"Spring and Fall" by Hopkins is one of the saddest poems you will read for a while. It is about a little girl named Margaret, who is playing with some fallen leaves. She is having funerals for the leaves, so Hopkins says "Margaret, are you grieving?" Is she grieving over the dead flowers in her game?
But Hopkins goes deeper. He says that funerals will not always be just a game for Margaret, or any one of us: "you will come to such sights sadder."
But the wonderful thing about the poem is the new words that Hopkins creates: "goldengrove" "unleaving", and so on. As always with Hopkins, it is all about the language.
This is also so in "Hurrahing in Harvest." This is a poem simply to praise God and rejoice in the wonder of His natural world. It is full of farming and nature imagery.
Now the thing to look for, is the strange language he uses for these things, for example:
what lovely behaviour Of silk-sack clouds!
That is just a strange, poetic way to say how nice are the clouds!!
The whole poem is full of wonderful language used to describe the wonders of the world.
Hopkins is able to evoke a thematic connection between spiritual identity and the natural world in both poems. Hopkins's "Spring" focuses on the expression of consciousness during the season. The poem opens with a regaling of its intrinsic seasonal beauty. For example, "Lovely and lush" weeds meet with the purity of the thrush's eggs. From this sense of rebirth and renewal, a "richness" emerges. This sense of the vivid enables "Spring" to reflect a period of innocence and sense of rebirth within which Hopkins identifies the spiritual condition of humanity:
In Eden garden. – Have, get, before it cloy,Before it cloud, Christ, lord, and sour with sinning,Innocent mind and Mayday in girl and boy,Most, O maid’s child, thy choice and worthy the winning.