I have to thank my friend Wan Hui for introducing me to the poetry of Gerald Manley Hopkins, back in 1985. She read him for ‘A’ level English Literature, while my tutor chose Wilfred Owen’s war poems, which I also fell in love with.
Spring and Fall (my favourite Hopkins poem) was one of a collection of poems and nursery rhymes set to music by Natalie Merchant several years ago. I think she did justice to its mood and meaning, even if she had to modify certain phrases so that the poem would still scan within the confines of the melody she had written for it.
[Documentary footage of Natalie recording “Spring and Fall: to a young child” with a chamber orchestra at Legacy Studios in NYC in autumn 2009. Conducted by Sean O’Loughlin. Filmed by Michael Skolnik. Edited by Anne Barliant. Poem by Gerard Manley Hopkins.] Continue reading