lecturers, lispers,
    Losers, loblolly-men, louts-
    They don't end as paupers;

    Lots of folk live up lanes
    With fires in a bucket,
    Eat windfalls and tinned sardines-
    They seem to like it.

    Their nippers have got bare feet,
    Their unspeakable wives
    Are skinny as whippets - and yet
    No one actually _starves_.

    Ah, were I courageous enough
    To shout, Stuff your pension!
    But I know, all too well, that's the stuff
    That dreams are made on:

    For something sufficiently toad-like
    Squats in me, too;
    Its hunkers are heavy as hard luck,
    And cold as snow,

    And will never allow me to blarney
    My way of getting
    The fame and the girl and the money
    All at one sitting.

    I don't say, one bodies the other
    One's spiritual truth;
    But I do say it's hard to lose either,
    When you have both.

    -- Philip Larkin
    I've learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.
    Maya Angelou

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