“Margaret, are you grieving/over Goldengrove unleaving?”
These lines from Hopkins’s poem “Spring and Fall” came to mind as I watched the class of 2019 receive their diplomas at commencement. It was a beautiful ceremony, and naturally there were many crying friends and relatives. However, I started to wonder why a freshman (freshmore?) like me should be getting emotional over this. I came up with something that’s maybe just fatigue and summer excitement talking, but I think it’s interesting.
In the poem, Margaret appears to be crying because leaves are falling, but Hopkins suggests that the deeper reason she is crying is because she somehow knows that the same fate is in store for her. “What heart heard of, ghost guessed.” I think, in this very specific case of underclassmen watching their fore-bearers graduating, this same thing applies.
Yes, we will miss the seniors. Some of them were very dear to us, and their presence left its mark on our time at WCC. Yet I think the real reason I, along with some of my classmates, were grieving over goldengrove unleaving was because we know that we, too, have a limited time in this paradise. In just three short years, that will be us. I know it’s true that WCC is a difficult curriculum. It’s annoying to get dress-coded or have to rush back to our rooms for curfew. It’s annoying to have to do lots of homework and think deeply about Euclid or motion or the Odyssey when we feel like we simply don’t have anything left in the tank. But in the end I think a tiny part of us, deep down, is already mourning for the day when we will leave Lander.
It is the blight man was born for./It is Margaret you mourn for.