Keep Moving Forward…

In Memoriam by Alfred Tennyson is perhaps one of the most interesting pieces we have read in this class, and definitely a new favorite of mine (I even went as far as to purchase a copy from Kindle for cheap so I can keep it with me). Reading or writing poetry is a most cathartic experience, in my opinion, and as someone who has had 6 close people pass away within the last 2 years… I can understand why this would become such a popular piece of literature, and have been a very helpful tool for dealing with grief. 

In this second part of the narrative, we see that Tennyson is detailing how his life is progressing after this devastating loss of Arthur Hallam. As with real grief, there are moments when the sections are hopeful, perhaps even a little uplifting, and sections that encompass all of the depression that must have been bottled up inside Tennyson. This second part, however, seems to be twinged with sadness, but overall a journal of how he is learning to live again despite the fact that he still really misses his friend. “…knowing Death has made / His darkness beautiful with thee” (1391-2) shows that there has been some progress with this distraught man, while he is still resentful of the fact that Hallam is gone it almost seems that he is trying to force himself to accept this. We even see the closing to this circle of sadness at the Epliogue where Tennyson details just how happy of a situation his sister Ceclia’s wedding is, and while giving tidbits about Hallam, we see that Tennyson has grown able to enjoy the happiness around himself, “ Nor have I felt so much of bliss / Since first he told me that he loved / A daughter of our house;” (2757-9). 

Reading through this piece has helped me to get a better grasp on grief, and perhaps understand not only my own battles with grief, but what my younger brother has also been going through for the last year. The night of Thanksgiving in November of 2015, my brother lost his best friend in an automobile accident. They were as close as siblings, and lines 217-220, “My Arthur, whom I shall not see / Till all my widow’d race be run; / Dear as the mother to the son, / More than my brothers are to me.” Is something that really reflects their friendship. Everything in In Memoriam has seemed like some sentiment that my brother has expressed over the last year and a half. Less than a month ago we lost my aunt to cancer, a mere 6 days after her granddaughter had been born (my cousin’s first child). He is currently experiencing a grief that could perhaps rival that of Tennyson. Having finished this piece, I think that I may refer both of them to this beautiful depiction of the processing of grief. 

All is one and One is all

God is everywhere. This is a common phrase to hear when talking to anyone about this all powerful deity known as God. This week’s selections dealt with the being known as God, specifically his influence in Nature, and how he apparently leaves a part of himself within all things he creates. 

Emily Bronte’s No coward soul is mine, speaks directly to the idea that God dwells within everyone and everything. “O God within my breast / Almighty ever-present Deity,” (5-6) these lines show that she believes in an internalized God, one who has left a connection open between him and herself. This piece also seems to evoke the images of a battle cry, one that yells out for others to be saved from themselves and made to feel a divine connection. This crying out for having a deep connection with God is also seen in many others of the selections this week by Gerard M Hopkins. Each one of his poems seems to deal with the idea of a God who has left his mark upon everything in the world, and is also within everything. As kingfishers catch fire is a perfect example of this sort of internalized deity that appears within every living thing, “Christ play in ten thousand places, / Lovely in limbs, and lovely in eyes not his / To the Father through the features of men’s faces”(12-14). All is one. One is all. Something strange is that the idea of having God within Earthly beings is almost not a Christian belief at all. This idea stems from an almost pantheistic, Pagan, outlook on the world. Everything carries with it a signature of the gods, and is influenced by an outside force of diestic proportions. These poems then take on an interesting additional meaning that they are almost a deeper understand of this being/ beings known as God, or maybe just the idea of playing around with what it means to worship a God in the time of so much scientific advancement in the world. Pied Beauty, also by Gerard M Hopkins, expresses this need to see everything as a simplistic example of the reality of a God, “He father-forth whose beauty is past change / Praise him”(9-10).